Happy Diwali! Have a Cracker of a Diwali, Without the Patakhas
Give up firecrackers this Diwali for the sake of your pets, friends and family.
It’s finally that time of the year when there are festivals one after the other. It’s the time for diyas, mithai and family. Even as most of you are busy shopping, gifting and feasting, there are some people in every neighbourhood who are dreading these festivities.
These people are those who suffer from allergies, chronic cough, asthma, bronchitis, skin diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and insomnia. Take a moment and think about the side effects of your patakhas for these people.
Crackers make air pollution ten times worse. The harmful gases stay in the atmosphere for a long time and the sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides cause cases of asthma and other respiratory diseases to flare-up.
Patients report breathlessness, excessive coughing, phlegm and difficulty in speaking. Sometimes it becomes so severe that patients have to be hospitalised and put on nebulisers.
Once triggered, these attacks can last for two to three months after Diwali. So this Diwali, say no to crackers and light fewer diyas than last year because these add to air pollution as well.
Always supervise children around burning objects. And keep pets away from crackers as they are scared of loud noises.
Burn injuries are very common during Diwali and, sometimes, burns around the eyes can lead to blindness.
In 2014, in the Capital alone, there were 450 burn injuries. Even though there were no reported deaths, some injuries were very extensive. Every year, the government sets up a disaster management protocol for three days during Diwali to monitor the burn victims. Special teams of doctors and nurses work all night on Diwali because of the number of casualties which come in.
If there is a burn injury:
Immediately pour clean water over the burnt area and rush the person to a hospital. Don’t try to rub creams, toothpaste, turmeric, mud or salt on these wounds because they will not only worsen the burns but also hamper the assessment of the wounds by the doctor.
Every burn patient must get a tetanus shot.
With incessant smoke and air pollution, various allergies come into play. They can affect the skin, eyes, nose, throat, lungs and much more. As a doctor, my advice to the high-risk population is to stay indoors, with tightly shut windows preferably. Place air filters in the house and keep your anti-allergy pills handy.
Sweets and Chocolates
What is Diwali without sweets?
With so many adulterated milk products in the market, choose your sweets well. The colouring agents in sweets can cause food allergies for some people.
A word of caution to my diabetic friends: For you, sweets and chocolates are there to be seen and not eaten. Once your blood sugar rises after Diwali, it will take three months to get it back under control. Commercially available diabetic sweets and chocolates are not recommended by any doctor.
Blood Pressure, Heart, Cholesterol and Diwali
So all of you with these ailments, strictly avoid dry fruits, especially the salted ones.
And before you curse me for all these restrictions, I’ll tell you what to do: Meet your friends and family personally and give hugs as gifts. This Diwali, let’s pledge to not burn crackers, for our pets, our elders and our environment.
(FIT is launching its #PollutionKaSolution campaign. Join us by becoming an anti-air pollution warrior. Send in your questions, your stories of how to tackle air pollution and your ideas to FIT@thequint.com)
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