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Diwali is the celebration of lights. However, it has also become associated with noise, smoke and pollution. This can be credited to a large number of firecrackers, which are burst as part of Diwali celebrations. Pollution affects not only your skin but also your internal health and can lead to a number of health problems such as:
1. Respiratory problems
Smoke is a common byproduct of every firecracker. These suspended particles in the air, when inhaled, can lead to a number of respiratory problems. In some cases, this floating particulate matter may also contain heavy metal oxides and salts that can get deposited in the lungs and cause irreversible damage. Asthmatic patients often see a sudden spike in respiratory attacks around Diwali.
To deal with respiratory issues during Diwali, wear face masks to limit the inhalation of noxious fumes. Those who are suffering already from respiratory concerns should get themselves examined after Diwali to be on the safe side.
2. Digestive problems
While bursting crackers, a small residue of particulate matter is often left behind on your fingers. Since bursting crackers and enjoying sweetmeats go hand in hand on Diwali, there is a high chance of ingesting these chemicals. Even washing your hands may not get rid of all the chemical traces. This can lead to indigestion and a number of other digestive problems.
Take care to wash your hands thoroughly with soap before you touch any food item. You can use a sanitizer as well for extra protection. If you experience any gastric discomfort, visit a physician without delay.
3. Hearing problems
Pollution is not measured only by the levels of particulate matter in the air. Excessive noise that goes over the permissible decibel level leads to noise pollution. This can be in the form of noise emitted by firecrackers, loudspeakers etc. Noise pollution can lead to temporary deafness and damage the ear as well. It can also lead to sleeping problems, high blood pressure and permanent hearing loss.
To avoid noise-related problems, use ear plugs and keep your doors and windows closed. Heart patients should, especially get themselves checked by a doctor after Diwali or if a problem suddenly arises during festivities.
4. Skin problems
Many children and adults suffer from skin irritations and eczema during Diwali. This is largely due to pollutants in the air and chemical residue left on the skin. To keep skin problems at bay, drinks lots of water, use moisturiser, avoid fried food, cover your face with a cloth while burning crackers and wash your face afterwards thoroughly. For those already suffering from skin worries, consult your doctor for guidance.
The best way to limit your exposure to harmful chemicals and pollutants during Diwali is by celebrating an eco-friendly Diwali and saying ‘no to crackers’.
Additionally, try to stay indoors in the evening when crackers are being burnt and close all the windows and doors. Wearing a mask can also help prevent the inhalation of poisonous gases. This is especially necessary for people suffering from asthma and other such respiratory illnesses. Air pollutants do not clear away immediately and are present in the air for many days after Diwali as well. Hence, try staying indoors and keep the windows of your car rolled up for the next few days after Diwali as well.
'Light exercise' is one of the first things every doctor prescribes for hypertension patients. Hypertension is a condition where blood exerts a very high force against the walls of the blood vessels. While a normal person's blood pressure is usually around 120 over 80, a hypertension patient's blood pressure is higher than 140 over 90. Regular exercise helps regulate this blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health. It also improves blood circulation, thus giving you more energy and easing stress.
So, what types of exercises are best for treating hypertension?
Aerobic activities are activities that increase your heart and breathing rate. Simple household chores like mowing the lawn or swabbing the floor can also count as aerobic activities. Other such exercises include brisk walking, jogging and swimming. Alternatively you could join a group sport such as basketball or football to increase your aerobic activity. This will make your heart stronger and reduce stress, both of which will in turn lower your blood pressure.
Lifting weights may cause a temporary spike in blood pressure at the time of exercising, but it has a number of long term benefits. It improves your overall cardiovascular health and helps build strong muscles. Instead of doing a few sets of lifting heavy weights, it is better for a hypertension patient to lift lighter weights more number of times. Light weights challenge the muscles by increasing the number of sets.
Practicing yoga asanas and pranayam can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress induced hypertension. While asanas are yogic positions, pranayam refers to breathing techniques. Some asanas that are beneficial for hypertension are shavasana, sukhasan and shishuasan. Yoga benefits hypertension patients by relaxing the body and calming the nervous system.
How much exercise do you need?
With hypertension, you should be very careful to not overdo any exercise. Brisk walking for 30 minutes or jogging for 20 minutes on a daily basis is ideal. A five minute warm up and cooling down period at the beginning and end of your exercise routine is essential. If you cannot put aside half an hour each day, you could even break it up into smaller periods of 10 or 15 minutes each. When exercising, it is important to listen to your body. The moment you feel out of breath or dizzy, you must stop your exercise.
If you are a regular gym enthusiast, lifting light weights won't be an issue. However, if you live a sedentary lifestyle and are only starting a fitness routine now, it is advisable to consult your doctor before adding weight training to your schedule. You should also consult your doctor if you are above the age of 45 or if you are overweight.