It’s time to wave goodbye to the cozy winter days and enthusiastically gear up to welcome the most beautiful season of the year, the Spring Season. With the advent of Spring arrives the much awaited festival, the celebration of Colours and indefinite Joy, that is the occasion of Holi.

People inhabiting across all the corners of India celebrate Holi with high zeal and fervor as the festival of colours wanes the barriers of caste and creed and inspires all the people to indulge in the playing gulals, rang pichkaris, songs, dances and sumptuous meals. The outbreak of the pandemic imposed several restrictions on the society and the people, so after three long years people are going to experience the vibrant and engrossing celebration of Colours and happiness.

But before the celebration commence we need to register in our mind some basic safety norms which contributes for a hygienic festivity and keeps the human body fit and free from any kind of jeopardy that may arise due to the scorching heat, synthetic colours, heavy crowd around and the consumption of attractive but junk foods and drinks.

Dr P S Karmakar, Consultant, Techno India Dama Hospital shares some valuable insights for a secure Holi Celebration. According to him we all must participate but few safety measures need to be followed –

  • a. We must try to use natural colours as these are less harmful. Before playing with colours we need to apply light oil on our skin and hair.
  • b. We must avoid playing with open hair as the synthetic colours can cause permanent damage.
  • c. We must make use of protective sunglasses.
  • d. Our celebration will be incomplete without Holi Special Platter but one shouldnot refrain from the fact that this is month of sheer heat and the environment around is also unfavourable. All these can lead to indigestion and also liver trouble. So, we need to consume less oily and spicy food.
  • e. We must drink plenty of plain water. Consuming Coconut water and pure lassi, cools and heals the throat and is also a healthy substance for maintaining a stable human health.
  • f. Strictly say ‘No’ to Alcohol and avoid taking any addictive products like Bhang and other kind of drugs to make the celebration prolonged and enjoy a deep hangover. Incase, the gathering compels you then take alcohol but in a controlled amount.
  • g. The mounting threat of Adeno Virus infection should be kept in mind. This is now a concerned disease especially in children. The elder generation also needs to be careful. The gathering and celebration can be a strong factor in affecting everyone with the Virus.

Earlier Holi was played with colors made of plant and flower extracts. But over the years, chemicals and other toxic substances have slowly replaced natural colors. Apart from causing irritation to the eyes, these synthetic colors might also lead to temporary blindness and permanent blindness in certain cases. These toxic chemicals can lead to skin irritation, dermatitis, and a plethora of skin conditions too. This colourful festival can be a better day of fun and frolic when we play it with safety measures.

Dr Soham Basak, Consultant, Cornea Department of Disha Eye Hospitals throws light on the causes of eye infection during Holi for kids and some special eye care tips for the younger souls.

Causes for eye infection/ damage during Holi:

  • 1. Synthetic yellow colours used in Holi contain heavy metals like lead causing pink eye, corneal abrasion, chemical burn. Such colours should be avoided as they can have a telling effect on the kids.
  • 2. Shining mica particles in red colour are really harmful and should be avoided as they can cause damage to the cornea.
  • 3. Green/ bluish-green synthetic colours contain malachite green – which is highly toxic and can lead to ocular surface burns, disfigurement of the eyes and even blindness.
  • 4. Kids tend to enjoy water balloons the most. But they are the most important cause of blunt eye injury. If kids eyes are hit by balloons full of colour, the eyeballs may get severely damaged, can cause bleeding inside the eye and may even lead to retinal detachment.
  • 6. Water guns are the rage now. Jets of water at high speed can also damage your eyes.

Eyes care during Holi:

  • 1. Protect eyes by wearing sunglasses or protective eyewear while playing with colours
  • 2. Never put colour on others around the eyes!
  • 3. Fasten or tie hair together by using a cap to prevent colour from dripping into the eyes
  • 4. Never rub your eyes if colours enter into them as this may cause irritation or vision loss
  • 5. Apply thick layers of coconut oil around your eyes as it will help the colour to get off easily without causing harm to the eyes
  • 6. It is always important to keep an eye on the kids.
  • 7. If a colour has entered the eyes – immediately wash eyes with clean tap water or drinking water. Wash thoroughly.
  • 8. Visit your local eye specialist for immediate treatment. Severe injuries may require referral to a super-specialised eye hospital.
  • 9. Eye drops such as an antibiotic (ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin) and artificial tear drops (carboxymethyl cellulose) may be applied safely. Do not self-medicate with steroid eye drops without consulting a doctor first.

Remember – safety is the best policy!

Natural colours made from home-based products are a much better and safer option to play Holi. These can be easily made and offer a safer option as compared to the synthetic colours. Haldi mixed with besan or flour can give a yellow colour and work as a face-mask at the same time. Petals of Palash flower can be used to obtain a saffron colour. Beetroot soaked in water provides a bright magenta colour. Henna Powder, Gulmohar, and Hibiscus Flowers etc. can also be used to make different colours.

Nowadays a wide variety of organic and vegetable-sourced colours are available. It is a good option to use these colours.