Diwali is just round the corner, and everyone in and around is gearing to celebrate festival of light. And what Diwali is without fireworks!! Fireworks during Diwali comes with its own share of problems, particularly adults and children with respiratory ailments, more so in small ones.
Points to be emphasised on
1. Fire work and air quality - When fireworks are set off, metal particles, dangerous toxins, harmful chemicals and smoke are released in the atmosphere forming odorous cloud that lasts in the air for hours and days. Some of the toxins never fully decompose or disintegrate, but rather hang around in the environment, poisoning all they come into contact with.
2. Fireworks and respiratory health – Due to exposure to such significant toxins and chemicals, it’s not only children and adults with asthma, but also some normal individuals can also have cough, wheeze, emergency room visits.
3. Fireworks and asthma - In India, a 30% to 40% increase in the cases of wheezing, respiratory diseases, exacerbation of bronchial asthma, and bronchitis patients of all ages and gender were reported during the Diwali festival and this accentuated in children with asthma.
Silver foils on sweets contain harmful chemicals which is dangerous to the body
Precautions to avoid health ailments:
- People who are suffering from bronchitis and asthma are advised to see their doctors and revise their prescription of medicines during the festival period.
- Using masks, particularly N95 to cover the nose and mouth is also advisable as this can effectively prevent inhalation of smoke and harmful metals.
Other common precautions that is a must!
- Burns in various parts of the body is very common and can need emergency care. 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.
- Wear appropriate clothing when lighting lamps and bursting crackers, especially avoiding synthetic clothes.
- 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.
Contributed by Dr Srikanta J T Consultant- Paediatric Pulmonology , Aster RV Hospital