No toothpaste, lotion: How to properly deal with firecracker injuries

Kat Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 31 2016 01:54 PM | Updated as of Dec 31 2016 02:01 PM

MANILA - Firecracker-related injuries, no matter how minor, should not be overlooked as these may lead to more complications including amputation and even death, a health official warned on New Year's eve.

"These are serious wounds even if it's just a small one because these are tetanus-prone," Department of Health (DOH) spokesperson Dr. Enrique Tayag told ANC's Dateline Philippines.

Here are some of Tayag's tips on how to handle firecracker-related injuries:

1) WASH AND COOL DOWN THE WOUND
Cool the injury by making sure that the affected body part is under a running faucet for five to 10 minutes.

"Do not put ice over these burns, just use running water until you do not feel the heat," Tayag said.

"Let the running water do the work. It gets rid of the powder from firecracker and cools it down," Tayag added.

If there's bleeding, apply pressure, and raise your hand above your head, he said.

Once the wound has been cleaned, cover it to prevent infection, and then go to the hospital, he said.

2) DO NOT APPLY RANDOM SUBSTANCES TO THE WOUND

The DOH advises against using toothpaste, lotions, and ointments as pain relievers.

"These are no-no's because it's not just a thermal burn, it's a chemical burn," Tayag said.

"If there's pain, you can take paracetamol," he added.

3) COUNTER POISON WITH EGG WHITES
For cases of firecracker ingestion which is common among children, at least five egg whites should be swallowed, the health official said.

"It prevents absorption of the poison, but you still have to go to the hospital," Tayag said.

Though these tips may be helpful, prevention will always be better than any cure.