Diwali, though associated with lights and sweets, is unfortunately also celebrated with loud firecrackers, which are hazardous to nature as well as to human health. 

While individuals, NGOs, local community groups, and the government are all trying to keep pollution caused by firecrackers to a minimum, year after year, there is an increase in exposure to smog, which has an adverse effect on your health.

Smog, a Choking Combination of Smoke And Fog!

In simple words, smog is a type of intense air pollution. It was named as a combination of smoke and fog. 

This type of air pollution reduces visibility and is composed of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ground-level ozone, and other particulate matter. 

During Diwali, the burning of firecrackers leads to an increase in air pollution and contributes to the formation of smog. 

It can cause major respiratory distress, especially in children, the elderly, and those with lung or heart problems.

When you are exposed to smog for long hours, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Throat irritation, congestion, and pain.

  • Formation of phlegm (sputum) in the throat.

  • Irritation in the nostrils. 

  • Mucus dripping down the nose to the throat.

  • Difficulty in breathing.

  • Burning and watery eyes.

  • Coughing.

  • Shortness of breath (wheezing sound in the chest).

What Can You do to Protect Yourself?

The best ways to protect yourself from the effects of smog are:

1. Do not open the windows of cars, buses, etc., when you are travelling. 

2. Cover your nose and mouth with a comfortable mask or soft cloth which makes it easy to breathe when you are outside. 

3. Do not open the doors and windows of your house in the early morning and during the day for up to 2 to 3 days after Diwali.
Find out the time of the day when the particulate matter in the air is at its lowest and ventilate your house at such times. 

4. Switch on the air conditioner in your car, office, or home at a comfortable temperature. With the changing climate, the cooling should be moderate or else your chances of catching a cold will be high.

5. Keep yourself hydrated to flush out any toxins from your body.

6. Avoid walking, exercising, jogging, and other physical activities in open areas for some time after Diwali.

7. Maintain indoor plants such as areca palm, ivy, and spider plant, which will purify the air in your home, and office.

8. Keep your home clean and dust-free with regular cleaning and disinfecting. Do not undertake any activities indoors that will generate dust and smoke. 

9. Buy commercial air purifiers if needed, especially for the rooms of the more vulnerable, such as kids, the elderly, and pregnant women. 

10. Eat and drink items that boost your immunity such as Vitamin C-rich citrus fruits, ginger, and haldi doodh (turmeric milk). Include detoxifying agents such as gud (jaggery) that can help remove toxins from your system, and tulsi (holy basil) tea to keep your respiratory tract clear of pollutants. 

Celebrate Diwali, but be conscious of the impact your actions have on the environment and your health. Also, remember to continue taking COVID-related precautions.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.