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WHAT ARE THE DOs and DON’Ts TO SAFEGUARD FROM COVID-19

Coronavirus is a family of viruses that has gripped the world for long. It includes right from the common cold virus to viruses that cause more severe diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

What is Coronavirus?

Like most of the other viruses, Coronavirus or COVID-19 also brings on typical symptoms in humans, including fever, cough and breathing difficulties. The symptoms show a mild start and then progress to severe. It can result in inability to breathe, lack of oxygen and thereby collapse of various organs.

Up till now, no medicines have been found useful in treating Coronavirus disease and there are no vaccines available so far, though research is going on at full steam across the world. This means in severe cases; there is all probability of the disease leading to the death of the patient.

Spread of infection

COVID-19 spreads from person and person at a fast rate. The disease mainly spreads from an infected person through the droplets from the nose or mouth. When an infected person coughs or exhales. When the droplets come in contact with otherwise healthy people (EITHER DIRECT AEROSOL OR FOMITE TRANSMISSION) it comes in contact with their nose, eyes, or mouth and the infection spreads.

Where does COVID -19 survive?

The droplets can also fall and remain on various surfaces we contact in our daily life. It can survive from a few hours to as long as 2-3 days on these surfaces. It could be doorknobs, railings, seats in transport buses, seats and handrails in trains, clothing, packaging and the list is endless. The virus can survive on different materials like steel, plastic and cardboard with ease.

World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that the virus that causes COVID – 19 is transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets.

Dos & Don’ts to Prevent Covid -19

Here are a few relevant dos and don’ts to safeguard oneself and prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection.

Dos:

• Wash your hands as often as you can. Take care to spend at least 20 seconds washing and thoroughly scrubbing your hands with soap and water.

• Wash hands after visiting the toilet, bathroom, before and after eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, after returning from outside

• When you are out and about and you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with min. 60% alcohol)

• Cover your nose and mouth with disposable tissue or handkerchief when you sneeze or cough

• Throw used tissues in a covered bin

• See a doctor if you feel unwell or have (high fever, difficulty in breathing and cough)

• While visiting a doctor or hospital wear a mask/cloth to cover your nose and mouth

Don’ts:

• People without symptoms need not wear the face masks which are vital supplies for healthcare staff to take care of those seriously ill.

• Avoid travel if feeling sick or having any of the symptoms of COVID-19

• Do not organise or attend social gatherings, parties, political meetings. weddings and other events where people gather in large numbers

• Avoid contact with people who show signs and symptoms of the illness

• Avoid raw/undercooked food.

• Don’t touch your face, nose, eyes or mouth before washing your hands

• Stop smoking and use of other tobacco products

• Don’t spit in public places

• Avoid handshakes and touching surface in public places like railings, door handles and park benches

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INTRODUCTION TO RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Rheumatoid arthritis is a autoimmune condition. The condition occurs when the immune system, which is supposed to protect us, goes out of control and begins to attack our own body tissues. The disease causes inflammation in the liming of the joints (the synovium) and results in redness, warm feeling and painful swelling in the joints.

RA can occur on both sides of the body, where it affects both hands, both wrists or both knees. This is one sign that differentiates it from other forms of arthritis. RA is progressive and over time, it starts affecting other vital organs and parts of the body, including the eyes, heart, lungs, blood vessels and more.

Symptoms of RA

The most prominent warning sign of RA is joint pains and swelling in the joints on both sides of the body. There may be stiffness, early in the morning or when you sit in one position for a long time. Constant fatigue is also a very apparent sign of RA.

RA affects people in different ways. In some, the joint pain may occur over several years and in others, it will set in quickly. Some others will have RA for a few years and then it will go into remission with no symptoms until it resurfaces later after several years.

Who are at risk?

The disease is more common in women than in men. But when men do get affected there, the degree of pain will be much more than normally for women. Adults in their middle age are the worst affected and at risk to get affected. Sometimss’ young children and older people are also seen to be afflicted with RA.

