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Firecracker injuries down 39% from 2013 — DOH

MANILA, Philippines — Good news from the Department of Health. More Filipinos avoided firecracker-related injuries during the typically rowdy New Year revelry nationwide.

From 578 cases in 2013, only 351 persons, or a decrease of 227 cases (39 percent), were reportedly injured when they used firecrackers to welcome 2015.

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Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin, in a news conference at the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, noted that “the 351 cases (in 2014) were lower by 160 (31 percent) than the previous five-year (2009 to 2013) annual average of 511 injuries.”

There were also less number of injuries caused by stray bullets. From 11 in 2013, only three cases were reported in 2014, she said.

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The victims, whom the DOH did not identify, include “a seven-year-old boy from Antipolo City, who was hit by a stray bullet on his right shoulder while playing at home, and a 41-year-old woman from Pangasinan, who was hit on her back as she was lighting a luces.”

However, Garin reported that the number of hand or finger amputations due to fireworks-related injuries went up from eight in 2013 to 14 in 2014, or a 75-percent increase.

According to data gathered by the DOH from 50 hospitals all over the country, 234 of those injured by firecrackers were “active users” while 91 were children aged 10 years and below.

Majority of the injuries (166 cases) were caused by the banned piccolo firecracker, followed by kwitis with 35; unknown firecrackers, 27; luces, 23; and 5-Star, 12, among others.

In a report, the DOH-attached National Epidemiology Center said Metro Manila recorded the most number of fireworks-related injuries with 168.

As of 6 a.m. Thursday, 52 of the cases were reported in the city of Manila, followed by Pasig City (23), Quezon City (21), and Caloocan City and Navotas City, both with 12 cases.

Similar cases were also reported in the following regions: Ilocos, 38; Southern Tagalog, 30; Central Luzon, 22; Northern Mindanao, 19; Davao region, 16; Central Visayas, and Cagayan Valley, 9 each; Cordillera Administrative Region, 8; Eastern Visayas, 7; and Western Mindanao, 1.

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On Jan. 1 (Thursday), health authorities warned the public, especially children, anew not to pick up unexploded firecrackers and underscored the responsibility of parents and other adults to save children from firecracker-related injuries.

Those injured “should get tetanus shots in hospitals right away” to prevent infections which might lead to death, they said.

Earlier, the DOH propagated a text message, urging the public not to use firecrackers to welcome the New Year. It said the government hospitals would treat all injured by firecrackers.

However, it warned there was “no cure for a future damaged by firecrackers.”

Last year’s department campaign theme was “Mahalaga ang buhay, iwasan ang paputok” (Life is precious, avoid firecrackers).

Garin had urged local government units to ban the use of firecrackers. But only a few places — the cities of Baguio, Olongapo, Davao, Kidapawan and Zamboanga — have banned their use.

On Thursday, she said they were strongly supporting a congressional measure banning the use of firecrackers in the country.

“We would strongly recommend (to Malacañang) to make that a priority (administration) bill,” she added

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TAGS: burn injuries, Department of Health, finger amputation, Firecracker ban, firecracker injuries, Firecrackers, Health, Janette Garin, National Epidemiology Center, New Year, new year revelry, News, stray bullets
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