MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DoH) has given revelers two choices to usher in the New Year next week: Gangnam o kahon?
The first option refers to the phenomenal Korean horse-riding dance craze, which the health agency has been pushing as a safer alternative to greet the New Year while the latter refers to a box filled with orthopedic instruments used by doctors to restore or cut off limbs damaged by firecrackers.
In the run-up to New Year’s Eve, it looks like 149 people, mostly from Metro Manila, have chosen the latter.
Based on the figures culled by the DoH as of Friday morning, 120 people sustained firecracker-related injuries not requiring amputation while five people will have to welcome the New Year with missing limbs. At least 27 people sustained eye injuries.
Majority of the cases involved illegal or dangerous firecrackers, the DoH report said.
So far, 86 cases were caused by piccolo, a small and colorful yet an illegal and the most dangerous firecracker that is lighted like a matchstick. Meanwhile, 13 mishaps have been traced to the use of “kwitis,” a rocket-type firecracker which, when lit, is propelled into the air beyond 40 feet.
The DoH has also logged 11 injuries caused by five-star firecracker and six accidents by the firecracker “triangle.”
Earlier, the health agency launched its anti-firecracker campaign, dubbed “Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction 2012,” (APIR) by encouraging merrymakers to greet the New Year dancing the “Gangnam Style” popularized by South Korean pop star Psy.
But for stubborn revelers who could not keep their hands off a firecracker, they must prepare a bucket filled with water, a clean cloth or handkerchief and a mask in case of mishaps, advised Assistant Health Secretary Eric Tayag.
Tayag said firecrackers that failed to explode must be doused with water for safety while a piece of clean cloth should be on hand in case of injuries.
“Don’t put toothpaste, ice or alcohol on the wound,” warned Tayag. He said one must hold the wound under running water to remove dirt and to cool it down. He also advised that wounds should be wrapped loosely with a clean piece of cloth before proceeding to the hospital for treatment.
“In case of an eye injury, hold your eyes under running water. Don’t rub them to prevent further damage,” he said.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Enrique Ona went around hospitals on Friday in the capital to ensure that express lanes have been set up to attend to emergencies that might arise during the New Year celebrations.