Treat Holi as Holy

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

The general population should be cautioned to refrain from taking alcoholic drinks while celebrating Holi as excess use of alcoholic drinks can lead to fatal vehicular accidents and also end up into fatal quarrels.

Alcohol acts at the level of intellect and causes its dysfunction. It further leads to loss of power of discrimination and impairment of judgment. Thus, loosing the power to judge individuals and discriminate between the opposites. The person looses all social inhibitions which can lead to indulgence into use of foul language amongst each other ending up into fatal quarrels.

The impairment in judgment can also lead to errors during 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 not only precipitate heart attack, but also 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 at a time) 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. 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.

Women, in whom this habit is becoming day-by-day a fancy should especially refrain from heavy drinking as they cannot digest alcohol as much as men can. The reason is that the level of particular enzyme called Gastric Alcohol Dehydrogenase that helps in alcohol metabolism is by nature much lower in women than men.

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, and hence the habit of taking these pills should be condemned. Taking aspirin, also, to reduce the hang over can produce fatal hemorrhage in the stomach and hence should be avoided.

The impairment in judgment and co-ordination due to alcohol during daytime at work is also responsible for loss of manpower and gross negligent actions in the factory.

The festival of Holi is to share happiness with each other while forgetting all the differences and should never be allowed to end up into a sad episode of morbidity for some one. Similarly the practice of consuming bhang which can cause impairment in judgment and brain functioning should also be avoided.