With Diwali celebrations in full swing across India, it is important to be aware of potential health risks, especially for children. Diwali, celebrated during the winter months, coincides with cold and heavy air, creating smog – a dangerous mixture of smoke and fog. Additionally, the traditional practice of bursting fireworks during celebrations further increases air pollution.
What effect does pollution have on children during Diwali?
Children, especially young children, are more sensitive to the harmful effects of air pollution because their developing bodies and immune systems are less equipped to handle pollutants. Air pollution, especially fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and airborne pollutants cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, similar to bronchitis.
In this regard, Dr. Revathi Kodakkal, consulting pulmonologist at Holy Family Hospital Bandra, said, “Prolonged exposure to PM2.5 can hamper the normal growth and development of a child’s lungs, leading to “Can potentially lead to reduced lung function, leading to COPD.” In adulthood. “As pollution affects their immunity, they become more susceptible to infections, especially lung infections.”
“Some research suggests that exposure to air pollution during early childhood, including in young children, may be associated with cognitive and developmental delays, even predisposing them to developing Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, etc. There may be a higher risk of this happening. Air pollution can increase allergies and sensitivities in children. Additionally,“Congenital exposure to air pollution can affect a child’s birth weight and overall health at birth, which can have lasting effects on childhood and subsequent development,” she said.
Tips for taking care of children during this time:
Dr. Nihar Parekh, who is a pediatrician and founder of Cheers Child Care and SOCC (Second Opinion Online Consultation for Children). Said, “Children’s respiratory systems are especially sensitive to air pollution. The inflammatory response caused by air pollution can weaken the lungs’ immune system and make the lungs less susceptible to bacteria and viruses. “Increased exposure can lead to life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia, especially in infants and the elderly.”
“Apart from pollution, noise is also a major problem for children during Diwali. The sound of fireworks can be stressful for children, causing anxiety and disrupting sleep. Parents are advised to So that they can create a peaceful and happy environment for their children and reduce noise.” During the holidays,” he said.
Are eco-friendly crackers a viable option?
Talking about this, Dr. Revathi Kodakkal said, “green crackers A type of firecracker that is designed to be more environmentally friendly and less harmful to public health than traditional fireworks. They have reduced emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter, have lower noise output, may contain more biodegradable elements, and contain less heavy metals than standard crackers. However, despite being slightly safer than regular fireworks, they still emit gases and can cause respiratory problems, increased allergies, noise pollution, accidents during explosion, and environmental impacts. . In these dark times of deteriorating air quality and global warming, it would be better to celebrate a green Diwali than a Diwali with green crackers.”
Why is it important for children to keep indoor air clean during Diwali?
Pollution can harm your child’s lungs, brain and heart etc.Toxic air can affect a child’s immune system, making them more susceptible to health problems like pneumonia and bronchitis or bronchial inflammation.
Jaydhar Gupta, founder of Nirvana Being, said, “Clean, pure air is essential for children’s neurological and physical development. Young children breathe faster than adults and take in more air relative to their body weight. are, often through the mouth, which inhale more pollutants. Because of their size, they are also closer to the ground, where some pollutants reach their peak concentrations. of 22 ug/m3 in 24 hours Breathing air with PM 2.5 concentration is equivalent to smoking 1 cigarette just by breathing. Based on the average concentration, infants/children are smoking 6-10 cigarettes per day just by breathing. Therefore, indoor air quality treatment for children It is highly recommended to take other measures like removing carpets and heavy curtains from children’s rooms. Wear shoes outside the room as children have a weak immune system. Therefore, their ability to fight and resist respiratory infections is less. Is.”