MANILA, Philippines–With three days to go before Christmas, the Department of Health on Saturday said it has recorded two firecracker-related injuries.
Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said the injured were an 11-year-old boy from Leyte and an 18-year-old woman, who was watching a fireworks display at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila.
“We had two cases for December 21–this was four cases less [in the same period] than last year–and both cases had eye injuries,” Tayag said.
“The 11-year-old boy from Leyte used an unknown firecracker and sustained corneal abrasion in both eyes. The other was an 18-year-old female who had irritation conjunctivitis in her left eye after watching UST fireworks display,” he added.
Tayag urged the public to avoid lighting firecrackers this holiday season to to reduce injuries and prevent deaths resulting from the use of firecracker/fireworks to herald the New Year.
On Dec. 7, the DOH launched its anti-firecracker injury campaign, which was dubbed “APIR (Aksyon Paputok Injury Reduction), IWAS PAPUTOK.”
“This year’s campaign will focus on children aged 6-10 years old as statistics show that this age group is usually the most affected,” said Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona.
In 2011, a total of 274 children in this age group became victims of firecracker use, he added.
From Dec. 21, 2011 to Jan. 5, 2012, there were a total of 1,021 injuries recorded. Of this number, 987 were due to fireworks, 29 were due to stray bullets and 5 due to firecracker ingestion. In 2010, there were 1,022 cases, 972 due to fireworks, 39 due to stray bullets and 11 due to firecracker ingestion.
Last year, there were 4 deaths reported–three due to fireworks and one due to a stray bullet. In 2010, there was a lone fatality, a 44 year old female died due to piccolo ingestion.
Ona said that the National Capital Region had the most number of cases (612), followed by the Calabarzon (80), Ilocos Region (75), and Central Luzon (69).
Within NCR, Quezon City had the most number of cases (183) followed by Manila (164), Pasig (41), Las Piñas and Mandaluyong (33 cases each), Valenzuela (32), Marikina (31), and Caloocan (30).
Ona strictly advised children not to use nor play with any firecracker/fireworks or pick any used/lighted firecracker/fireworks in order to avoid injuries. Likewise, he also cautioned parents and caregivers on the easy access of children to firecrackers, which are readily available in neighborhood stores.
About 80 percent of all fireworks-related injuries were blasts or burns without amputation, 13 percent were eye injuries, while 6 percent were blasts or burns needing amputation.
A majority (53 percent) of those injured were users of fireworks while about 70 percent of the injuries occurred in the streets.