Prevention is better than cure in the monsoon season

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Children and elderly should take special care as they are low in immunity

New Delhi, 30 June 2018: It is that time of the year again when monsoons hit the National Capital. With the monsoon, varsha ritu starts in India. In Ayurveda, it is the time for aggravation of Vata or the movement functions in the body. While this is a time to rejoice, it is also imperative to take certain precautions, especially in children, failing which they can become susceptible to a host of diseases and infections.

Monsoon is the time when the adage ‘Prevention is better than cure’ should apply to one and all. Mosquito borne diseases like dengue, malaria and chikungunya are dreaded by all parents. Large number of children have been affected by dengue in the last few years.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Monsoon is welcome by all but comes with lots of diseases as the immunity of the body is reduced. The diseases associated with monsoon are malaria, dengue, Chikungunya, jaundice, gastrointestinal infections like typhoid and cholera. Apart from these, viral infections like cold and cough are also common. Children and elderly are low in immunity and are therefore more susceptible. The water that gets collected due to rain becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Contamination of drinking water is common. It is important to drink clean and pure water to prevent diarrhea and gastrointestinal infections. Worms from underground comes to the surface and contaminate the surface vegetables. In the presence of weak digestive fire, this can cause gastric disturbances. It is because of this reason that community lunches and marriage are prohibited in this season.”

Monsoon fever can be deceptive. Most diseases are self–limiting and take 4 to 7 days to resolve. The basic precaution involves proper hydration, especially on the days when fever is subsiding. However, any fever with associated comorbid conditions should not be ignored and the doctor should be consulted.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Walking in dirty water during rainy season leads to numerous fungal infections, which affect toes and nails. Diabetic patients must take care of infections that affect toes and nails. They should always keep the feet dry and clean. Avoid walking in dirty water. Precautions must also be taken to prevent dampness and growth of fungus (mold) on and around the house were asthmatic patients are living. Avoid fumigation in case of asthmatic patients.

Some tips from HCFI

  • Abdominal complaints are common in this season. Eat light food as the GI system of the body cannot digest heavy food.
  • Do not eat leafy vegetables without washing or boiling as they may be contaminated with eggs of round worms. Beware of eating snacks at some outside stall.
  • Beware of electrical deaths in this season as the coolers without earthing can leak electricity
  • Do not walk barefooted as most worms can come out and cause the infection. Do not keep wet clothes and leather without proper drying them as they may attract fungus.
  • With each shower of rain, the BP may fluctuate so medications must be revisited.
  • Do not play in stagnant water as rat urine mixed with rain water may produce lactosyrosis (fever with jaundice)
  • Do not let water accumulate in the house or surrounding areas. Drink only boiled or safe water as there are more chances of diarrhea, jaundice, and typhoid in this season.

Proper hygiene and safe sexual practices can help avoid UTI

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Pregnant women should be particularly careful

New Delhi, 29th June 2018: A new study has indicated that the bladder not only contains bacteria, but the microbes therein are similar to those found in the vagina. This could lead to improved diagnostic tests and treatments for urinary tract infections (UTIs). The study found that the microbial sharing between the vaginal and bladder microbiota includes pathogens such as E. coli and S. Anginosus as well as beneficial bacteria such as L. Iners and L. Crispatus.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system — kidneys, ureters, bladders and urethra. Most infections attack the lower urinary tract, which is the bladder and urethra. More than 50% women experience UTI at least once in their lifetime and nearly 30% to 40% of these infections relapse within six months.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), said, “In women, the proximity of the urethra and anus facilitate easy passage of the bacteria into the urinary tract. About 75% to 90% of bladder infections occur in young and sexually active women. UTI is also very common in newly married women and is sometimes referred to as ‘Honeymoon cystitis’. Pregnant women must be more careful not to acquire this infection. This is because the high levels of progesterone decrease the muscle tone of the ureters and bladder, which in turn can lead to reflux, where urine flows back up the ureters and towards the kidneys. Such an infection can increase complications and even lead to premature birth or pre-eclampsia.”

