Diwali, the festival of lights, and the most celebrated Indian festival usually leads to rise in air pollution levels across the country due to the increased use of firecrackers. It is also a time of duress for those suffering from Asthma, chronic pulmonary disorders, and other respiratory issues. With toxic fumes from fireworks raising the particulate matter content in the air above the permissible limits, people suffering from asthma and chronic pulmonary disease are the worst affected.Also Read – Delhi’s Air Quality Enters ‘Red Zone’ Ahead of Diwali, Pollution Mainly Due to ‘Local Sources’
Moreover, the toxic fumes that firecrackers emit can increase the risk of complexities for people infected with COVID19 or those vulnerable to it. A study by Harvard University and another published in the journal Cardiovascular Research states that exposure to air pollution increases the risk of mortality and severe symptoms of COVID19. Also Read – Ahead of Diwali: Jammu And Kashmir Permits Sale, Use of Green Crackers; Issues Fresh Guidelines
Even though the pandemic-led restrictions have curbed the use of firecrackers during the festival, it isn’t enough to address the problems of people, especially, given the backdrop that millions of Indians affected by COVID19 continue to experience Long-COVID19 Syndrome and are vulnerable to aggravated forms of respiratory issues. Also Read – AY.4.2 Cases on Rise, Festive Gatherings, No Social Distancing: Will India Face COVID Third Wave Soon?
The smoke and pollution emitted by firecrackers can make the situation worse for asthmatics, giving rise to the following symptoms – coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital shares tips on how to protect your lungs from air pollution.
Here is what you should do to overcome air pollution during Diwali:
- Avoid lighting candles and diyas indoors, which will keep indoor pollution in check. One can use sustainable LED lights as they do not release particulate matter.
- Avoid places where people are bursting firecrackers; usually harmful chemicals are emitted from it.
- Wear a face mask while stepping out. Opt for anti-pollution face mask that can prevent fumes from making their way into the respiratory system.
- Try to stay indoors with the air condition on, if possible, to avoid feeling too suffocated.
- Invest in an air purifier as it can be very useful under the present circumstances, given the air quality in several large Indian cities. Air purifiers filter out the pollutants, toxins and allergens from indoor air.
- People with pre-existing respiratory conditions must keep their emergency medicines, nebulizers and other medical kits handy at all times. Make sure that you take your medication, if any, without fail.
- If you are asthmatic or suffer from respiratory illness, keep a rescue inhaler with you all the time.
- Eat nutritious food consisting of plenty of fruits and vegetables. This may improve your overall health.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and prevent hyperacidity.
- Any person suffering from a persistent cough, wheezing or breathlessness must reach out to a doctor and avoid coming in contact with other family members.
This Diwali let’s heed to the government’s call and celebrate the spirit of Diwali without flouting COVID19 rules & fireworks-related guidelines. This could go a long way in controlling the air quality levels in our city as well greatly help those at high risk.