This Diwali when people visit friends and exchange gifts, it is important to avoid potential risk to remain safe from COVID-19 and appreciate one’s wellbeing.
Doctors and other health experts have shared certain rules about guidelines on the precautions that ought to be taken.
“During the pandemic, there are a few precautions that should be taken while celebrating Diwali. Since Diwali is a social festival, people tend to visit friends and relatives and exchange gifts. Families come together to celebrate it, and the problem in this situation of COVID-19 where the cases are rising day by day, it is inadvisable that people should get together like this,” said Dr. P Venkata Krishnan, internal medicine, Paras Hospital. He said, “Too many people coming together breaks the social distances and the protocols for security. They don’t ensure sanitisation and a significant population of COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic, meaning you cannot recognise them by the symptoms of fever, cough and cold, so it is better to stay indoors.”
“But still they may be positive and they can transmit their infection to others. This year, at least, people should try not to go out as much as they usually do,” advised Dr Krishnan, as he talked about the precautionary measures to be taken amid the festival.
Opt for Online Gifts
“Instead of exchanging gifts, one can exchange online payments so that one gets to buy what he/she wants to, rather than a fixed gift being given. So this way, the mobility is reduced. Online greeting cards can also be given,” Dr Krishnan suggested this way of preventing COVID-19 infection.
“When one goes to the market, it is important to maintain a safe distance, and if the marketplace is extremely crowded, better not go to such an area, because the virus concentration is expected to be high in such closed spaces. You are likely to contract the infection whether you like it or not. And one should also wear masks and gloves, as one does not know how many people have checked the object.”
“Traditional way of namaste should be preferred rather than shaking hands when you meet someone. Free mixing of people should be discouraged and one can catch up with the family online through a video call or Zoom meetings. We have to protect ourselves until the vaccine comes and there is no other way to be safe from the virus,” recommended Dr Krishnan, adding that social distancing, keep up close to home cleanliness, wearing veils, sanitisation, utilizing gloves and following the rules gave by the public authority and the preventive measures are the approaches to forestall spreading of the illness.
Another expert, Dr Piyush Goel, Pulmonology and Critical Care, Columbia Asia Hospital, suggested that one should avoid any gathering either at home or outside due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially if one has a child or an elderly person at home. As gatherings are common on festivals, one should always wear a mask covering nose and mouth up to the chin, and even if one removes the mask while eating at a gathering, one should ensure a distance of 6 feet from the next person. We should not share food with unknown people at the gathering. He also advised people to ensure the washing or sanitisation of hands frequently.”
“As people burst crackers on Diwali, they contribute to pollutants. This worsens the problems for people already suffering from cough, colds and respiratory allergies. Other problems may include acute exacerbation of bronchial asthma, eye infections, allergic bronchitis, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases), allergic rhinitis, laryngitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia. Those who are asthmatic should use a mask or wrap a wet towel around nose and mouth to filter toxic air and avoid being outdoors during and a few days after Diwali,” said Dr Goel.
Suggesting sustainable approach for the environment, Dr Sheetal Nair said, “Post Covid19 and the economic slowdown we are reeling as a race.
Festivals usually tend to be the best way one can revive the spirits of society as a whole. But this Diwali we should try celebrating the festival of lights by focussing on the 5 elements of nature and ensuring that the earth remains sustainable for the coming generations. So, one should celebrate the festival of lights by illuminating the light within yourself, spreading the joy of life to the people around.”
Grand Master Akshar, an internationally acclaimed Yoga master, philanthropist, spiritual guru, lifestyle coach, asserted that “Deepavali is a festival for invoking auspicious energies. During this Covid-9 pandemic, it is even more important to uphold these traditions and celebrate with greater consciousnesses and care.”
Suggested the ways to keep the festivities going in a manner that is appropriate to the current times. Akshar said one should always keep masks on. Wash hands often and ensure that you wash your hands with soap instead of applying sanitiser when you are going to light lamps or set off fireworks, he said.
Consume Homemade Sweets
He said, “Try to consume homemade sweets and treats. Ensure that any sweets you purchase are packed safely and come from hygienic stores that are following Covid-19 guidelines. Use technology to the fullest. Meet and greet your friends and family online to share in the joys of this wonderful festival.”
A health care mentor, “Deepavali is the celebration of tidiness, positivity and the triumph of good over evil. The celebration dissipates murkiness, acquiring light to each corner. Let us, at this propitious opportunity arrive together to petition God for our reality to recuperate.”