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Safe Holi: Precautions to Prevent Asthma Attacks during the festival

Holi is an Indian festival of colors commonly known as the “Festival of love” in which everyone enjoys splashing color (gulal), water and colored balloons. The festival of holi also symbolizes joy, happiness, and prosperity. 


It has a rich history and an interesting story of immortality. As per Hindu mythology, a king named hiranayakashyap (demon king) wanted everyone to worship him and to become immortal. But his son “prahlada” was a strong follower of “Vishnu”. So in order to prove that Vishnu is not real, he order his sister “Holika”, who was granted a magic fire proof shawl by the Go ds to sit in fire with Prahalada. The motive behind that was the shawl will protect Holika but not his son and hence he will die. 

Traditionally holi was played with natural colors that are not toxic. During this festival, women prepare different types of foods such as different types of chats and sweets whereas men go out and play holi. A lot of people also play music on huge grounds during the festival. In the evening people living in society gather and light up a big bonfire which releases a huge amount of smoke and dangerous ashes in the environment. Since, the bonfire continues to burn till the next morning so more toxic substances are released during the night which can further damage the lungs and create an environment in which breathing becomes harmful.

From the past 2 years Covid has changed the way that people used to celebrate anything. Hence we must celebrate holi with precautions especially by those who are critically ill or suffer from serious breathing conditions like asthma. Since this festival is focused on playing with powdered from of color hence asthmatic patients are at a prominent risk. The color even if it is not toxic can cause noteworthy irritation and severe risk to asthma patients.

Safety Precautions:

  1. One must also restrict playing with powdered colors. The particulate in them remains in the atmosphere for quite a sometime hence increasing the possibility of entering in lungs further resulting in difficult breathing. 
  2. One should only enjoy holi with organic colors or natural colors because they will be free from any dust or harmful chemical which can cause difficulty breathing. Although an asthma attack can also be caused by these colors but the severity is significantly reduced. The harmful chemicals are also not good for skin especially the water based color which is frequently used during the festival can cause severe skin irritation. To avoid these irritations, one should also consider investing in proper skin care.
  3. Patients with Asthma should put on a mask that completely covers their nose and mouth cavities to avoid allergies and breathing issues. The mask serves as the first barrier between harmful colors and your exposure preventing small particulates from entering in to your body. It will also protect healthy individuals from various allergies which may arise due to smoke and dry colors. Moreover, covering your face with a mask will further reduce the chances of getting corona virus.
  4. Cover your mouth and stay away from the fire during holi dahan to avoid inhaling smoke pollutants.
  5. All the individuals having breathing problems must keep an inhaler handy with them especially asthma patients during playing holi. One must avoid asthma activators such as strong fragrances, .allergens, smoke and air pollution. Ideally one should avoid playing holi but if you can’t then at least   keep your inhaler with you and be prepared for any situation. However, before using it one should also ask a doctor about precautions on how to effectively use it during holi celebrations.
  6. Majority of people celebrate holi with very high spirits and include alcohol in this process. Drinking alcohol has been often linked with aggravating asthma. Some researchers have also concluded that drinking red & white wine and beer escalate the possibility of asthma significantly. One should include healthy drinks such as fruit and vegetable juices in holi celebrations. Further, one should also restrict smoking to avert any asthma complications. 
  7. All asthmatic patients must consume a balanced diet which will help in diminishing the manifestation of asthma.
  8. It is also advised by the clinicians to not skip taking long term asthma medicines during holi celebrations to avoid any symptoms of asthma. One should take these medicines on a daily basis without any break regardless of you have any symptoms or not. These medications help in reducing inflammation in the airways and keep the disease under manageable conditions.
  9. If at any moment one is feeling dizzy and out of breath then immediately consults a doctor so that appropriate measures can be taken to avoid the severity of asthma.
  10. Holi colors affect children the most, especially asthmatic child. If so then please avoid playing holi with the child. If the situation doesn’t permit avoiding it then parents should be extra cautious while playing holi with the child. Under any circumstances they should not let the child play with dry colors.

Holi is a festival that celebrates love and devotion nevertheless one should also be extremely cautions while celebrating it and should consult an ayurvedic consultant for any skin and breathing problems as soon as they arise to minimize the spread of infection. We are also offering Skin Care combo pack on the special occasion of Holi that includes neem, manjistha and skin vital capsules. The benefits of skin care pack include minimizing wrinkles, eczema, skin allergies and giving a glow to your skin. The products can be purchased here (

About Dr. Ranjana Kaushal

Dr. Ranjana Kaushal (MD Ayurveda) has 11 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda. Right now she is working as an Ayurveda consultant with Life Aveda. She has immense knowledge about herbs, their uses, and formulations. She has published articles related to many herbs and diseases in an international journal. She is also a degree holder in yoga and naturopathy. Read More..

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