Doctors at Columbia Asia Hospitals, Ahmedabad give tips to make kite-flying safe during Uttarayan Festival in City
As the festival of Uttarayan approaches, Ahmedabad skies are filled with myriad kites of varying sizes and colours. On this occasion, also known as Makar Sankranti, people across all age groups indulge in the age-old tradition of kite flying to mark the advent of the spring season.
While kite flying apparently seems to be a harmless sport, it often causes some freak accidents and injuries. In fact, without quick and immediate action, many of such injuries can turn out to be dangerously lethal, inform doctors at Columbia Asia Hospital, Ahmedabad.
â€œKite flying was once considered a harmless recreational sport, but with the advent of metal-coated or crushed glass strings instead of cotton thread, nowadays, the risk of flying kites has increased manifold. These types of strings are much stronger and sharper than regular ones. Clinical evidence suggests that during this time of the year, a number of kite string cuts in different areas of the body are reported. Most of these cases are linked to emergency medicine, and demand prompt, definitive action at the right time,â€ says Dr Bhavesh Patel, Sr. Consultant-Emergency Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ahemedabad.
Some of the commonest sites affected with kite-flying injuries are the neck, throat and fingers. Amajority of these injury cases occur due to the maanjha (a fine string attached to the kite), which is typically coated with glass powder. The thinness and sharpness of the thread aggravate the different form of injuries caused due to kite-flying.
â€œWhile people flying the kites are obviously more prone to such injuries, nowadays even serious cases of road accidents are seen due to kite strings or maanjhas coming in the way of road travellers. These also catch two-wheeler riders across the throat, causing major damage to veins or arteries. Another common form of mishap that happens is falling off the terrace while flying kites or running and jumping to catch them.
In fact, in the last few years, we have seen up to 25% rise in emergency cases in the hospital during this period. Moreover, majority of the people who came for treatment are children below 16 years of age,â€ informs Dr Patel.
But, kite strings are not the only reason why flying of kite is regarded harmful. While metal-coated or chemically abrasive kite threads can be difficult to deal with if there is an injury, kite strings also get entangled on electricity lines and overhead power cables. Consequently, people even get electrocuted while trying to retrieve their kites from these wires.
In recent times, the State Government has made attempts to make kite-flying safer or ban sharp strings altogether; however, majority of these laws are difficult to enforce owing to resistance from kite enthusiasts in the city. Last year also, the city of Ahemedabad reported approximately 3,000 cases of injuries associated with kites and kite-flying, including one death.
â€œAll in all, the bottom-line is that kite flying or kite making is no longer a risk-free affair. While fighting a sky battle against the inland wind apparently seems adventurous, it can result in potentially fatal injuries, almost any time of the day. Injuries, fractures, and dislocations may ultimately result in death, paralysis, or long-term abnormalities. Hence, it becomes important to take a note of the risk factors and adapt adequate precautionary measures before you go out flying kites during the festival time,â€ adds Dr Patel.
While the hazards of kite flying need to be seriously considered and addressed so as to prevent occurrence of life-threatening accidents, taking a series of precautionary measures will also help in avoiding the â€˜kitemareâ€™, inform doctors.
Here are some tips to avoid accidents and injuries and enjoy Uttarayan festivities at its best:
- First and foremost, fly kites in open fields away from congested areas, where there are no power lines hanging around nearby.
- Avoid flying wet kites as they are strong conductors of electricity.
- Always keep your eyes and ears open while flying. Children under 15 are recommended to fly kites only under parental supervision.
- Do not stand on slippery or uneven surface of the buildings or terraces while flying kites.
- Avoid using coated thread or banned chemicals while making or flying kites.
- Wear medicated tapes or gloves on your fingers before flying kites to protect them from sharp-edged strings.
- Do not forget to wear a helmet while biking.
- Make sure to keep first aid kit handy while flying kites to control excessive bleeding.
- If things seem to get out of control after an injury, dial the emergency helpline number 108 and seek medical help.