Celebrating 4th of July safely during the pandemic

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Every year, families and friends gather with one another to celebrate the fourth of July. But with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, local medical professionals want people to know about what they can have fun while of course, staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“By doing the things that we know work, hand washing, masks and social distancing, we can limit the effect that it will have,” said Dr. Richard Lampe, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Professor at Texas Tech University Health & Sciences Center.

Another staple on the fourth of July is food.

“Hand wipes in between the foods. I think be a little more careful this year or sanitizer in between the foods. While we think it’s respiratory, sometimes that virus can get on to other utensils. Individual plates, throw away plates, all things like that to minimize contact,” said Dr. Lampe.

On top of that, fireworks are one of the biggest mainstays during fourth of July celebrations. Which can be harmful to your body, like noise-induced hearing loss.

“It’s hearing loss that is caused by exposure to loud noise and what we mean by loud in this case is usually anything greater than 85 decibels. Anything around 85 decibels could potentially damage your hearing,” said Leigh Ann Reel, Director for Center for Speech, Language, and Hearing Research at TTUHSC.

While hearing loss is not reversible, Reel says there is good news.

“It’s 100% preventable,” said Reel.

Another risk is eye injuries, which Dr. Kelly Mitchell with TTUHSC says happens to around 1,000 people in the country every year.

While it’s not a terribly high number, Dr. Mitchell says the impact is still very significant.

“Every one of those people, children and it’s true that roughly 30% of those are children. They will have significant weakness of their vision. In fact sometimes, loss of complete vision or loss of the eye,” said Dr. Mitchell.

The medical professionals also say that ear muffs, ear plugs and a pair of protective goggles are the most effective ways to go when it comes to protecting yourself from firework injuries.

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