Sanitation and hygiene are part of preventive health; can ward off diseases such as Zika

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine No Comments

New cases reported in India; people should be aware of symptoms and measures

New Delhi, 14 October 2018: About 42 cases of a localized outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus disease (ZVD) have been reported in Jaipur, Rajasthan so far already. A seven-member high level central committee has been deputed to the city. The Zika virus–which has no cure or vaccine–was first found in Pune 64 years ago, as part of a survey that was testing immunity to Japanese and Russian varieties of a virus-borne brain infection called encephalitis.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae. It is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus. The symptoms of this disease are similar to those in other viral infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Dengue and Chikungunya are already endemic in the country. Like Dengue and Chikungunya, Zika is a viral infection and also shares a common vector with them, the Aedes mosquitoes. The incubation period is 3 to 14 days. Most people are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms such as fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. Symptoms generally last for 2–7 days. These new cases tell us that all this time, the Zika virus has been circulating in the community and suggest low-level transmission of the virus. There is also the likelihood of more cases occurring in the near future. This should be of great concern to all, especially the public health authorities given India’s huge population, and climate that is favorable to vector-borne diseases.”

Zika virus infection is also a trigger of Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy and myelitis, particularly in adults and older children.A pregnant woman can pass the virus to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as microcephaly.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Patients should be advised to take paracetamol to relieve fever and pain, plenty of rest and plenty of liquids. Avoid aspirin, products containing aspirin, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. While enhanced surveillance, community-based including at international airports and ports, to track cases of acute febrile illness is the need of the hour, creating public awareness about the disease including preventive measures should be the focus. At the same time, the public should be assured that there is no need to panic.”

Hygiene and sanitation are the cornerstones for preventing mosquito-borne disease such as Zika. This is also one aspect of preventive health, a topic that will be discussed widely in the 25thMTNL Perfect Health Mela 2018. The event will take place from 23rd to 27th October at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.

Some tips from HCFI

  • Stay inside when the Aedes are most active. They bite during the daytime, in the very early morning, and in the few hours before sunset.
  • Buildings with screens and air conditioning are safest.
  • Wear shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants when you go outside.
  • Ensure that rooms are fitted with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
  • Wear bug spray or cream that contains DEET or a chemical called picaridin.

Red line in a prescription indicates antibiotic; should be consumed under supervision

Health Care No Comments

Antibiotic misuse is becoming rampant in India and can prove detrimental to health

New Delhi, 13 October 2018: A recent study has indicated that clinicians prescribe antibiotics without an infection-related diagnosis nearly half of the time. About one in five prescriptions was provided without an in-person visit. Research also indicates that antibiotics are often prescribed for certain symptoms (such as a sore throat or cough) when they should not be. Most of these of illnesses are caused by viruses and therefore do not benefit from antibiotics, which only treat bacterial infections.

Misuse and overuse of antibiotics have made once easily treatable bacterial infections harder and often impossible to cure. The reason is that bacteria evolve rapidly to evade antibiotics, leading to drug resistance.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “When resistance occurs, the antibiotic loses its ability to control bacterial growth effectively even in therapeutic concentrations. At the rate which misuse continues in India, this phenomenon can turn back the clock on decades of progress in modern medicine and return us to a pre-antibiotic era. Use of third-generation antibiotics has risen. For the last many years, no research has been on for the discovery of newer classes of drugs. Some bacteria that have developed resistance include Salmonella, E. coli, Yersinia pestis, Klebsiella, Shigella,and Klebsiella. Another fact that people should be aware of is that when prescribed, one should ensure that the full course of an antibiotic is completed without skipping a dose.”

