MANILA –The small and illegal firecracker “piccolo” remains the top culprit in the firecracker-related injuries recorded from Dec. 21, 2015 up to the present.

The Department of Health (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau, on Saturday said that piccolo posted 245 cases, representing 53 percent of the 459 total number of fireworks-related injuries recorded from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan. 2, 2016.

To date, 280 children below 14 years old were victims of firecrackers.

Aside from piccolo, other causes were due to kwitis (41 cases), unknown (28 cases), luces (23 cases), and 5 star (20 cases).

Most cases, or 60 percent, came from National Capital Region (NCR) with 276 cases.

A total of 85 cases in NCR was monitored in Manila, followed by Quezon City with 47 cases.

According to DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin, the big number of cases in NCR was due to access to firecrackers wherein there were still people engaged in selling and buying of injurious and prohibited firecrackers.

Of the total cases, about 84 percent or 381 were males.

The youngest victim was nine months old while the oldest was 78 years old.

More than half also of the cases, or a total of 284 cases, sustained hand injuries, meaning the firecrackers that exploded had hit portions of hands, which may happen if the hand of the one holding the firecracker is sticky due to the presence of food particles.

There were also cases that one who ignited the firecrackers was drunk.

There were also cases that the victims were hit by firecrackers because someone throw the firecrackers in their direction or they were near or present in the area.

68 cases had sustained eye injuries because firecrackers when ignited or lighted had tended to hit some portion in the face like, eyes, upon explosion.

About 12 cases required amputations because the body parts that were hit was wrecked as a result of the blasting.

Of the total, one death was recorded when a drunk 45-year-old man died after his jaw and neck area was heavily damaged in a blast after embracing the firecracker “Goodbye Philippines”.

The man was initially brought to Ospital ng Sampaloc and later transferred to Ospital ng Maynila, where he died on the same date.

Majority of the cases, or 326 cases, were active igniters or had been using firecrackers in the past while the remaining ones were classified as passive (did not use firecrackers but where hit or affected by it).

Still, the number of stray bullet cases remained unchanged at four.

In comparison also, the total number of injuries gathered in the reports submitted by DOH sentinel hospitals indicated that 431 cases of injuries during the period were 48 percent lower than the five-year average (2010-2014).

The number of cases was also 44 percent or 355 cases lower than the figure recorded from Dec. 21, 2014 to Jan. 2, 2015).

Although, based on initial assessments of DOH, the total was “all time low” Garin said that still, the country needed a total ban on firecrackers as a solution to prevent injuries.

Last day of surveillance will be on Jan. 5, 2015.

The agency, together with other government agencies had been aggressive in repeatedly recommending the use of alternative noisemakers to safely celebrate the revelries to avoid injuries or health-damages and loss of lives.

Aside from health damages and loss of lives, firecrackers can also lead to loss of properties if it hit houses made of light materials that are prone to burning or fire.

Meanwhile, the DOH said that those who were wounded due to firecrackers should go to the nearest health facilities so that they can be examined and be administered with the anti-tetanus shots (ATS) to avoid irreversible damage or death.

“Wag balewalain kahit maliit na sugat…Magpatingin at siguraduhing malapatan iyun ng tamang gamot,” said Secretary Garin. Leilani S. Junio/PNA/northboundasia.com