Diwali brings immense cheer and light to our lives and is one of the most awaited festivals of the year. But with the mounting pollution enveloping our cities a few days before and after Diwali (as has been the case last year) –unfortunately, it has also become one of the most dreaded festivals for patients with respiratory problems.
During and after Diwali, Delhi NCR virtually turns into a gas chamber spelling H-E-L-L for children, elderly and patients. Remember, last year the air quality index dropped to alarming levels and led to the decision of closing schools, power stations and construction sites till the air quality improved?
Every year, the spike in air pollutants (which also result in smog depending on the weather condition of the area) leads to various respiratory issues which may even turn out to be fatal. Such rise in poisonous fumes and harmful particles like lead, cadmium, manganese, zinc, sodium and potassium can last upto 20 days after Diwali and make patients with respiratory problems suffer a lot.
RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS ARISING PRE AND POST DIWALI PERIOD
1. Upper Respiratory Tract Infection – The Post-Diwali period usually witnesses a surge in the number of people with complaints of irritation in the eyes and throat, dry cough and fever. While last year’s smog lingered in the atmosphere, many people who otherwise remain healthy, also experienced irritation in eyes and chest and a general feeling of suffocation.
2. Lower Respiratory Tract infection
- Bronchitis: The deadly chemicals used in crackers release fumes and gases that can lead to the inflammation of the bronchial tubes leading to acute attacks.
- Asthma: The condition of asthma patients usually exacerbates during this period because of the toxic fumes in the air.
- Wheezing: Polluted Diwali air is also associated with wheezing, especially in kids and elders.
While polluted air goes inside everyone’s respiratory tracts equally, elders, children and patients are especially vulnerable to developing respiratory problems during this time of the year. To stay safe, Dr. Hemant Goel, Sr. Consultant, Respiratory & Sleep Medicine of Asian Institute of Medical Sciences recommends the below precautionary measures for all.
DO’S AND DON’TS TO STAY SAFE THIS DIWALI:-
- Use Multi Layered Masks: While going out, ensure that your nose and mouth are covered with a good quality mask to ban the entry of harmful particles in your respiratory tract. If you don’t have a mask, simply use a handkerchief or cloth to cover up.
- Use Air Purifiers: Air inside closed spaces is more polluted than outside air. It’s advisable to install air purifiers in at homes and offices that allow only a little movement of air.
- Use Air Purifying Plants: Your home and office must have plenty of plants that purify the air. A noteworthy point here is that there must be a variety of such plantsand they must be spaced appropriately.
- Use Air Quality Checking Apps: Before you go out, check the level of pollution through various Apps. If the air quality is severe, avoid going out at all.
- Carpool: Try pooling the car for commuting to common destinations/ routes.
- Moisturize Your Nostrils: Moisturizing your nostrils helps in restricting the entry of fine particulate matter through your nose.
- Morning and Evening Walks/ Runs: Air quality is worst in the mornings. Simply avoid morning and evening walks or running outside altogether till air quality improves.
- Heavy Exercising: Do only light exercises, as heavy exercises require heavy breathing.
- Eating Fried/Junk Food: Ensure you eat light, healthy, fibre rich and fat free food to feel healthier and fresh.
- Travelling on two wheelers: Say No to travelling on two wheelers- this can be hazardous for your health.
Human life is above all and good health is a prerequisite of a happy life. AIMS urges everyone to celebrate Diwali responsibly this year- in a way which makes every face glow with a smile and does not put anyone at any kind of health risk.