Fireworks can be difficult for military veterans, those with PTSD


OMAHA, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - Would you deliberately hurt an injured war veteran? This Fourth of July season you might do that and not know you did. That's why some people are asking that you just be careful.

"I see this as a serious issue," said Jim Dale, who takes post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD seriously.

Dale is a Vietnam War-era Air Force veteran. He knows several people who suffer from PTSD. To them, the sound of fireworks can sound like an act of war.

"They can get anxiety from a sound or a smell."

They're not the only ones disturbed by fireworks. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than one out of every ten veterans who served in recent wars have been diagnosed with PTSD. Loud noises like the bangs and booms of fireworks can trigger flashbacks and severe anxiety.

"It's just another issue they have to deal with."

If you like to play with fireworks after midnight, not only is that against the law, it can also wake up sleeping military veterans suffering from PTSD. Imagine how startled they would be when they hear that sound.

"Fireworks are just particularly tough for not all veterans, but many veterans around this time of year," said Beth Kramer, who also takes PTSD seriously.

Kramer is an advocate for veterans who have the mental health condition. She says if she could send one message to everyone, two words would sum it all up: be courteous.

"If the vet has an issue with fireworks, the impact of that can go on for days, months and even for a year."

It's not just men suffering from PTSD. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, plenty of women have also been diagnosed with it. It estimates ten of every 100 women develop PTSD at some point in their lives.

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