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Gundersen prepares for more firework injuries with professional shows canceled



Rick Solem

Before lighting off fireworks at home this year, experts have advice to avoid being burned.

As an injury prevention coordinator with Gundersen Health System, Megan Anderson’s typical advice is to leave the firework shows to the professionals. Now with so many professional shows canceled because of COVID-19, she expected to see an increase in injuries.

“Firework injuries can include an injury to the eyes and burns to the hands, face, or maybe the feet if sparklers are dropped on the ground and stepped on,” Anderson said.

She recommended only adults handle fireworks. Preparations may be needed to not only make sure fireworks are legal in the area, but also that the designated spot is in an open area away from homes, dry grass, brush, or other flammable substances.

Protective eyewear could help avoid injury. Anderson added it is never a good idea to relight a firework that might have been a dud.

“Soak fireworks before you dispose of them in water, and being prepared again, keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher handy in case something does happen,” Anderson said.

Firework injuries or burns need to be taken seriously, and a hurt individual should be taken to a hospital as quickly as possible.

“Even sparklers aren’t recommended for young children because they can cause third-degree burns,” Anderson said. “If you have an eye injury or a burn on the skin, you don’t want to rub on that or flush it. You just want to go straight to the hospital.”

Thinking outside the box for Fourth of July, Anderson recommended using glow sticks to safely celebrate with children.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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