Tips for a Safe Holi

Every year there are several cases of eye-injury owing to uncontrolled Holi celebrations. Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr Anand Shroff provides some tips on how to protect your eyes and the measures to take should an injury occur.

Girl at Holi Phagwa
Girl at Holi Phagwa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From time immemorial, man has been attracted to colours. Dry Holi colours known as ‘gulal’ and wet colours or ‘rang’ were originally prepared naturally from flowers and vegetables. However with time, in the quest of more long-lasting and strong colours, chemical and artificial colours are being used. These chemicals pose serious risks to our body and eyes.

The eyes especially are extremely susceptible during Holi because of their strategic place in the body and also because of the use of toxic materials in colours these days. The synthetic colours used during Holi are known to cause eye irritation and allergies, and even temporary blindness besides bronchial asthma and skin infections.

Some of these colours have been shown to possess cancerous properties. Considering the toxicity of synthetic colours, some institutions and organisations have now come forward to make people aware of the use of eco-friendly natural colours along with the resurrection of old traditional vegetable-based Holi colours. Hence, herbal ‘gulals’ are now commercially available in the market.

Some Safety Tips :-
Ensure that your eyes remain protected at all times. Use sunglasses to protect your eyes from coloured water.

Use a hat or cap to protect your hair from being coloured with strong chemical dyes.

Apply a thick layer of coconut oil on your body and hair so that the colour doesn’t stick and it can be washed off easily later. While washing off the colour, use lukewarm water and keep your eyes tightly closed.

If you are travelling, keep the car windows tightly shut. Better still, avoid travelling on this day.

Ensure that only non-toxic colours are used by younger children.

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What to do?
In case the chemicals make contact with your eyes and skin, taking certain these measures helps to avoid permanent damage. If the injury is serious or the symptoms such as irritation of eyes and skin, pain, swelling, photophobia (sensitivity to light), persist, see a doctor at the earliest.

Wash eyes with room temperature with clean water.

Remove contaminated clothing and wash exposed skin area thoroughly with soap and water.

Visit an eye specialist immediately if you have suffered an eye injury with a high-speed balloon or stone as severe injury can cause rupturing of the eyeball or even a retinal detachment.

Do not attempt to clean the eye immediately as the water may be contaminated and cause further infection. Instead shut the eye and rush to the nearest hospital.

Avoid inhaling the powders as this affects the respiratory tract causing irritation, cough, difficulty in breathing, and even bronchitis.

If someone is experiencing prolonged breathlessness, move him/ her towards a source of fresh air, and administer oxygen if possible.

Encourage your friends to play a safe Holi this year!

Sources:The Times Of India

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