It is that time of the year again. Diwali, the festival of lights is around the corner. One of the most popular festivals in Indian culture, Diwali is celebrated across India with lights, fireworks, festive food and of course lots of sweets. Diwali is a time for friends and families to come together and celebrate the victory of good over evil. In the midst of celebrations and togetherness, we give you simple tips to have a healthful and safe Diwali this year.
Food is a major aspect of any Indian festival and Diwali is no exception. People exchange sweets and family meals are often elaborate including a variety of sweets, fried snacks and savories. It is often hard to say no when offered sweets and high calorie snacks and most people put aside their diets for a little bit of indulgence in this festive season. However, people with diabetes need to take a little extra care to maintain optimal blood glucose levels and ensure they do not get into hyperglycemic episodes.
AdvertisementDiabetologists and hospitals maintain that post-Diwali sees an increase in hyperglycemic episodes especially for those with juvenile and Type 1 diabetes. Not just consumption of sweets, but high-calorie, deep fried snacks also contribute to upping blood glucose levels. While it may not be possible to totally avoid sweets and snacks, a little bit of restraint can do wonders.
Dr Arpandev Bhattacharyya, Manipal Hospital, Bangalore advises people with diabetes to be mindful of the quantities consumed during Diwali. He suggests going in for bite-sized sweets and savoury snacks. "Take just one small piece of a sweet and maybe one snack for taste." This can satisfy the longing to indulge in the season and also stay safe by controlling blood glucose. Dr Bhattacharyya advises people to check their blood glucose levels post-heavy meals to avoid dangerous highs. Those on insulin can tweak their dosages according to the meals consumed. It is also advisable not to give up on exercise and walks. If one has indulged, it can be worked off by taking an extra long walk or a few extra minutes of exercise.
Along with the fireworks and brightness, come polluted air. This is one of the major downsides of Diwali especially for children and adults dealing with respiratory issues. Hospitals see a surge of children who need nebulisation due to the effects of Diwali pollutants. Fireworks release huge amounts of sulphur which irritates the eyes, nose, respiratory tract and lungs. Those with asthma end up with severe bouts of wheezing, coughing and breathing difficulties.
Polluted air is pervasive during Diwali and evenings are especially difficult. Children and adults who are prone to respiratory attacks are advised to use a face mask to avoid direct inhalation of polluted air. It is also advisable to keep potted plants indoors to freshen the air. Bonsai bamboo is recommended as bamboo releases oxygen-rich air. Avoid going outside if you are sensitive, if you must go use a face mask as much as possible.
Burns and injuries to the eye due to firecrackers are common during Diwali. Children are especially vulnerable and must be instructed carefully on using firecrackers. Here are some cautionary measures to protect you and your family from burns and injuries:
- Always wear cotton clothes while lighting firecrackers. Never wear loose and synthetic clothes
- Keep a first-aid kit with anti-burn creams and salve handy
- Keep cold water just in case
- Avoid looking directly into the fireworks while lighting
- Keep a safe distance while lighting
- Do not light any fireworks in your hand
- Fireworks should be burned in open spaces and never indoors
- Buy quality fireworks to ensure maximum safety
- Splash cold water over the burned surface or eye thoroughly
- Do not apply ghee, oil or any other non-medicated cream
- Use a medicated anti-burn cream
- Do not use eye drops or ointments without medical consultation
- Seek medical attention immediately