Holi is a Festival of Love and Joy – Play Holi Safely

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee
President, Heart Care Foundation of India 


Green and bluish green chemicals contain malachite green which can be toxic to the eyes.

Please take care of the following tips:

1. Auramine, methyl violet, rhodamine and orange II are all phototoxic colours and can damage the skin.
2. Mica in the colour can damage the skin.
3. Use floral dyes. Flowers like Marigold, China rose, Butterfly Pea, Flame of the Forest etc are used for the extraction of colourful dye.
4. Bhang can precipitate acute abnormal mental behavior and psychosis.
5. Bhang can increase the heart rate and blood pressure in susceptible individuals. Pre treatment with a beta blocker can take away the bad effects of bhang.
6. Alcohol can impair judgment and make one prone to accidents.
7. Three to four drinks are sufficient to raise the blood pressure to dangerously high levels in susceptible individuals. In patients who are prone to heart attacks, this dangerous rise in blood pressure can precipitate heart attack, paralysis and brain hemorrhage. The incidence of paralytic attacks is found to be high within 24 hours of heavy drinking.
8. Binge drinking (more than 5 pegs in one hour) is also associated with irregular heart beats and increased incidence of sudden death. Heart and high blood pressure patients are therefore specifically cautioned not to indulge into heavy drinking.
9. Drinking one peg of alcohol (one ounce) in one hour can still be considered as safe (social drinking) as this amount of alcohol can be totally metabolized by the liver during one hour.
10. Consuming six tablets of paracetamol with alcohol, which is a common practice to reduce the hang-over specifically by women, can produce fatal liver damage. Taking aspirin, also, to reduce the hang-over can produce fatal hemorrhage in the stomach and hence should be avoided.
11. Balloons can cause blunt injuries to the eyes and precipitate head injuries.
12. Beware of date rape drugs. Do not play holi with strangers.
13. Don’t throw colour at sensitive parts, such as eyes.
14. Chemical if goes in the eye will cause mild allergy or even severe chemical burn in the eye. A patient may present with allergic conjunctivitis, chemical burn, corneal abrasion and blunt eye injury.
15. If a colour comes in contact with the eye, one should immediately wash it with a lot of water and in case irritation persists, medical aid should be sought immediately.
16. Most colours used during Holi usually cause mild redness and irritation lasting for upto 48 hours. If clarity of vision is affected, it’s an emergency.
17. The particles in colour powders (shining mica particles in gulal) can cause damage to the cornea. The corneal abrasion is an emergency and one should consult the doctor. In the eyes there can be bleeding, lens sub luxation, macular edema or retinal detachment. These can lead to loss of vision or loss of the eye.
18. If there is vision loss, corneal abrasions rush to the eye doctor.
19. Use Dental caps to protect the teeth from staining. Use sunglasses to keep the eyes safe from the harmful chemicals of the colors.
20. While washing off the color, use lukewarm water and keep the eyes and lips tightly closed.
21. While traveling keep the car windows tightly shut.
22. Use a hat, cap or anything like that to protect the hair from being collared with hard-to rinse dyes.
23. Do not bump into the frenzied group of mob if you take to streets. Better you cross the road to the sidewalk across. Or, simply stay at a safe distance.
24. Discourage children to play Holi with eggs, mud or gutter water.
25. Stop children from forcing Holi celebrations on a hesitant neighbor.
26. Don’t walk alone on the streets on the Holi day.
27. Use only powdered color and water.
28. Keep a big bucket of water handy for your children, so that they do not resort to gutter water and other unclean sources.
29. Holi is a festival of love and joy and should be used as a medium of communication to remove the mental dirt and clean the mind.
30. Holi should not end up with quarrels, violence or eve teasing. We should use floral colours and not chemicals.
31. Make your own floral colours: Mix Haldi with flour to get yellow colour; Petals of flowers of “tesu” give saffron colour; The “beetroot” pieces soaked in water can give magenta colour.

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Avoid Alcohol During Holi Celebrations

Consumption of alcohol during holi can be dangerous. It makes one prone to accidents and drinkers may end up with quarrel unnecessarily.

There is no evidence that non drinkers should start drinking during Holi and for social drinking one should restrict the intake to less than 80 grams per week.

Alcohol impairs the intellect, which in-turn impairs the power to judge individuals and discriminate between the opposites. The impairment in judgment can also lead to errors while driving leading to fatal accidents.

Three to four drinks are sufficient to raise the blood pressure to dangerously high levels in susceptible individuals. In patients who are prone to heart attacks, this dangerous rise in blood pressure can precipitate heart attack, paralysis and brain hemorrhage. The incidence of paralytic attacks is found to be high within 24 hours of heavy drinking.

Binge drinking (more than 5 pegs in one hour) is also associated with irregular heartbeats and increased incidence of sudden death. Heart and high blood pressure patients are therefore specifically cautioned not to indulge into heavy drinking.

Drinking one peg of alcohol (one ounce) in one hour can still be considered as safe (social drinking) as this amount of alcohol can be totally metabolized by the liver during one hour.

Consuming six tablets of paracetamol with alcohol, which is a common practice to reduce the hang-over specifically by women, can produce fatal liver damage. Taking aspirin, also, to reduce the hang-over can produce fatal hemorrhage in the stomach and hence should be avoided. The festival of Holi is to share happiness with each other while forgetting all the differences.

Similarly the practice of consuming bhang, which can cause impairment in judgment and brain functioning, should also be avoided.

Those who cannot restrict should only take red wine as it contains anti-oxidants, polyphenols that slow cell deterioration. They also prevent plaque buildup and inhibit platelet formation. Natural sources of poly phenols are grape seeds, grape skin, aloevera, green tea, chocolate and cocoa. The types of polyphenols in cocoa are flavonoids and flavanols, and contain catechins, epicatechins, and procyandins.

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