During the Eid Al Fitr holidays, doctors in UAE often attend to emergency cases from life-threatening burns caused by bursting illegal fireworks. Despite the prohibition of fireworks and stringent regulations imposing fines of up to Dh100,000, unauthorised imports and sales persist in the country.

"We have seen cases where individuals suffer from life-threatening injuries and significant damage to their limbs due to fireworks exploding unexpectedly or being misused," said Dr Shimna Suhail, a general practitioner (Emergency) at Aster Hospital Al Qusais.

On Monday, the Ras Al Khaimah Police arrested a dealer and seized 18.5 tonnes of illegal fireworks. Authorities cautioned residents against using and trading in fireworks, stressing that they are banned in the country due to the dangers associated with their use. Over the weekend, the UAE Public Prosecution also warned about hefty fines for trading in fireworks.

Kitchen burns, accidents

Emergency rooms also witness other burn-related cases during the Eid holidays. The kitchen is bustling with families gathering to celebrate and prepare traditional feasts. However, this increased activity also increases accident risks, which could lead to critical injuries requiring immediate medical attention and intensive care, according to Dr Shimna.

Police forces across the country have appealed to residents — especially the youth — to be responsible motorists and refrain from engaging in dangerous activities such as reckless driving or organising races near residential areas.

Dr Shimna warned that car accidents resulting from reckless driving could lead to critical injuries.

Food-related emergencies

Common cases that land residents in the emergency room include food-related illnesses such as food poisoning or indigestion. A sudden change in routine after month-long fasting and consuming big portions of food can lead to digestive issues. "Additionally, exacerbations of chronic conditions due to overindulgence or stress, as well as allergic reactions related to celebrations, are also observed," Dr Shimna said.

In some instances, the consequences can be more severe. Dr Shimna pointed out: "There have been cases where improper food preparation, storage, or handling during Eid celebrations has resulted in a severe outbreak of foodborne illnesses affecting multiple individuals. These incidents have led to many people seeking medical attention in the emergency room."

The symptoms experienced by those affected by food poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and dehydration.

Tips to stay safe

To mitigate the risk of severe cases requiring emergency medical attention during Eid celebrations, Dr Shimna offered the following tips:

1. Fireworks safety: It is important to note that buying and using fireworks is illegal in the UAE. Dr Shimna Suhail strongly urges parents and families to avoid fireworks altogether.

2. Food safety: Ensure all food is properly cooked, stored, and handled hygienically to prevent foodborne illnesses. Avoid consuming food that has been left at room temperature for extended periods.

3. Traffic safety: Exercise caution while driving to and from gatherings, especially during peak times when roads may be congested. Avoid speeding or engaging in reckless driving behaviours.

4. Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, particularly in hot climates. Avoid excessive consumption of sugary or caffeinated beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration.

5. Allergies: Be mindful of food allergies and dietary restrictions when preparing or consuming meals during Eid celebrations.

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