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Incidence and cost of firework-related hand injuries remain high

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Firework-related injuries to the hand remain a significant concern, according to a study examining trends, causes, and costs associated with these injuries.

The research, which focused exclusively on firework injuries to the hand, identified patients presenting to emergency departments with burn, open wound, fracture, blood vessel injury, or traumatic amputation caused by fireworks.

The study found that there was no significant change in the incidence of firework-related hand injuries from 2006 to 2014, with a rate of 7.5 injuries per 1,000,000 population during the period. Most of these injuries occurred in July, accounting for 57.1% of cases, followed by January (7.4%) and December (3.7%).

Analysis of the data revealed that different age groups were affected by these injuries, with young adults (18-35 years) accounting for 43.6% of cases, followed by older adults (36-55 years) at 19.2%, adolescents (12-17 years) at 18.6%, and children (0-11 years) at 16.1%.

The study further categorized the nature of the injuries, indicating that nearly 74% of cases resulted in burns, 24.5% in open wounds, 8.0% in fractures, 7.6% in traumatic amputations, and 1.4% in blood vessel injuries. Among the burn injuries, 15.2% were first-degree burns, 69.9% were second-degree burns, and 5.1% were third-degree burns involving the skin.

The median emergency department charge for firework-related hand injuries was $914, while the median hospitalization charge for inpatient admittance was $30,743.

The authors concluded that these findings underscore the importance of disseminating safety information and promoting responsible firework usage. Despite public awareness campaigns and regulations, the incidence of firework-related hand injuries has not changed significantly over time. The study highlights the urgent need for better education and prevention strategies to reduce these incidents and the associated financial burden.

Gordon AM, Malik AT, Tamer R, et al. Firework Injuries to the Hand in the United States: An Epidemiological and Cost Analysis. Orthopedics. 2023;46(3):180-184. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20230104-05. Epub 2023 Jan 10. PMID: 36626302.