By Medicover Hospitals / Published on 19/10/2022
Here comes again the time of the year when we are all excited and geared up for celebrating one of the most auspicious and loved festivals, Diwali. It is a festival that everyone enjoys because of the lights, sweets, delicious foods, firecrackers, and other rituals.
No matter how cautious you are about bursting firecrackers, accidents, especially those involving crackers, can occur. Firecrackers are not only an integral part of the celebration but also an unfortunate cause of eye and burn injuries.
It has been observed that an alarmingly high number of young adolescents are involved in such incidents, with the upper limbs and face being most prone to burn injuries. An injury to the hand and its underlying tissues has the potential to be severely handicapped and can interfere with daily activities.
The degree of burn varies:
- (I) First Degree (Superficial): The majority of burns are of the first degree. It only affects the top layer of skin, which is red and dry, and the burn is generally painful with swelling.
- (II) Second degree (Partial–Thickness): Both the epidermis and the dermis are involved. The skin is red, and blisters may open and weep fluid, giving the appearance of wet skin. These types of burns are typically painful, and the affected area frequently swells.
- (III) Third Degree (Full Thickness): Destroys both the layers of the skin along with muscles, bones, blood vessels, and nerves. These burns may look brown or charred with tissues underneath sometimes appearing white.
Dos and don'ts for burns during Diwali:DOs:
- Take precautions to prevent shock and/or infection.
- Immerse the burnt area in cool water.
- Remove jewelry and tight clothing before swelling or blisters occur.
- Drop, cover and roll if caught fire or cover the person with a blanket immediately.
- In case of a 3rd degree burn ensure the respiratory airway is open, tilt head backward.
- Leave clothes on the skin.
- Elevate arms, legs, and hands.
- Take the patient to the hospital immediately.
- Don’t place a burn area under extreme water pressure.
- Don’t remove the cloth that is stuck to the burnt area.
- Don’t apply butter ointment, oil on the burnt region.
- Do not break the blisters or scratch them.
How To Handle Cracker Related Injuries
- Minor Burns:
- For minor cracker burns, first put the burnt part of the body under running water for 10-15 minutes. This will cause a reduction in the temperature of the burning substance, and reduce the impact of the burn on the skin.
- Eye Burns:
- Eyes are the most sensitive and vital part of the body and an eye injury due to crackers is an emergency as this can also lead to lifetime blindness or other major eye problems if not treated properly. Irrespective of the severity of the injury, make sure to visit an ophthalmologist immediately, and get your treatment started.
- Flame Burns:
- One of the rarest but dangerous types of burn accidents can include flame burns. In this, a person's clothes can catch fire due to a spark from the firecrackers. In such cases, always make sure to pour buckets of room temperature water onto the person and extinguish the fire immediately. Make sure to remove the clothes from the person and seek medical help from general surgeons immediately.
Air pollution during Diwali:
Some crackers emit particulate matter (PM) far beyond the World Health Organization's (WHO) permissible limit.
For example, the study pointed out that the snake tablet produces the highest smoke in just nine seconds, equal to smoke from 464 cigarettes.
Several studies have also found that fireworks emit toxic and lethal gasses such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. All of this harm our health, causing a variety of ailments such as asthma, allergies, lung infections, and even heart attacks.
According to various studies, the hands are the most vulnerable part, followed by the head and neck, especially when igniting fireworks. Gloves, eyewear, and face shields should be worn as preventive measures. These should be widely available in fireworks stores and promoted and advised in the media. Techniques of ignition at a distance should be encouraged.
Anar/flowerpot, the most common firework involved, should be marketed with universal safety protocols and quality checked to prevent most accidents.
Respiratory problems arising pre and post Diwali period
- Upper Respiratory Tract Infection: Burning firecrackers leaves a blanket of toxic smog in the atmosphere. This air pollution affects the respiratory system in a very bad way resulting in throat irritation, dry cough, fever, breathlessness, eye irritation and a general feeling of suffocation.
- Lower Respiratory Tract infection:
- Bronchitis: The lethal chemicals used in crackers emit fumes and gasses that can cause bronchial tube inflammation. The weather also changes during this time, making bronchial asthma patients more susceptible to respiratory infections. Such people should avoid being too close to burning firecrackers and avoid inhaling smoke.
- Asthma: Because of the toxic fumes in the air, symptoms of asthmatic patients usually worsen during this time. Asthmatics must always carry their inhaler with them.
- Wheezing: Polluted air containing poisonous particulate matter and chemicals during Diwali is also associated with wheezing, particularly in children and the elderly.
While polluted air enters the respiratory tracts, the elderly, children, and patients are especially vulnerable to developing respiratory infections at this time of year. Consult a pulmonologist immediately in case of respiratory problems.