Other contributing factors to antibiotic resistance are unsupervised dumping of pharmaceutical waste, excessive use of last resort antibiotics, and overuse of antibiotics on farm animals. Common infections such as those of the urinary, gastrointestinal, and respiratory tract have become difficult to treat owing to growing resistance in bacteria causing them.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “As part of the 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela 2018, we at the Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), have taken up a campaign against misuse of antibiotics. This is in association with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). As part of the campaign, awareness will be raised on the fact that antibiotics are scheduled and toxic drugs that must be taken only on prescription by a health specialist.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Doctors should run a drug interaction programme for every new medication prescribedand alert the provider to serious interactions.
  • There is no way anyone can remember all the drug interactions.
  • EKGs should be run before prescribing many common antibiotics
  • Don’t take antibiotics unless you really need them. They are not indicated for colds or viral infections or bronchitis, where they are often misused and squandered.
  • Now you are not just fueling antibiotic resistance with unnecessary antibiotics, but you are risking death.
  • Remember penicillin and chloramphenicol have less side effects but still we do not take them unless a must then why self-prescribe more toxic latest antibiotics.
  • It is important to focus on preventing infections. For instance, be at least 3-feet away from someone who has a cough or cold.
  • Bacterial infections can be avoided by following proper handwashing techniques.
  • One should be careful in a healthcare setting as much as in a hospital. In a clinic with multiple patients, beware of the door knobs and bathroom seats. All these are potential sources of infection. Women should wipe off the toilet seat before use as it may carry a dry infection.
  • Doctors should ensure that antibiotics are written in bold or underlined with a red pen when prescriptions are given.
  • Farmers and food industry must stop using antibiotics routinely to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.
  • Always look for a Red Line mark in the medicine you buy, the red alert indicates that it is an antibiotic

Navratri is a time to let go of all desires and adopt a healthier lifestyle

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India No Comments

Undertake fasting during this period after considering your health and associated conditions such as diabetes

New Delhi, 12 October 2018: The Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) wishes all its readers a very happy navratri. In the Hindu tradition, the process of spiritual Yagna starts from the first day of Navratri on Amavasya and ends up on Diwali, again on Amavasya. The first 10 days involve intense spiritual practice and the rest 20 days entail receiving its benefits.It is imperative for those observing this yagna and a fast to ensure that they do so without harming their health.

The first nine days, called Navratri are devoted to a process of purification and detoxification of mind, body and soul. During this period a person is required to lead a Satwik spiritual life devoting first three days into activities, which reduces negativity in the mind and the body; the next three days he is supposed to indulge in positive behavior and happenings and in the last three days he is supposed to read and learn about spiritual positive things in life.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Fast does not mean ‘not eating’ but rather controlling the desires and simultaneously cultivating positive mental attitudes. Fast therefore can be of many types. Food fast means controlling the desires for food items which you otherwise may not resist to eat. Eye fast means, not watching things which are Rajsic in nature. Ear fast means avoiding listening to Rajsic (stimulating) music. Action fast means not indulging into activities which stimulates and creates Rajsic thoughts in the mind, and speech fast means not speaking anything evil, etc.After the nine days of self-discipline is complete, the person acquires inner happiness which is nothing but one’s exposure or appointment with the true self or the consciousness (Rama). That is what Dussehra is with killing of Tamas (Kumbhakarana), Rajas (Meghnath) and ego (Ravana).”

Patients with type 1 diabetes should not fast. In general, people living with diabetes should not end fast immediately if their blood sugar level falls below 60 mg.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. Body detoxification involves eating a diet devoid of cereals. Wheat flour is replaced with Kuttu or Singhara flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice. Kuttu is extremely rich in protein and an excellent substitute for people who are allergic to gluten.”

The Navaratri season will also lead up to the 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela to be organized between 23rd and 27th October 2018 at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi. The event is a rich amalgamation of education and entertainment and is for everyone from children to professionals.

HCFI tips for fasting

  • Plan your diet especially if you have medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Do not skip your medication schedule. Keep a healthy snack handy for those cravings.
  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water, coconut water, green tea, buttermilk, and lime juice. Avoid aerated drinks.
  • Avoid gorging on salty ‘snacks.’ Eat something that is boiled or roasted instead.
  • Use rock salt in your food instead of usual salt as it helps in better mineral absorption. It is also beneficial for those who have high or low blood pressure.
  • Eat lighter meals as these can aid digestion.
  • For dessert, you can try eating dates or fruit yogurt. Also, add honey instead of sugar.
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

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