What are the causes of RA?

Till now, the specific reason for the onset of RA has not been pinpointed. There is something that triggers the immune system to attack the joint cells and sometimes other organs too. Reserach tells that some kind of virus or bacteria may be changing the immune system, causing it to attack your joints. Specific other lifestyle causes include smoking.

How does RA affect the body?

Usually, the immune system cells move from the blood into your joints and tissues that line them.  This kind of tissue is called the synovium. Once these cells arrive, they start the inflammation. This causes joint swelling as the fluid builds up inside it. Finally, the joints become painful, swollen and warm to touch.

The inflammation wears off the cartilage in the joints which is a tissue that covers the bones. As the cartilage is lost the space between bones decreases. The result is that soon the bones start rubbing against each other and they move out of place. The cells that cause inflammation contain other substances that are harmful to the bones.

The inflammation then spreads and affects other organs and systems all over the body.

How is RA diagnosed?

Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed through observation of the symptoms like painful joints, especially the hand joints. Joint stiffness, bumps and nodules under the skin and through an analysis of the certain X-rays and blood tests.

Treatments for RA

Treatments for RA include medications, ample rest, proper exercise and in very severe cases surgery would be recommended to correct damaged joints. There is no cure as such for RA but early and aggressive treatment will help prevent any disability and decrease the chance of remission.

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WHAT ARE THE FACTS ABOUT FLU?

It is a known fact that influenza or for short the common respiratory flu typically peaks in January and February. The illness appears in a range of mild to severe degree. Occasionally hospitalisation will be needed to treat very severe cases. Though surprising, the influenza-related death rate is rather high across the world.

What is the flu?

Flu is actually the short form for seasonal influenza, which is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system. The flu symptoms often come on suddenly and at first look like the common cold. A runny nose, congestion, sneezing and sore throat are typical.

What are the symptoms?

The typical symptoms will include fever, body ache and muscle stiffness, chills and sweats, headaches, cough, fatigue and weakness.

Influenza and Stomach Flu

The seasonal flu is not in any way similar or related to the stomach flu which is a collective term for an intestinal infection. The stomach flu will result in diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting.

Causes for flu

When a person with flu coughs or sneezes, the flu virus travels through the air in droplets when a healthy person inhales the droplets, the virus infects the person too. Even though less likely, the infection may spread by touching objects previously contaminated by a sick person and then inoculate yourself by touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Who is at risk?

If a person is young and robust with a healthy immune system, the flu will be self-limiting, which means it can resolve with some supportive care. But high-risk people including young children, adults over 65 years, pregnant women, people with chronic illness and people with weak immune systems, can develop serious complications.

Mostly notably, this group of high-risk people can develop pneumonia due to the flu, which can lead to respiratory failure and finally, even death.

How to prevent and protect against the flu?

You can take specific steps annually to protect yourself against the flu attack.

Get vaccination: The flu vaccine is available as an injection or a nasal spray. While the vaccine may not be 100% effective, it is the best defense against flu infection.

Wash your hands: You must practice good hand hygiene which prevents catching the flu and other infections. You can scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer too.

Cover your coughs and sneezes: Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue paper when you sneeze or cough. This prevents the virus from spreading. You can also put your arm up and cough or sneeze into the sleeves and do not sneeze or cough into your hand directly.

Keep away from crowded places: The flu virus spreads easily wherever there is a crowd. These places could be anywhere you go daily like the schools, office buildings and auditorium and even public transportation. You need not be reclusive but avoiding such crowded areas during the peak flu season will lower your chances of catching influenza.

Treatment for flu

Usually, complete rest and drinking plenty of fluids will take care of your flu. Some doctors may prescribe antiviral medications depending on the severity of your illness. If the symptoms are severe and you fall in the high-risk category, then seeing your doctor as early as possible and if need be getting admitted in a hospital will be appropriate to tackle the condition.

