Bonfire Night safety

Stay safe on Bonfire Night
Stay safe on Bonfire Night

REMEMBER, remember. This week is an important one in the English calendar.

Bonfire Night arrives on Saturday and charities have been keen to put across safety advice.

A serious message has come from the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) which has highlighted an often overlooked aspect of November 5.

The potential hazards associated with the use of fireworks are generally well documented.

But BTA officials say many people are unaware that a single bang from a firework in close proximity can permanently damage hearing and lead to tinnitus.

Prolonged exposure to noise at 85 decibels is enough to risk irreversible hearing damage and some fireworks can be capable of producing loud noise in excess of 155db.

The BTA is urging people to make sure their hearing is adequately protected.

The advice comes as part of the charity’s on-going efforts to raise awareness of tinnitus among the general public, and as part of its Talking Tinnitus campaign which aims to get people talking about their tinnitus experiences.

Ten per cent of the UK population experience tinnitus at some point in their lives and there is currently no cure.

David Stockdale, chief executive of the British Tinnitus Association, said: “Safety when handling or watching fireworks is traditionally of main concern around this time of year, but the risk of potential damage to hearing goes largely unrecognised.

“Ear plugs help to cut out the harmful effects and discomfort of loud noise, and we would also recommend standing as far away as possible from the display, and keeping the length of time of noise exposure to a minimum.”

Tinnitus is a term that describes the sensation of hearing a noise in the absence of an external sound. The noise can include ringing, whistling, and buzzing, but more complex sounds may also be reported.

Expert advice and information is available via a confidential freephone helpline on 0800 018 0527 and online at www.tinnitus.org.uk.

More advice comes from the national charity Heart Research UK which is urging people to keep their diet healthy on Bonfire Night.

Often, the evening’s activities are a chance to sample some tasty food and drink – but not always healthily.

Heart Research has the following tips to enjoy the evening and keep your heart in good shape:

l Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, iron and folate, as well as providing a good supply of vitamin C.

Regular consumption of potassium has been shown to help control blood pressure, making potatoes an ideal choice for those with high blood pressure.

Try jacket potatoes topped with healthy fillings such as mixed bean salad, spicy tomato and chilli beans, smoked salmon and low-fat cream cheese or prawns and avocado;

l Pumpkins and squashes are in abundance right now so brew up a thick tasty soup, laced with lentils, pearl barley or chickpeas;

l For nibbles, try roasted chestnuts and toasted nuts and seeds;

l For dessert, barbecue bananas in foil or bake some appetising apples filled with raisins and cinnamon;

l A warming drink could be mulled wine with orange juice, cinnamon and nutmeg.

For more information email lifestyle@heartresearch.org.uk