Sound pollution, crackers and hearing loss:
Festivals are loads of fun. But do you know, one of the major worries while bursting crackers other than fire hazards and air pollution is the risk of noise induced hearing loss. The noise pollution may harm the elderly, infants and pregnant women. It can be either temporary or permanent. The sound which is loud enough to cause damage to your inner ear may cause permanent hearing loss. If temporary, recovery will occur within 2 days.
Debilitated patients role during Diwali:
Patients with lung and heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes should be cautious because their condition may worsen. Consumption of highly saturated foods, such as sweets, oily foods during this time period can aggravate health problems. Stay indoors as much as possible, wearing ear plugs, and avoid sweetened foods.
Eco Friendly measures for Diwali:
Following the success of water-free Holi and eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi, the majority of people are opting for Green Diwali. Green Diwali is a way to celebrate the festival while having as little impact on the environment as possible. The bursting of loud firecrackers causes the country's pollution to reach dangerous levels, causing discomfort to the elderly, children, and pets.
So, this Diwali lets us comprehend the significance and essence of the traditional Diwali celebrations and do something good for the society by making it eco-friendly.Have A Safe And Fun Diwali!
Frequently asked questions
1. What to do If a hand is burnt by a bottle rocket?
Firstly take precautions to prevent shock and infection. Immerse the burnt area in cool water. Once the pain subsides, cover the affected area with a sterile gauze or dressing. Prepare a first aid kit for burn treatment and keep it at a commonplace within the reach of everyone. In case of severe burns, immediately rush to consult the general surgeon.
2. What should I do if respiratory problems or coughing result from breathing in smoke from Diwali fireworks?
When going outside, wear a multilayered mask to prevent harmful particles from entering your respiratory tract. Because the air inside closed spaces is more polluted than the air outside, install air purifiers in your home. Stay away from smoke to prevent inhalation. Consult a pulmonologist immediately in case of respiratory problems.
3. What to do if a sparkler enters the eye?
With clean hands splash some cold water over the affected eye. Do not touch your eye with unwashed hands because they still possess the harmful chemicals of the cracker which can cause more irritation to your eyes. If the eye irritation is severe, make sure to visit an ophthalmologist immediately.
4. What do you do for a firecracker burn?
Immerse the burned area immediately in cool tap water or apply cold, wet compresses. Repeat for about 10 minutes, or until the pain is gone. Apply petroleum jelly twice or three times per day. Consult a general physician for medication.
5. What to do for flame burns during Diwali?
Flame burns are extremely painful and may cause swelling and skin irritation. In the case of flame burns administer first aid and consult a burns specialist.
6. What should I do in case of throat, eye and skin irritation due to chakra crackers?
Protect your skin from contact allergies by wearing full-sleeved cotton clothing. If you notice red, itchy rashes on your skin, wash it with water and apply calamine lotion. If skin irritation persists, take a cetirizine tablet and get emergency medical treatment.
7. What should I do in case of headache or dizziness due to firecrackers?
Noise and air pollutants can cause headaches and dizziness, particularly in children and pregnant women. To relieve the headache, take paracetamol. Make sure to drink plenty of water and other fluids. Consult a general physician if the headache and dizziness are accompanied by vomiting.
8. What should I do in case of breathlessness/tightness in the chest due to flowerpots or Anar?
Continuous coughing may be a sign of throat irritation, but coupled with breathing difficulty, it can be alarming. Move away from smoggy surroundings and sit in a room with the doors and windows shut and the air-conditioning on. Rush to a hospital if you don’t feel any better.
9. What should I do to treat my asthma during Diwali?
An asthma attack that cannot be controlled using rescue medicines is a cause of concern. Visit a pulmonologist if symptoms do not go away even after taking a couple of puffs of inhalational medicines.
10. What to do for burns due to sparklers or phuljhari?
If the skin hasn’t blistered and the burned area is not more than 4-5 cm, it can be treated at home. Do not use cotton as it tends to stick to the skin. Consult a doctor general physician if the burn is in an area such as the face to avoid scarring.
11. What should I do for ear ringing during diwali?
Immediately visit the doctor to get an audiometry test and know the hearing status. Get the best treatment for ear problems from our ENT specialist at Medicover Hospitals.
12. What are the precautions to be taken for cardiac patients during Diwali?
The eruption of sudden loud noise due to crackers causes uneasiness in people, suffering from hypertension and other underlying cardiac problems. To avoid loud noises, close the doors and windows and stay at home. Most sweets and snacks are high in fat, which is bad for heart health. So, instead of buying store-bought sweets, eat low-fat, low-sugar home-cooked foods.
13. Can bursting firecrackers cause tinnitus?
Bursting firecrackers can affect your hearing. Infants and elderly persons are most sensitive to loud sound and should not be exposed to fireworks. Loud noises due to fireworks can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. In case of an untoward incident, consult an ENT specialist immediately.
Diwali is a festival of lights. Celebrate it by lighting diyas and spreading happiness. Avoid using firecrackers to prevent air pollution and maintain good health.