The Department of Health (DOH) reminded the public on Friday to ensure that firecrackers that did not ignite and explode during the New Year revelry but remained present in the communities be properly disposed of to avoid accidental injuries to innocent people.
In a press briefing held at the DOH main office in Manila, Health Secretary Janette L. Garin said th at because of the rains that occurred during the New Year Eve’s celebration, some firecrackers which got wet and failed to ignite might be picked up by some children.
“Lalo na at umulan kagabi, nais naming pakiusapan, lalo na ang mga bata, na huwag mamulot ng paputok na nagkalat sa kalsada. [Particularly because it rained last night, we are appealing to the public, especially the kids, not to pick up any lefotover firecrackers lying on the ground],” Garin said.
She advised the public to coordinate with their barangay officials in gathering and disposing of such debris.
For his part, Health Undersecretary Vicente Belizario Jr. said it is also important that those who have been wounded by firecrackers go to the hospital immediately to get the needed anti-tetanus shot (ATS).
“Kung ikaw ay nagkasugat nang dahil sa paputok, maliit man o malaki ang sugat na iyong nakuha, dapat pa rin itong lapatan ng tamang gamot. Ang tetano ay nakamamatay, at ito ay nakukuha sa sugat na nanggagaling mula sa paputok. [If you happen to have been injured by a firecracker, whether it caused a serious or just a minor injury, you need to get yourself checked for proper treatment. Tetanus could kill, and that could get into your body through a wound caused by a firecracker],” Belizario said.
A firecracker that has exploded leaves behind toxic residues that could enter the body through an open wound, which makes it necessary to have the injured part cleansed and washed immediately with running water, he said.
Tetanus is caused by an infection with the “bacterium Clostridium tetani,” which is commonly found in soil, dust and manure, he added.
The bacteria generally enter through a break in the skin such as a cut, or a puncture wound caused by a contaminated object.
They produce toxins that interfere with muscle contractions, resulting in the typical symptoms of tetanus infection – high fever, excessive sweating, hand or foot spasms, irritability, swallowing difficulty, suffocation, heart attack, breathing problems, irregular heartbeat, and uncontrolled urination or defecation.