With numerous cases of burns and irritation reported every year during Diwali, health experts cautioned people to avoid fire crackers as their smoke can cause damage to the respiratory tract, especially among children suffering from asthma.
City doctors have already started getting more patients complaining of breathlessness, severe cough and discomfort. Those between 6-12 years of age are more susceptible to asthma attack during diwali.
‘People having a healthy respiratory system can suffer from lung-related problems after getting exposed to the smoke of crackers during Diwali.’
People having a healthy respiratory system can suffer from lung-related problems after getting exposed to the smoke of crackers, which mostly includes aluminium powder, sulphur and barium nitrate. A certain particulate matter in the air, called PM10 (particulate matter with a mass median aerodynamic diameter less than 10 microns) is potentially very damaging.
"During Diwali, children prefer crackers prepared from aluminium powder, sulphur and barium nitrate. When they are burnt, they release pollutants like sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, manganese and even cadmium, which damage the respiratory tract," said Pankaj Aggarwal, a senior homeopathy physician at the city-based Agrawal Homoeo Clinic.
Ashutosh Shukla, Director and Head of Medicine at Artemis Hospital, said: "These particles are so small that when inhaled, they can penetrate deep inside the lungs, and deposit themselves in the smaller airways and lung parenchyma."
"All these cause spasms in the patients, triggering asthma attacks. In some cases, when the air becomes thick with smoke, patients are unable to breathe on their own and may even have to be hospitalised," said Shukla.
According to doctors, it is estimated that 15-20 patients report to hospitals suffering spasms of asthma on Diwali as compared to four-five patients on other days. Children between six to 12 years of age are more susceptible to asthma attack during Diwali.