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COMMENTARY
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 46-47

Diwali burns: An overview


Department of Plastic Surgery, Vivekananda Polyclinic and Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication13-May-2013

Correspondence Address:
Divya Narain Upadhyaya
B-2/128, Sector - F, Janakipuram, Lucknow - 226 021, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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How to cite this article:
Upadhyaya DN, Khanna V. Diwali burns: An overview. Indian J Burns 2012;20:46-7

How to cite this URL:
Upadhyaya DN, Khanna V. Diwali burns: An overview. Indian J Burns [serial online] 2012 [cited 2019 Oct 15];20:46-7. Available from: http://www.ijburns.com/text.asp?2012/20/1/46/111782

Firecrackers are used during various religious and secular festivals all over the world, like the Guy Fawkes Night in United Kingdom, the Fourth of July in USA and Bastille Day in France. [1] In India, they are used during Diwali when a spate of firework related injuries are seen in various hospitals. Many countries have tried to reduce the incidence of these burns by introducing legislation to control the sale and distribution of fireworks. In India, however, there are no regulations/legislations for preventing or regulating the use of fireworks by public. The Honourable Supreme court in July 2005 directed the Pollution Control Board to prohibit the use of loud speakers and music systems between 10 pm and 6 am with a special clause including fire crackers in the ban. [2] The judgement is poorly enforced, thus hardly affecting the usage of firecrackers in the night.

Most of the advanced countries have a central or regional burn registry with compulsory reporting of burns. Firework injuries in the UK, for example, are reportable by all hospitals to a nationwide database of firework injuries held by Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and Department of Trade and Industry. [3] India lags behind in this scenario too as there is no compulsory reporting and data keeping of the burn cases and hardly any regional/state or district burn registers are made or maintained. Burn statistics, in such a case, are usually hospital based and prone to present a distorted image when such data is analyzed.

However, there has been an increasing awareness of the demerits of firecrackers during the last decade or so due to various awareness campaigns organized by government departments and non-governmental organizations alike. Besides the fact that fireworks cause burns, people are also being made aware, through these campaigns, that fireworks cause noise and air pollution and encourage child labor. Whether these campaigns have had any effect at all is a matter of on-going research by various burn centers across the country. A survey of recent studies from India on this topic throws up some very important papers like the one by Puri V and others in JPRAS in 2009 where the authors have concluded that there has been a decrease in the prevalence of firecracker injuries over the 10 years period that their study spans. [4] Other authors, however, do not seem to concur. R Tandon and others in their landmark paper in IJPS this year have retrospectively analyzed data of burn patients of their hospital over a 9 year period (2002-2012) and have concluded that not only has the incidence of firecracker injuries not decreased but it has, in fact, increased steadily over this period of time. [1] Both the studies, however, are limited in that they are hospital based studies without access to any regional or national database. The conclusions of the latter study has to be tempered with the fact that the population and prosperity (and thus firecracker-buying capacity) of the citizens of India is steadily increasing. The awareness campaigns may also have chipped in by encouraging patients to seek medical help for even the most minor forms of burns thus increasing the catchment of the hospital. It is heartening to note in the latter study that there has actually been a decrease in the number of pediatric burns being seen by this center and the largest increase has been in the category of minor burns (1-5%).

The authors of the present study too have concluded that the number of burns has actually increased in their center over a period 3 years in spite of sustained campaigns. Such conclusions maybe a little premature without considering the above mentioned confounding factors. All over the world incidence of burn injuries due to firecrackers continues to fall due to proper legislation, strict implementation and increasing public awareness. [5],[6],[7],[8] We should certainly be able to replicate the same in India provided some conditions are met.

 
  References Top

1.Tandon R, Agrawal K, Narayan RP, Tiwari VK, Prakash V, Kumar S, et al. Firecracker injuries during Diwali festival: The epidemiology and impact of legislation in Delhi. Indian J Plast Surg 2012;45:97-101.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
2.Available from: http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgs.aspx. [Last accessed in 2012].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Edwin Alexandra FL, Cubison Tania CS, Pape Sarah A. The impact of recent legislation on pediatric fireworks injuries in the Newcastle upon Tyne region. Burns 2008;34:953-64.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Puri V, Mahendru S, Rana R, Deshpande M. Firework injuries: A ten year study. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg 2009;62:1103-11.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Chan WC, Knox FA, McGinnity FG, Sharkey JA. Serious eye and adenexal injuries from fireworks in Northern Ireland before and after lifting of the firework ban: An Opthalmology unit's experience. Int Opthalmol 2004;25:167-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.Johnston JJ, Jenkins M, McKinney LA. Fireworks related injuries: Does changing legislation make a difference? A thought for next Halloween. Emerg Med J 2001;18:232.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.Fogarty BJ, Gordon DJ. Firework related injury and legislation: The epidemiology of firework injuries and the effect of legislation in Northern Ireland. Burns 1999;25:53-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.D'Argenio P, Cafaro L, Santonastasi F, Taggi F, Binkin N. Capodanno Senza Danno: The effects of an intervention program on firework injuries in Naples. Am J Public Health 1996;86:84-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
    




 

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