iconimg Monday, March 30, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Amritsar, November 10, 2012
Bursting of firecrackers during Diwali shoots up the pollution level by 200% every year and poses the worst threat to about three crore asthmatics in India, said senior chest specialist Dr Ravneet Grover at a session here on Saturday.
Dr Grover, also the director of Respicure Chest & ENT Centre, here said, "Firework is one of the leading factors for childhood bronchial asthma, particularly in those between six and 12 years."

"It has been established that 26% of people without any prior history of respiratory ailments, develop symptoms of coughing, wheezing and breathlessness during Diwali every year," he said. "Emission of toxic dusts and chemical components from crackers increase air pollution and aggravates the risk of asthmatic attacks."

Dr Grover said every year on Diwali about 10 to 15 asthma patients need emergency treatment due to aggravation of their asthmatic symptoms and some even require hospitalization. "From Diwali till the end of February, there is a 30 to 40% increase in asthma cases," he added.

"Asthma patients should keep away from crackers and keep inhalers handy. He called upon NGOs and health organisations to hold awareness camps on anti-cracker topics.

WHAT GOES INTO YOUR LUNGS

Chemical composition of a firecracker
75% potassium nitrate
15% carbon
10% sulphur

HEALTH HAZARDS OF CRACKERS

They release sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and metals such as manganese and cadmium that cause irritation to delicate airways of the lungs and trigger asthma attacks.

30% of people report coughing, wheezing and breathlessness; 20% experience irritation in eyes, runny nose, allergy symptoms and itchy skin

Dos and don'ts

Don't do dusting, painting of house when asthma patients are present
Avoid evening outings; instead arrange indoor activities
Use prescribed dose of inhalers regularly
Carry 'quick-relief' inhaler for emergencies, contact doctor in case asthmatic symptoms aggravate