Fireworks can trigger PTSD symptoms for some military service members
EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) —
The pop of a firework can trigger post-traumatic stress syndrome in some military service members.
Although it is typical to hear the sounds of fireworks going off during the Fourth of July holiday, this could be harmful for some combat veterans battling PTSD, especially when they first start to go off.
The sound of a firework can sound very similar to the sound of a gunshot or an explosion.
Sgt. Major Boe Gentry, a 32-year active-duty soldier, has done three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He says thunderstorms and fireworks are the two sounds that can take him back to his time in war.
Gentry says he’ll try to be a part of the action, so that he’ll be able to cope with his PTSD a little better.
"It's the times you don't know and it just goes off, that's when it really triggers it,” Gentry said. “You're
trained by nature and your job to react. And so you're trained to respond and so (it's) that first couple of seconds until you figure out what's really going on."
He says he encourages people to have fun and enjoy the holiday.
But he does suggest letting your veteran neighbors know ahead of time, if you’ll be popping fireworks, so they can be prepared.
PTSD can affect combat veterans differently; some have it more severe than others.
We tried to contact the Veterans Affairs office in El Paso, it was unable to release a statement to us Tuesday because of the holiday.