Tue, Apr 09, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Doctor gives safety tips for Matsu pilgrimages

By Chang Hsuan-che and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

People gather outside Lecheng Temple in Taichung on Friday ahead of a Matsu pilgrimage.

Photo: Chang Jui-chen, Taipei Times

A doctor in Taichung has given tips for staying safe during Matsu pilgrimages this month.

Each year, Kuang Tien General Hospital in Taichung dispatches a team of doctors and ambulances to follow the Matsu pilgrimage organized by the Jenn Lann Temple (鎮瀾宮) in Taichung’s Dajia District (大甲) — one of the nation’s largest.

The most common reasons for visits to the first-aid station set up by the hospital for the Dajia pilgrimage were blisters, colds and stomach flu, while the most common reasons for ambulance trips to the hospital were cuts from falls, injuries from firecrackers, heat exhaustion and fainting, statistics from previous years showed.

People welcome the parade by setting off firecrackers, said Hii Choon-hoon (許宗鴻), director of the hospital’s emergency medicine department.

Although firecrackers are a great spectacle, people need to be aware of the dangers, Hii said.

Keep a safe distance from firecrackers and wait in a place that provides cover, he said.

People should also not get too close to unlit firecrackers, as there have been incidents where they have been set off by exploding firecrackers, leaving onlookers with no time to get away, he said.

To prevent firecracker-related injuries, people should wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hats and masks, he said, adding that those items also provide protection from dust and the sun.

If a person is burned by a firecracker, they should rinse the burn, remove clothing from the area, soak the burn in water and cover it before visiting an emergency room, he said.

Hii said that pedestrians, cyclists and drivers should refrain from using their phones and pay close attention in the vicinity of the parade.

People should also carry their National Health Insurance card and medication they might need while taking part in the parade, he said.

It is important to drink lots of water, avoid wearing new shoes, cover up against the sun, and wear reflective clothing and use a flashlight at night, he said.

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