Advice for the public on Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

covid 19 imageThere are detailed instructions in various websites. We are focusing on three important areas where specific guidelines have been issued by WHO and CDC. These are as follows:

(a)Myths and incorrect information: Myth busters

(b)When and how to use masks

(c)Disinfecting your home if someone is sick.

Few facts

  • The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.
  • To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
  • By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
  • Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

Myth busters

COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates

  • From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather.
  • Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19.

Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.

  • There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases.
  • The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather.
  • Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19.
  • Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you.

The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.

  • To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes.

Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

  • Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV.
  • Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?

  • Coronavirus disease UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation

How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?

  • Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.
  • However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?

  • Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body.
  • Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth).
  • Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?

  • Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.
  • The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.
  • Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

  • There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.
  • There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

  • Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.

Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?

  • People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
  • WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?

  • No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.
  • The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
  • However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

  • To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
  • However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.

When and how to use masks

  • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

How to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask

  • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Disinfecting your home if someone is sick

As part of your everyday prevention actions clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects. For example: tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles.

Wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect.

Clean

  • Clean surfaces using soap and water.Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
  • High touch surfaces include:Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.

Disinfect

  • Use diluted household bleach solutionsif appropriate for the surface. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructionsfor application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
  • To make a bleach solution, mix:

5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach in 5 liters of water

  • Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
  • Household cleaners and disinfectants:Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use a household disinfectant.
  • Follow the instructions on the labelto ensure safe and effective use of the product.

Many products recommend:

  • Keeping the surface wet for several minutes to ensure germs are killed.
  • Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Soft surfaces

  • For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes
  • Clean the surface using soap and wateror with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces.
  • Launder items(if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.

Laundry

  • For clothing, towels, linens and other items
  • Wear disposable gloves.
  • Wash hands with soap and wateras soon as you remove the gloves.
  • Do not shakedirty laundry.
  • Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water settingand dry items completely.
  • Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampersaccording to guidance above for surfaces.

Clean hands often

  • Wash your hands oftenwith soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Always wash immediately after removing gloves and after contact with an ill person.
  • Hand sanitizer:If soap and water are not readily available and hands are not visibly dirty, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.

Additional key times to clean hands include:

  • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After using the restroom
  • Before eating or preparing food
  • After contact with animals or pets
  • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Food

  • Stay separated:The ill person should eat (or be fed) in their room if possible.
  • Wash dishes and utensils using gloves and hot water:Handle any non-disposable used food service items with gloves and wash with hot water or in a dishwasher.
  • Clean hands after handling used food service items.

Trash

  • Dedicated, lined trash can:If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the ill person.Use gloves when removing garbage bags, and handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands afterwards.

References

Author –

Col(Dr.) Partha Roy (Retd.)

HOD & Senior Consultant Microbiology and Virology

MBBS, MD, Ph.D in Molecular Virology

Dr Partha Roy

 

Suffering from Insomnia? Here are 5 ways to treat it!

Blog-Image_1_24th-AugInsomnia is irritating and it kind of makes you groggy! If you have trouble sleeping, here are some tips to prevent insomnia and have a sound, deep sleep!

  1. Exercise – To have a great sleep, sweat it out! Hit the gym in the morning or go for a jog in the evening, so that your body gets tired and you go to sleep immediately! The best recommended time to exercise is 4-5 hours before sleep. Remember not to work out too much during this hour, but opt for cycling, brisk walking or even basic yoga asanas, as they can help you have a sound sleep at night.
  2. Avoid coffee and nicotine – Refrain from caffeine and nicotine, especially during bedtime, as they can block certain sleep-inducing chemicals, and can make you awake all night! Also, if you are an avid smoker, try not to smoke during bedtime, as it can affect your sleeping pattern.
  3. Check your medications – Your medicines might be the culprit behind your sleep! Thyroid medication, antidepressants and other drugs can interfere with your sleep. Check with your doctor before you start any new medicine as they can have an impact on your sleeping cycle.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight – Your sleep-related hormone levels get disturbed if you are overweight, and you can develop major sleep-related issues due to that.
  5. Manage stress – Stress can be a major reason for insomnia, find ways to manage your stress, so that you can enjoy a peaceful sleep. You can either join a yoga class or do meditation on your own to relax your mind. Don’t let stress keep you up at nights!

Insomnia can take a major toll on your health, so don’t take it lightly! Consult a doctor if the problem still persists, as there could be other numerous reasons behind your sleepless nights!  Take care and sleep well!

 

5 Simple Tricks To Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

Blog-Image_2_24th-Sep (1)Kidney diseases are becoming a major health concern worldwide.