Some common symptoms of UTI are a strong urge to urinate, burning sensation while urinating, passing frequent, small amounts of urine, cloudy urine, a sign of blood in the urine, strong smelling urine and pelvic pain in women.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “In males, UTI is very rare, especially below the age of 50. Some reasons for this condition in men include prostatitis, epididymitis, orchitis, pyelonephritis, cystitis, urethritis, and urinary catheters. However, a proper diagnosis must be done as sexually transmitted disease in males can have symptoms similar to UTI.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Pass urine immediately after a sexual intercourse. Apart from this, keep a check on the kind of underwear you use.
  • Maintain proper personal hygiene after urinating or defecating. Consult a doctor immediately in case of any recurrent symptoms.
  • Drinking cranberry juice has been thought to help decrease frequent infections. This is particularly true for women. Cranberries are known to contain substances that can prevent infection-causing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls.
  • Make sure you are adequately hydrated and drink at least 7 to 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Choose lubricated condoms that do not contain spermicide. Spermicide can cause irritation and allow the bacteria to grow.

A significant percentage of Indian population still at risk for malaria infection

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Concerted efforts needed to achieve targeted elimination of the disease by 2030

New Delhi, 28th June 2018: A recent research has found that the immune cells called natural killer (NK) cells may be used to develop future malaria vaccines. NK cells are found among people living in areas where the parasite is common. The team identified a molecule that was essential for activation of NK cells in response to malaria-infected blood cells. PfEMP1 is crucial for activating NK cells in a manner dependent on antibodies.

More than 90% of India’s population is at the risk of a malaria infection, as compared to Bangladesh at 11% and Nepal at 48%. According to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, last year, there were 840, 838 cases of malaria in India, while 103 people died due to the disease.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), said, “India is a malaria endemic country. The reported malaria cases in the country last year have declined by 23% compared to 2016, yet India still accounts for 87% of malaria cases in the South Asia region. Also, as per the World Malaria Report, India has among the weakest malaria surveillance systems globally, with only 8% of cases detected by the surveillance system. Malaria is entirely a preventable disease. It is also a treatable disease provided it is diagnosed and treated in time. The symptoms of malaria are non-specific and can be variable. Thus, it may be mistaken for other diseases such as viral infections, typhoid and the diagnosis of malaria may be missed as a result.”

The WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria has set a target of reducing malaria case incidence by at least 90%, reducing malaria mortality rates by at least 90%, eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries and preventing a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “There is still a long road ahead before the goal of elimination of malaria throughout the country by 2030 is achieved. The ‘T3’ initiative of the WHO Global Malaria Program supports malaria-endemic countries in their efforts to achieve universal coverage with diagnostic testing and antimalarial treatment, as well as in strengthening their malaria surveillance systems T3 stands for Test. Treat. Track: every suspected malaria case should be tested; every confirmed case should be treated with a quality-assured antimalarial medicine; and the disease should be tracked through a timely and accurate surveillance system.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Malaria mosquitoes grow in fresh water collected in the house. It is therefore important to not let water stagnate in your house and the surrounding areas. Mosquito cycle takes 7-12 days to complete. So, if any utensil or container that stores water is cleaned properly once in a week, there are no chances of mosquito breeding.
  • Mosquitoes can lay eggs in money plant pots or in water tanks on the terrace if they are not properly covered. If the water pots for birds kept on terraces are not cleaned every week, then mosquitoes can lay eggs in them.
  • Using mosquito nets/repellents in the night may not prevent malaria because these mosquitoes bite during the day time.
  • Malaria mosquitoes do not make a sound. Therefore, mosquitoes that do not produce a sound do not cause diseases.
  • Wearing full sleeves shirt and trousers can prevent mosquito bites. Mosquito repellent can be helpful during the day.

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