Deepavali – the festival of lights – is one of the most auspicious occasions celebrated every year. If it is not celebrated carefully, it may make life terrible. It is high time to caution everyone to enjoy it cautiously; especially children.
- First thing –Most of the Sweets served during this occasion are often prepared with ghee and sugar, if taken without any limit, may cause indigestion and diarrhoea. Also milk sweets are not advisable to take after 3-4 days of preparation.
- Second thing – Sound created by crackers often crosses 95 decibels (dB) of noise and sometimes, may reach up to 115 dB. This level may cause damage to the eardrum. Our eardrum can tolerate noise levels well up to 90 decibels only.
- Third thing – Smoke created by crackers will cause breathing distress in asthmatics and allergic patients. They should stay away from smoke.
- Fourth thing – Burns caused by fire accidents from Candles/crackers/ rockets/sparklers/flower pots, etc., may often make life miserable. A spark is enough to change one’s life. Most often many get injuries in the hand or eye. The burns ward and eye clinic account for critical cases during Deepavali and often report disability/total loss of vision. So one should be more careful with burns rather than sweets, sound or smoke created by crackers as they can be easily prevented or we can stay away from them. But, burns come accidentally and unknowingly due to our carelessness in the midst of joy. So, handle crackers with caution.
- First degree or epidermal or superficial burns are very common and often limited to the outer most layer of the skin, i.e. the epidermis. It won’t produce any blisters. It will just appear as a painful reddish dry spot. Redness is the marked symptom of the first-degree burns. This type of burns often heals within a week without any trace of scar.
- Second degree or superficial dermal burns involve the layers of epidermis and the superficial part of the dermis. It produces blisters and is often very painful. The vesication or blisters are the marked symptoms of second degree burns. In case of opened wound, it normally appears as moist and takes 2-3 weeks to heal.
- Third degree or deep dermal burns involve all the layers of skin and appear as charred thick burnt area. This type of burns is often painless since the burn process destroys the nerve endings also. Necrosis (cell death) is the marked symptom of the third degree burns. This type of burn usually takes more than a month to get healed. Also healing ends with scars.
The burns caused by heat are most commonly due to contact of hot liquids (coffee/boiling water/water from top of the pans of hot foods/car radiators), hot steam and hot metals like kitchen utensils, tea pots, cookers, iron box, heaters or directly from flame of burners or stove. During Deepavali, burns are common with candles, sparklers, crackers, flower pots, rockets, etc. To prevent injuries/burns on this auspicious occasion, one should be aware of safety rules to reduce the risk of accidents.
- Adults should be with children while igniting powerful cracker
- Don’t allow children to launch rockets
- Don’t allow children to cover the crackers with boxes or bottles
- Don’t hold ignited crackers/rockets/flower pots in the hand for fun
- Don’t walk barefoot while bursting fire crackers
- Children should not be allowed to play with matches and lighters
- Don’t wear synthetic materials while near any flame or fire
- Stop/stay away from the burning process
- To put off the intensive fire, make the victim roll on the floor with a blanket
- Cool/flood the burn area – with running tap water for about 10- 15 minutes (this cooling process not only cools the burn but also cleans the burn area and reduces the pain)
- Be hygienic to rule out any infection
- If the injury is extensive, rush to the intensive burn care unit immediately
- Keep burnt area elevated to prevent odema formation (swelling)
- Don’t apply ice on the burn as ice may cause vasoconstriction and hypothermia
- Don’t apply ink/butter which may attract infection
- Don’t remove blisters, since intact skin could prevent infection
- Don’t give any oral foods/drinks to the seriously injured victim
- Infection – can cause septicaemia with fever, more discharges and discolouration. Finally this process ends in renal failure.
- Dehydration – often causes renal shutdown due to reduced blood volume caused by increased discharges. Dehydration is often indicated with excessive thirst, dizziness, fainting, dry skin, absence/reduced volume of urine, etc.
- Keloid formation and disfigurement – due to scarring with contracture and deformity.
- Depression often follows with disfigurement and deformities
- Duodenal ulcers, namely Curling’s ulcer, occur commonly in burn patients
- De-roofing of blisters and debridement (removal of dead skin) of necrosis parts
- Apply silver sulfdiazine as external application
- Cover the burn to keep it clean to avoid infection
- Pain killers for pain relief
- IV fluids to tackle dehydration
- Moisturiser if the skin is not blistered
- Antibiotics to avoid risk of infection and complications
Traditionally, burn victims are made to lie on plantain leaf and Honey is applied to the burnt area. Even now plantain leaves are used in sophisticated hospitals, since it will not get stick to the burnt area but honey is not used as it is sticky and is tough in maintenance and assessment of wound, even though it is supposed to have good healing powers.
- The blister fluid consists of plasma proteins and electrolytes which usually encourage better healing with out any scar or discolouration.
- If you happen to open it, the healing ends with discolouration and takes time to revive normalcy.
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