Stay safe, stay clear this Deepavali

Stay safe, stay clear this Deepavali

Boys shop for firecrackers in Malleswaram on Monday. DH PHOTO/SATISH BADIGER

Deepavali, the festival of lights, brings joy to many but being careless while bursting firecrackers can become deeply agonising. 

Every Deepavali, at least 50 Bengalureans sustain eye injuries, many with serious complications and almost losing eyesight. The loud sound of firecrackers results in hearing impairment while air pollution causes respiratory problems. 

Dr K Bhujang Shetty, managing director, Narayana Nethralaya, says most of the patients his eye hospital gets are children with minor eye injuries. “We get at least five severe injury cases every year, some amounting to a total loss of eyesight. In many cases, the victim is either an innocent passerby or a child watching the bursting of crackers,” he added. 

Eye injuries can range from mild burns and eyelashes to damage to the cornea (front portion of the eye), bleeding inside the eye, tear and detachment of the retina, injury to the optic nerve, etc that can lead to a permanent loss of vision. 

If eye injuries are not enough, the loud sound of bomb crackers causes hearing impairment. Nayak’s Hearing and Speech Care recently recorded the noise levels of firecrackers. According to the study, the noise from crackers ranged from 89.4 (dBA) decibels to 123.6 dBA at a one-metre distance. M S J Nayak, who runs the clinic, recommends maintaining a four-metre distance from firecrackers. 

Fireworks also cause health snags such as breathing problems and skin allergies. Dr Hirennappa B Udnur, consultant pulmonology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Hebbal, says fireworks increase the rate of respiratory problems. The toxic substances used in the fireworks release gases harmful to all living beings. “During the festival, cardiac and respiratory problems increase, and the condition of patients already suffering from lung, heart ailments, high blood pressure and diabetes worsens. Silver foils on sweets contain harmful chemicals that are dangerous to the body, can damage the placenta and harm the foetus in pregnant women,” he added.