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These injuries threaten on New Year's Eve - and so protect yourself from them

These injuries threaten on New Year's Eve - and so protect yourself from them


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Every year there is permanent damage from fireworks

Every year on New Year's Eve there are serious injuries from fireworks. The hands are particularly often affected, which can sustain permanent damage from pressure injuries or burns. One might think that responsible use of firecrackers and fireworks is a matter of common sense, but the number of serious injuries that occur each year gives a different picture.

The German Society for Hand Surgery (DGH) and the German Society for Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery (DGOU) are calling for more responsibility in dealing with firecrackers and fireworks on New Year's Eve in a joint press release. The specialist societies warn that people suffer permanent injuries and disabilities every year on New Year's Eve.

Burns, fractures, severed fingers

"The patients come with severed fingers, burns, fractures and soft tissue injuries on the hands," warns Professor Dr. Andreas Eisenschenk from the Berlin Accident Hospital. Serious injuries occur again and again when fireworks explode directly on the body. Even with immediate medical help and successful interventions, it cannot be guaranteed that such injuries will cause permanent damage. The interaction of muscles, tendons, nerves and bones is particularly complex in the hand. Fireworks injuries could permanently damage grasping, holding, sensory abilities, feeling and also the sense of touch.

Responsibility is the best protection

"The best protection against accidents is responsible handling of fireworks," emphasizes Professor Dr. Joachim Windolf, Director of the Clinic for Trauma and Hand Surgery at the University Hospital Düsseldorf. Most fireworks accidents can be avoided with simple rules. The best thing to do is to use only firecrackers that do not have to be ignited in the hand, the professor advises. Young people in particular should take care of themselves on New Year's Eve. They are particularly often affected by serious injuries.

So nothing can go wrong with firecrackers

The specialist societies give tips for safe handling of fireworks on New Year's Eve:

  • Do not manipulate or manufacture Böller yourself,
  • only use products with the CE mark and BAM test number,
  • don't experiment with fireworks,
  • Don't carry firecrackers around with you,
  • Fireworks closed and stored at a safe distance,
  • Don't ignite duds again
  • It is best to drink little or no alcohol before the fireworks.

What to do if something does happen

Should a hand injury nevertheless occur, a clinic with proven hand surgery should be consulted as soon as possible. "In Germany there are 44 specially equipped clinics that are accredited as a hand trauma center", the specialist societies recommend. These hand trauma centers specialize in the treatment of serious hand injuries and can provide emergency care optimally around the clock. The hand should be bandaged as sterile as possible until arrival in a clinic.

Do not store severed fingers in ice

Contrary to popular belief, the specialist societies make it clear that severed fingers should under no circumstances be cooled by ice. This would make it impossible to sew the finger back on. (vb)

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