- Besides accidental burns, there are several health issues that needs to be prevented during the festival
- Rich and fatty food should be replaced with healthy fruits and juices
- Lungs and bronchitis patients need to revise their prescription with the onset of the festival
As the city prepares to usher in Diwali festivities, doctors at Columbia Asia Hospital, Bangalore are advising people to ensure healthy and safe festivities by avoiding excessive consumption of sweets and high fat snacks, and limiting the use of firecrackers to prevent air and noise pollution.
Doctors say every year after Diwali cases of lung allergies witness a spike and people with respiratory disorders should take extra caution before the festival to maintain their health. People with asthma & COPD should get themselves checked by pulmonologist. They should also get their PFT (Pulmonary Function Test) done and medicine adjusted accordingly. Post Diwali too, they should get themselves checked.
While the general notion is that the threat of accidental burning from firecrackers is the only risk related to the festival, in reality there are several other health issues associated with Diwali. With the firecrackers polluting the air grievously on the day of festival, it becomes difficult for many patients with heart and lung issues to breathe properly. Additionally many also complain of skin allergies due to the increased particulate material and pollution on the occasion.
“Pollutants that emerge from the firecrackers often remain suspended in the atmosphere for days. They aggravate allergic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, bronchial asthma, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, pneumonia and common cold. Nitrogen oxide, the most common pollutant released from firecrackers aggravates existing skin, eye and respiratory problems,” said Dr. Ramesh BR, Consultant Pulmonologist, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur.
Besides, the unmeasured and abundant intake of sweets can caused harm to patients with diabetes. The fat rich fried food items often exchanged during the festival are also harmful to the health of heart patients and those with hypertension or obesity.
“Diabetics particularly need to be extra cautious and avoid consuming sweets. Also, adulterated silver foils on sweets may contain harmful chemicals which can have significant harmful effects on people especially in pregnant women. Noise pollution has its own ill effects and can even cause sudden deafness in children. Avoid smoke inhalation as it may trigger allergies and asthma. Also, be cautious of burn injuries as they are common during the festival,” said Dr. BhanuRekhaBhaskar, Consultant Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield.
With many efforts made to reduce the level of pollution by propagating the campaign of the “crackers free Diwali” and people opting for healthy and measured calorie food and sweets, many people are today taking to celebrating a healthier festival.
Below are the precautions that should essentially be followed in a bid to ensure safe and healthy Diwali:
Breathing issues: People who are suffering from bronchitis and asthma are advised to see their doctors and revise their prescription of medicines during the festival period. They should also stay away as much as possible from places where the concentration of fumes from firecrackers is high. Using masks to cover the nose is also advisable as this can effectively prevent inhalation of smoke.
Tackling Noise: Infants are especially vulnerable to high decibel sounds and their hearing can sometimes be permanently impaired. Keep them away while from the noise of bursting crackers as much as possible. If needed use ear plugs or covers.
Exchange healthy delicacies: While exchanging food and sweets is a basic ritual in Diwali, try fulfilling the custom in a healthy way. Replace the traditional sweet and fried items with platters of sugar free chocolates, juice combos, dried fruits, unsalted nuts and fruits.
Burn Care: Burn accidents, including eye injuries that lead to vision loss, are common during Diwali. Lighting a cracker inside the house or closed space should be strictly prohibited. Install a fire extinguisher, a sand bag or water containers near the area where you burn crackers to prevent a mishap. Never dispose half burnt firecrackers- douse them with water before throwing them away.
Proper clothing: Ensure wearing appropriate clothing when lighting lamps and bursting crackers. Avoid wearing synthetic clothes. Don’t wear long flowing dupattas or dresses that can catch fire easily.
Handy First Aid kit: Everyone should know what immediate measures to take when there is a cracker related injury. A first aid kit should be handy and all family members should know where it is kept. In case of a burn, immediately apply ice on the area and an anti burn ointment, and rush the patient to a hospital immediately.
Skin check: Intake of fried foods and sweets aggravates acne. Be careful with what you eat; and drink a lot of water. The atmospheric pollution can cause irritation on the skin too. So get your skin cleansed once the festivities are over. Meet a doctor in case of any skin irritation. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day to keep your skin hydrated.