Thiruvananthapuram: According to the IMD forecast, this year Attukal Pongala day is going to be the harshest of the decade, with Devi devotees being close to the kiln and fire. In order to ensure that no one falls sick, doctors advice drinking a lot of water and making use of the toilets. Medical College faculty Dr Joby John says, “It is important that the water they drink is pure. They can have tender coconut juice, or ‘kanji vellam’, but they need to avoid artificial drinks.”
The Health Department has set up medical camps in the pongala area. Suchitwa Mission has set up drinking water kiosks at various points. Attukal Temple Trust has also made arrangements to offer drinking water. The Government Medical College is ready for exigencies, according to Superintendent Dr M S Sharmad. “Even the ones who are not on duty have been asked not to go out of station, and be available should there be a need. We have stocked medicines, IV fluids and burn medicines,” he says.
Many women devotees might hesitate to use public toilets, and wait till they get home, but this can be extremely unhealthy. The heat can cause dehydration. In addition, women avoid drinking water to not go to toilets. Not going to toilets, coupled with not drinking water, would lead to urinary tract infections. Normally, devotees use toilets at homes near their kilns. This time, the Corporation has two additional mobile toilet units, each with 10 toilets.
But since it might be difficult for it to ply on roads lined with ‘pongala’ kilns, the vehicles might be parked at Chakkai or Eenchakkal. However, since its maximum capacity was only 1500 litres, it would get full soon, said an official. Devotees with diabetes or kidney ailments should not forget to eat food and have medicines on time. Moreover they should keep sugar, glucose or something sweet handy, as there are chances of them becoming hypoglycaemic.