The numerous cases of burn cases reported on Diwali have made the Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, to appeal Indians and Delhi Lieutenant Governor to observe a Silent Diwali. More than the few seconds of joy, it is a major source of trauma for the parents to undergo rest of their lives if they ignore the safety angle, say many ENT doctors supporting the Union Health Minister’s views.
Kapil Sen, father of Parvin, a 7-year-old boy who suffers suffers from respiratory problems, said: “I do not want to rob my son of the happiness the festival brings – which in his case is brought by firecrackers and sky-shots. But, I do not want him to be exposed to any hazardous effects such crackers are known to produce…I am in a fix.”
Health experts have been warning that Diwali crackers associated with huge air pollution brings along acute asthma attacks, chronic lung diseases, bronchitis in patients who are allergic, causing severe dry irritating cough increasing in intensity while speaking, in addition to eye and nasal irritation and damage to the eardrums.
“Especially those who have chronic lung disorders should continue to take their regular medications. These patients may need to increase their medication and this requires a regular visit to the doctor before Diwali,” Vikas Maurya, senior consultant, respiratory medicine, interventional pulmonology, allergy, and sleep disorders, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, told IANS.
While the sole advice he gives is that such patients should avoid places with heavy cracker pollution and use ear-plugs and inhaling from masks, other precautions include wearing loose clothes like saris, frocks and anarkalis, avoiding stricly clothes made from inflammable material.
“Don’t fire a cracker in the hand and keep young children and senior citizens away from crackers. Young children should play with crackers in the presence of parents and seniors only,” B.M. Abrol, ENT Specialist at PSRI Hospital, told IANS.
Abrol also cautioned people not to eat perishable sweets, made of milk and khoya, as they are made much before the festival.
It was in this context that Minister Harsh Vardhan in an Oct. 16 email to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung urged him to ensure a “Silent Diwali”, recalling a July 2005 Supreme Court order that had banned the bursting of fire crackers in residential areas.
“The implementation of the apex Court’s order has been practically absent in Delhi. Some state governments have been quite successful in ensuring quietness in the revelries. I hope that under your direction, Delhi will turn a corner from this Diwali onwards,” he wrote to LG.
Now, the Minister is serious to constitute an expert group to recommend nation-wide ban on noise pollution, recalling from his three decades of experience as a practising ENT surgeon in Delhi.He has also urged the LG to involve school and college principals to advise students on the ill-effects of noise pollution.
Rajesh Chawla, another doctor from Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, has advised people against wearing any synthetic clothes. “Keep a first aid kit handy. If you get burns then put it under water. Keep eye drops with you all the time. People with respiratory problems should keep their inhalers close by and try and stay indoors,” Chawla told IANS.
For skin rashes, he suggested exposing the affected area to water and then applying Betadine ointment. “If it gets worse show it to a doctor,” he added. He cautioned that not seeing a doctor gets the wound exposed leading to serious complications later.
“Using home remedies as suggested by nearby people who are not doctors could be a recipe for disaster. Please reach any nearby hospital’s emergency department immediately to avoid subsequent complications or problems,” Abrol said.
Here are 10 tips that all doctors have given to celebrate a healthy and safe Diwali:
1. Keep one bucket-full of water near the area where your child is bursting crackers.
2. Children and teenagers should only avoid huge ‘Lakshmi’ bombs and play with safe crackers under parental supervision.
3. Never touch or lift a cracker, especially which has been lit, in the hand as it may burst.
4. Don’t wear loose clothes like saris, frocks, anarkalis and those made with synthetic and inflammable fibers like nylon and terrycot.
5. Don’t eat or gift perishable sweets made of milk and khoya as they are mostly made weeks before Diwali.
6. In case your clothes catch fire, immediately extinguish by putting a blanket around the fire or sprinkle water but don’t touch with your bare hands.
7. Since most of the medical shops are closed on Diwali night, buy and keep your inhalers at home ready for use on Diwali.
8.Keep a first aid kit handy with inhalers, eye drops and other air-pollution safety material.
9. Those with asthama and lung diseases should avoid heavy cracker pollution areas.
10. Those with lung diseases should use masks before venturing out on Diwali. They should wear earplugs to avoid any damage to the eardrums and avoid walking nearer the areas where crackers are being burst.
(With inputs from IANS)