Don’t forget to be mindful of those with hypersensitivity to fireworks this weekend

Don’t forget to be mindful of those with hypersensitivity to fireworks this weekend

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Across South Carolina, many cities have canceled their Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks shows because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In turn, you might see and hear more fireworks set off in your neighborhood this weekend compared to year's past.

According to Neathery Elliott, the Fourth of July can be a little tough for her 15-year old son, Morgan.

"He has a hypersensitivity to loud noises. Thunderstorms and fireworks," she said.

Doctors diagnosed Morgan with autism when he was three. Elliott said around July 1 every year, her son Morgan gets anxious. They have noise-canceling headphones for him and medication he can take to calm him down.

She said so far this summer, they've heard more fireworks set off in their neighborhood than last year.

"It makes for a challenge, especially around bedtime. He can't go to sleep," she said.

With firework sales booming across the state, Elliott is just asking others to be mindful when setting fireworks off in neighborhoods.

"I hear it and I have a flashback when I was back in Iraq being mortared," said Jason New, an Army veteran with PTSD.

New said the holiday isn't as pleasant for him as it once was, but he braces himself with a pair of headphones and his service dog.

"My daughter loves fireworks," New continued. "It's definitely a sad day because I want to do those things for my kids. At the same time, it's a traumatic experience I have to go through every time."

He said the weeks before and after the holiday can be the most stressful for him since people are firing off fireworks at random times and nights. He said it seems like that's been the case once again this year.

According to officials, compared to last June, firework complaints have doubled in some South Carolina cities.

Dr. Karly Warren, the assistant chief of mental health at the Columbia VA Health Care System, said to help people who are hypersensitive to fireworks, one of the best things to do is to let the family know when you will be setting off fireworks.

She also recommends limiting your display to about an hour.

"You really want to take the unknown out and let them feel like things are predictable and give them a sense of control in a situation," she said.

Elliott said she hopes people think about veterans like New and children like her son this weekend.

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