The festival of lights, Diwali or Deepavali is a time to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. It is celebrated in India and by the Indian diaspora who live in other countries.
As part of the celebration, it is common to engage in play involving fireworks. There is no legislation controlling who can play with fireworks in India, and the responsibility of staying safe largely falls on the individual.
Year after year fireworks result in many injuries particularly involving the eyes and face. Notorious for causing these injuries are bomb type of crackers, bottle rockets, homemade devices and sparklers. Those at risk are both those who set off the fireworks and bystanders, witnessing the spectacle. Injuries may vary from burns to the lids, face and ocular surface, singing of eyelashes, ash falling into the eye. More serious eye injuries causing burns to more critical structures such as the cornea, globe perforations, injuries to deeper structures from the blunt force of flying particles that hit the eye, are also common. The latter often result in very poor visual outcome and need emergency surgery. Even the innocuous appearing sparklers can cause serious injuries. Children are as vulnerable and prone to these horrible accidents as adults.
Educate your family and friends about fireworks hazard. If they must indulge in these, ask them to choose types that do not explode or travel at high speeds.
Prevention is the key. Educate your family and friends about fireworks hazard. If they must indulge in these, ask them to choose types that do not explode or travel at high speeds. Ask them to stay several feet away from any displays. Let children not be around fireworks at all. Setting off fireworks is not a sign of bravery, and this message needs to percolate into your circles. Wearing protective glasses should be made compulsory, both to set off fireworks and to stand around and witness them. Request your child’s school to talk about the hazards of fireworks (and to also mention the smoke, and noise pollution, the shreds of paper and cardboard used in these fireworks littering the streets, and how the loud sounds are unkind to animals) to the children before the festival.
If you are injured or witness an injury, it is best not to start self-medication or home remedies. A superficial burn to the skin, may be treated with a stream of water. Other than that, it is essential to take the patient immediately to an emergency eye care facility. It is best not to attempt taking out foreign bodies from the eye or pouring anything into the eye. Eye injuries may be deeper and severe and need immediate medical attention.
Stay Safe and Happy Diwali.
Beware and Take Care