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

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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.

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

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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.

About 15% to 30% of medical students and residents suffer from depression

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Doctors are not healing angels and should not be blamed for patient deaths unduly

New Delhi, 11 October 2018: A study conducted by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) last year found that in Kerala doctors die approximately 10 to 12 years before the average person – in India, overall, this number stands at seven years before the average person. In early 2018, about six doctors checked into the psychiatric ward at AIIMS at the same time, even as the IMA has declared physician suicides ‘a public health crisis’.

Most doctors follow a 12-hour shift including teaching, mentoring, attending to patients, and doing research work. Some attend to about 400 patients a day in healthcare facilities, some of which lack even the basic amenities and infrastructure. All this and the guilt of not being able to give enough time to patients can result in burnout, alienation, diseases, and depression over time, all of which can lead to suicides.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Medical students often suffer from depression. Their training is extremely taxing and can take a toll on their mental and physical health. A student may have been a topper in school, but things change when they enter medical college. Not being able to score as well can also lead to depression after a point. It is estimated that about 15% to 30% of the medical students and residents suffer from depression. In a study, it was found that many students either contemplated suicide or attempted it! Many students resort to non-prescription drug use such as eating painkillers or antidepressants. For senior doctors, there is work stress, reputation at stake, and the inability to recognize the symptoms of depression or fatigue.”

Increasing physical assault on doctors by patients and their families is also on the rise. People hold doctors responsible for any eventuality without realizing that they are not healing angels. Lack of trust between patients and doctors is another major reason for suicides.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The cases of burnout are likely higher in female doctors due to the demands at both work and home. The number of specialists is limited, and hence they are subjected to more working hours and the nature of the jobs is demanding. With such a punishing workload, they may also end up taking the blame if something goes wrong or even become frustrated with the changing work culture. Addressing the doctor-patient ratio in India is, therefore, an urgent need of the hour.”

Here are some tips for doctors to avoid a possible burnout.

  • Practice smart work scheduling
  • Start a hobby which will help you distract yourself from the regular workload
  • Make time for relaxing techniques such as yoga and meditation, as these will prove to be stressbusters.
  • Make time for family and friends
  • Delegate tasks and try to manage your time effectively.

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