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EHS OutLoud Blog

Losing Your Texts … I Mean, Fingers

Now I've heard it all: Those who ignore certain safety tips might be likely to shape up when faced with the thought of losing their fingers – all because it would impact their ability to text or use social media.

Look, I like to text too, but if I was faced with having any part of my hand amputated, tapping out texts or using Facebook would be among the least of my concerns. But according to Thomas Esposito, M.D., MPH, chief of the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns in the Department of Surgery at Loyola University Medical Center, framing injury potential as a way to hamper social media use and texting might help some people pay closer attention.

Esposito used the recent Fourth of July holiday – which every year results in emergency departments visits for injured thumbs, fingers and hands – as a reason to play it safe. Hand and finger damage are the most common injuries caused by fireworks and account for 32 percent of all injuries reported. And if your hands are injured, you know what that means: compromised texting ability.

“Lately it seems people care more about material things and their ability to social network than they do about their own health,” said Esposito. “Staging an awesome pyrotechnical display for your friends on YouTube may result in blowing off your thumb, ending for good your ability to communicate using a handheld device.”

An Explosive Hazard

Fireworks burn at approximately the same temperature as a household match and can cause burn injuries and ignite clothing if used improperly. Even simple fireworks like sparklers and bottle rockets can cause injury – in fact, these very fireworks are responsible for some of the most serious wounds treated by emergency physicians.

Even so, Esposito has watched Fourth of July safety advice go unheeded year after year. His frustration over the public's tendency to dismiss these safety tips shows.

"If you can’t convince people to avoid the dangers by pointing out the consequences of lost body parts and sight, then maybe reverting to letting people know there’s a good chance of not being able to text will promote caution," he said. "Or maybe reminding them of the fact that they would have to pay a lot to rebuild the house or garage might do some good!"

If you'd like to heed Esposito's warnings next year, get an early start by reading our Fourth of July Safety tips below. And stay safe. After all, your texting ability relies on it.

Remember these Fireworks Safety Tips to Stay Safe on the Fourth of July

Don’t Let Fireworks Fry Your Fourth

Navigate Safe Waters this Fourth of July

The Founding Fathers, Food Safety and the Fourth of July

Fireworks Safety Promoted by Leading Safety and Health Agencies

OSHA Issues Warnings about Protecting Workers in the Pyrotechnic Industry

TAGS: Safety
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