The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is urging the public to be mindful of veterans this Fourth of July.
The VA says that many veterans coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, dread the Fourth because of all the fireworks.
Dr. Wendy Katz, with VA New York Harbor Healthcare System says that the loud bangs, pops, and bright flashing lights remind veterans with PTSD of shell or mortar attacks.
PTSD experts say that veterans’ reactions to fireworks could range from being startled to panic attacks and combat flashbacks.
Psychologists say vets’ family members can help by talking to their loved one ahead of time and coming up with a plan if the vet is triggered.
Suggestions include planning on where they will stand, staying close to exits, wearing noise-cancelling headphones, or avoiding large crowds and displays altogether.