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It is the month of October and the whole country is gearing up for the biggest festival of the year - Diwali, the festival of lights. This year the festival falls on Sunday, 27 October.
Diwali is celebrated all across the country with a lot of enthusiasm and fanfare. Friends and families get together to welcome Goddess Lakshmi into their homes. It is also a bonding time for everyone over card parties.
Apart from the grown-ups, kids too love Diwali. It is that time for them when they get to meet all their cousins from their extended family and enjoy the vacations.
They get to gorge on tons of sweets and can also get away with most of the things. Another thing that kids eagerly await to do during Diwali is bursting firecrackers.
Firecrackers have long been associated with Diwali. So much so that whenever there is a mention of the festival, the first thing that comes to our minds is a sky full of firecrackers.
Like all other Diwali customs and traditions, firecrackers too have their own significance. The loud noise is said to send a message to the lords above about the abundant state of humans. It is also considered as a way to thank the gods for their blessings for health, wealth and happiness.
Firecrackers are enjoyed by children and adults alike. However, they are extremely dangerous if not handled with care. There is a steady increase in injuries related to firecrackers.
Often children are left unsupervised while playing with crackers and this results in injuries. Extreme caution has to be taken while bursting firecrackers. Children should be advised to burst them only under the supervision of adults.
As fire is involved in bursting the firecrackers, there are a lot of burn injuries reported during that time. Among all the casualties reported, eye injuries are on top of the list  .
Firecrackers are highly combustive. While bursting the crackers, people tend to direct their bodies away from the crackers but fail to keep their face at a safe distance. This is the reason why eye injuries are common  .
Eye injuries while bursting firecrackers may lead to temporary, sometimes, permanent damage to the eyes. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to take care while enjoying the festivities.
Ways To Prevent Eye Injuries During Diwali
- Always protect your eyes by wearing goggles while bursting crackers. This will prevent direct damage to the eyes.
- Never leave children unattended during the bursting. Make sure at least one of the adults is always there around. This will lessen the chances of injuries  .
- It is advisable to keep your face away while lighting the firecrackers.
- Always light the firecrackers away from inflammable substances and in the open air.
- People who regularly wear contact lenses should avoid them during this time as the smoke and dust may irritate the eyes.
- Keep a first aid kit handy in case of emergencies. Also keeping a bucket of water nearby may help in case of accidental fire.
- It is better to avoid highly combustible crackers as more heat the crackers require, the more chances of burn injuries  .
In an unfortunate event where there is an eye injury, here is what you can do-
- The first step is to wash the hands and the wounded eye properly with clean water. This will remove any chemical residue. It is important not to panic and keep cool  .
- Never rub the injured eye.
- Do not apply any cream or ointment to the injury.
- Do not bandage the wound. If it is bleeding keep a cotton pad and rush to your nearest doctor  .
Have a safe, clean and happy Diwali!
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-  Kumar, R., Puttanna, M., Sriprakash, K. S., Rathod, B. S., & Prabhakaran, V. C. (2010). Firecracker eye injuries during Deepavali festival: A case series. Indian journal of ophthalmology, 58(2), 157.
-  Verma, L., Arora, R., Tewari, H. K., & Khosla, P. K. (1994). Eye casualty department. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 87(4), 217.
-  Chakraborti, C., Giri, D., Choudhury, K. P., Mondal, M., & Datta, J. (2014). Paediatric ocular trauma in a tertiary eye care center in Eastern India. Indian journal of public health, 58(4), 278.
-  Alphonse, V. D., Kemper, A. R., Strom, B. T., Beeman, S. M., & Duma, S. M. (2012). Mechanisms of eye injuries from fireworks. JAMA, 308(1), 33-34.
-  Gupta, P. C., & Ram, J. (2017). Eye injury from a firecracker. New England journal of medicine, 376(26), 2579-2579.