On the eve of Diwali, BreatheFree, a public service initiative by Cipla highlighted that the burning of fire-crackers can worsen the condition of patients with respiratory ailments. As per a study done by Chest Research Foundation (CRF) - Pune, the burning of fire-crackers increases the level of sulphur dioxide 200-fold above the safety limits prescribed by World Health Organization (WHO).
This gaseous air-pollutant along with other noxious gases emitted from the burning of fire-crackers aggravates the risk of triggering an attack in 30 mn asthmatics in India and also has the potential to cause new cases of asthma.
Fireworks are one of the provoking factors for childhood bronchial asthma, particularly in children between 6-12years and it has now been established that 26% of people without any prior history of respiratory ailments develop sympto of coughing, wheezing and breathlessness especially during Diwali.
Firecrackers contain 75% potassium nitrate, 15% carbon and 10% sulphur and when they are burnt harmful gases such like sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, manganese and even cadmium, which irritates the delicate airways of the lungs and worsen the condition of people with Asthma, COPD, IPF, Bronchitis or any other respiratory ailments.
Commenting about the patient cases, Dr. Sujeet K Rajan, Consultant Chest Physician, Bombay Hospital and Bhatia Hospital said “Every year on the days of Diwali, there are about 10-15 asthma patients in the OPD who require emergency treatment due to aggravation of their asthma sympto and in few cases even require hospitalization.
"Also, beginning Diwali till the end of February, there are about 30-40% more cases of asthma reported in the OPD. It only makes sense for all to restrict if not completely avoid firecrackers and show concern for others.”
Dr. Sujeet K Rajan also said, “Though it is difficult to completely avoid the smoke emitted from the crackers during Diwali, asthmatics should stay away from crackers completely. It is also pertinent that asthmatics be well prepared with inhalers and adhere to their prescribed medicine strictly.
"As the air pollution also leads to the development of sympto such as coughing wheezing and breathless even in healthy people, such as awareness drive as taken by Breathefree should help people to understand the implications of burning crackers.”
It has now been established that fire-crackers cause severe health hazards in even healthy people without any history of respiratory ailments. Coughing, wheezing and breathlessness are reported to develop in 26% people and there are about 20% people who complain of irritation of eyes, runny nose, allergy sympto and itchy skin and these are all linked to the increase in air pollution caused by the fire-crackers.
Dos & Don’ts
• Pre-Diwali, arrange for the dusting and painting of house in the absence of asthmatic patients.
• Avoid stepping out during the peak hours in evenings and arrange indoor activities with friends and family.
• Be regular with your prescribed dose of inhalers, without fail.
• Carry the ‘Quick-Relief’ inhalers (Reliever in an emergency)
• Consult a doctor immediately if any of the asthma sympto aggravate.
To support asthma patients and their families in understanding asthma, its sympto, and the triggers and to remove the myths associated with the condition and its therapy, an extremely informative website – www.breathefree.com has also been created by Cipla. The website is a step towards helping asthma patients in leading fulfilling lives as it gives them the knowledge and the confidence required to manage a chronic condition like asthma.