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Tips to maximise your workouts

It is no more a secret that when and what you eat has a remarkable effect on the outcome of your workouts or exercise. Here are a few well-researched tips on how to maximise your workout benefits.

Have a healthy breakfast

If you are a person who likes to exercise in the morning, it is better to finish your breakfast at least an hour before your workout. Doing so will give you energy and raise your blood sugar. When you do your workout, before taking your breakfast there is all possibility of feeling sluggish and lightheaded when you exercise. A good breakfast will consist of whole-grain cereals, whole-wheat bread, fruits like bananas, some yogurt and a cup of tea/coffee. Emphasis should be on good carbohydrates for maximizing energy.

Control food quantity

Be careful of what you eat and how much of it before you exercise. If it is a substantial meal, then eat it at least three to four hours before exercising. Small meals can be eaten two to three hours before workouts. If you feel hungry, you can have small snacks an hour before your scheduled exercise. At all these meals, be careful about the quantity since too much can make you feel sluggish and eating too less will not give you sufficient energy to stay active during the workout.

Have a good snack

Many people prefer to eat small snacks right before and during a workout. It is always good to do what feels comfortable for you within healthy norms. Snacks just before exercising will not give you an energy boost but they help maintain the blood sugar levels and prevent distracting you due to hunger pangs. You can choose healthy snacks like energy bars, yogurt, peanuts, almonds or light sandwiches with butter.

Eating after exercise

When you have a meal after your exercise, it helps your muscles recover. A meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of exercise is ideal. Healthy post-exercise meals include yogurt and fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, pasta with meatballs and chicken with brown rice.

Drink enough fluids

Keeping yourself hydrated before, during and after a workout is essential. It is recommended to drink at least two to three cups of water beforeee a workout and follow it with two to three cups after the workout.

Usually, the duration and the intensity of your workout determine what you should eat and drink and it differs from person to person.It always depends on how you feel during your workout as well as how well you can perform an exercise. The best guide is your body which can help you determine the kind of diet you should follow.

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Know All About Ear Infections

Usually a cold, throat infection or allergic  attack can cause fluids to become trapped in the middle ear. This mostly affects children and the symptoms may include severe pain in the ear or earache and thick yellow fluid coming out of the ears. This sort of condition is called as an ear infection.

What causes ear infection?

The middle ear is a small space that is positioned just behind the ear drum and it is supposed to be well ventilated by the air that passes through the Eustachian tube. When there is not enough fresh air ventilating the middle ear due to fluid retention there, then the Eustachian tube gets clogged, becomes damp, stagnant and warm, which is a good breeding ground for germs. This leads to ear infection.

Symptoms of ear infection

The symptoms may slightly differ in adults and children. The symptoms in adults include earache, drainage from the ear, and feeling of fullness in the ear, muffled hearing, and nausea.

In children the symptoms will be a tugging feeling in the ear, poor sleep, fever, ear drainage, irritability and restlessness, lack of appetite and crying when lying down.

How to prevent ear infection?

Ear infections tend to occur mostly in cold and damp weather like winter and rainy season. It is more common in children due to various possibilities of them catching it easily.

Here are a few tips to prevent ear infection in babies and children.

  • Babies who nurse should be breastfed or bottle-fed in an upright position, since it prevents fluids from entering their ear
  • Try to prevent exposing a baby to cigarette smoke and other air pollution
  • Give your child  immunization shots at the right time indicated
  • Babies above 12 months should be weaned away from baby pacifiers, since pacifiers can cause ear infections in children
  • Clean the child’s hand and our own hand often with soap and water. This reduces the spread of germs and our child from catching the flu or cold.
  • Try as far as possible to keep dirty objects away from a baby’s reach to prevent it from putting in the mouth and causing ear infection.

The Treatment

Ear infections in adults and children are treated with antibiotics. If the doctor suspects that the ear infection is caused due to a virus then an antibiotic may be ineffective and alternate treatment is given but if it is from bacteria then an antibiotic is prescribed as the main medication.

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