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How is your vet handling this week's fireworks?


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  If you have family member, colleague, or friend who is a combat veteran, you should be aware Independence Day celebrations can be a difficult time.

There are just under half-a-million vets living in Tennessee. Fireworks going off unexpectedly nearby can trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder reactions in some vets.

Dr. Erica Barnes is a PTSD specialist with the Tennessee Valley VA Hospital in Murfreesboro. She says sudden loud noises can trigger a very strong fight or flight response.  

“So you might notice them start to have a higher heart rate, or sweating, or looking around…you know, scanning their environment. That’s the kind of very real reaction it’s pulling out.”

Dr. Barnes says it may takes days for some vets to come back down again from a symptoms flare up.  So you might want to check in on the combat veterans you know.

The good news? Dr. Barnes says effective treatment is available.

“So if you do notice someone that’s having a hard time, it might mean that they need to get into treatment if they’re not already. And at Tennessee Valley we offer the top three treatments that do have the highest success rate in treating PTSD.”

If you witness a vet having a severe reaction, Dr. Barnes recommends you call the Veterans Crisis Line 800-273-8255.