DOH: Firecracker injuries down 60% from last year

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The number of firecracker-related injuries reported during the holidays this 2016 decreased by 60 percent compared to previous years, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Sunday.

In a press conference on the Department's anti-firecracker campaign, DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial said as of 6 a.m. on January 1, the DOH recorded a total of 350 firecracker and firework-related injuries for New Year's Eve 2017.

She said this was a significant decline from injuries reported in the previous years.

"This is 60 percent wagi. Sixty percent lower than the five-year average of 2011 to 2015, and lower also by 60 percent as compared to the same period last year," Ubial said.

Of the 350 cases, Ubial said 348 were from fireworks and firecracker injuries, while two cases were caused by firecracker ingestion.

Topping the list of most injurious firecrackers was piccolo, which is prohibited in the Philippines. Other fireworks such as kwitis, luces and fountains were also among those reported to have caused injuries during New Year's Eve.

Ubial added that 58 percent, or more than half of the victims were children below 15 years old.

The National Capital Region (NCR) reported the highest number of firecracker injuries nationwide, with 211 cases or 60 percent of injuries reported coming from the region.

Of these, 38 percent of the cases were from Manila, 23 percent from Quezon City and 11 percent from Makati.

Western Visayas (Region 6) came in second to NCR with 10 percent of cases on firecracker injuries, while reports from Central Luzon took up 8 percent of firecracker injuries in the country.

The decrease in firecracker-related injuries coincides with the Health Department's amplified "Iwas Paputok" campaign.

In order to curb firecracker injuries during the holidays, the DOH encourages the public to use alternative noisemakers such as horns and torotots instead of traditional firecrackers.

Related: DOH: Firecracker-related incidents increase to 141

Ubial reiterates her call  to remain cautious about firecrackers even after New Year's Eve celebrations.

Ubial warns against picking up used firecrackers from the street and urges parents to watch over their children to ensure their safety.

The Health Secretary also stresses the importance of proper treatment for injuries.

"Siguraduhin din na pumunta sa ospital kung ikaw ay magkasugat na dahil sa paputok, maliit man o malaki ang sugat na inyong makuha, dapat pa rin itong lapatan ng tamang gamot."

[Translation: Make sure that you go to the hospital if you have any firework-related injuries. Small or big, your injury should be treated with proper medication.]

Ubial said that any wounds from firecrackers should be thoroughly washed and checked at the hospital to avoid tetanus, which may be fatal if left untreated.

Ubial said the Department's fireworks surveillance will continue until January 5.

The DOH Secretary said the department will release a consolidated report of firecracker injuries from 50 hospitals in the country on January 6.