Millions of people are affected with chronic kidney diseases, living a difficult and dreadful life.

Let’s know some ways which can help us prevent kidney-related diseases!

  1. Keep your blood sugar level under check –

If you have diabetes, your chances of having kidney diseases get doubled. Almost half of the people with diabetes develop kidney damage, but it can be reduced or prevented if detected early. Therefore, it’s imperative to keep a check on your blood sugar levels and visit your doctor regularly!

  1. Drink enough water –

Your doctor is not wrong when he recommends you 8/9 glasses of water per day. Consuming plenty of water helps your kidneys clear the toxins, urea and sodium from the body. Make sure you meet your daily water requirement to keep your kidneys healthy!

  1. Be physically active –

Being obese increases your chance of diabetes and high blood pressure, which are the leading risk factors for kidney diseases. Therefore, move and don’t be static, if you want to keep your kidneys in healthy shape. Being physically inactive can also cause other major diseases like, hypertension, heart diseases, diabetes, etc.

  1. Take kidney-friendly medicines –

Excessive consumption of painkillers and other drugs such as Ibuprofen is not healthy for your kidneys! Ensure that you take drugs which are prescribed by your doctor! However, using some medicines only in case of emergencies is okay, but not on a regular basis!

  1. Say no to smoking and alcohol –

If you think smoking is just harming your lungs, and alcohol is just harming your liver, you are highly mistaken. Excess of smoking and alcohol are worse for the kidneys! It’s better to stay away from these, if you want healthy kidneys!

Keeping your kidneys healthy is crucial for your overall well-being! 

To ensure you have healthy kidneys, you can also avail Oncquest’s health tests at the comfort of your home! Get samples collected from your doorstep at your preferred time! Take care!

World Heart Day: Your Guide To A Healthy Heart

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Your heart is the most vital organ that pumps blood throughout the body!

This World Heart Day, take proper care of your heart’s health and embark on a heart-healthy journey!

  1. Watch What You Eat

Satiating your taste buds is definitely important, but not at the cost of your health! Make sure you eat a healthy diet for a healthy heart! Reduce your fat and cholesterol intake and incorporate fruits and veggies in your diet for better heart health.

  1. On Your Mark, Get Set….Walk!

Every step you take is beneficial for your heart! According to reports, walking briskly has also said to lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.  Try to get your heart rate over 100 in a day for at least 45minutes, or try to walk at least 10,000 steps daily.

  1. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Sleeping

You should at least get 8 hours of sleep at night to avoid heart diseases. If you are not getting this recommended amount of sleep, your heart rate becomes fast and blood pressure becomes high, therefore sleeping is vital to avoid the risk of heart diseases and heart attack.

  1. Know Your Numbers

From blood pressure to blood glucose, and cholesterol levels to waist size, you should know all your numbers, starting from age 20! You can talk to your doctor about your numbers and know your risk factors, take time to understand these numbers and act upon it!

Extend your heart’s life by following these simple tips! To know the exact status of your heart, you can also avail Oncquest’s Fitness Health Package at half the market price! This will give you a detailed overview of your heart! Not just this, you can easily view your reports online and get samples collected from your doorstep!

Give your heart the care it deserves!

5 Healthy Foods To Incorporate In Your Diet

HealthyFoods

 

Eating healthy is one of the nicest things you can do to your body!

Here we bring some foods which you should incorporate into your diet for amazing health benefits!

  1. Avocados

Avocados are loaded with healthy fats and have majestic benefits! Apart from being tasty, they are also rich in fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Consuming avocados not only help in lowering cholesterol, but also help in reducing arthritis pain.

If you don’t like the taste of avocado, you can add it to your smoothie for its amazing health benefits. Or you can also spread it over your toast.

  1. Papaya

Though this orange coloured fruit is not everyone’s favourite, but it has some amazing health benefits.  Researchers also believe that raw papaya helps in maintaining blood sugar level and cholesterol.

You can start your day with this healthy fruit.  Or you can also add a pinch of salt over it for better taste.

  1. Yogurt

Yogurt is delicious as well as nutritious! If you are struggling with digestive issues, yogurt is the option you need to go for! It contains beneficial bacteria which improve nutrient absorption and enhance digestion. They are also believed to stop the growth of harmful bacteria.

You can add yogurt on your sandwich instead of butter, or you can also try a yummy tart, including berries and yogurt!

  1. Brown Rice

Majority of us go for white rice instead of brown, but brown rice has numerous health benefits compared to white. It helps in normalizing cholesterol levels & weight reduction! Also, it has lesser calories than polished white rice.

If you don’t like the taste of it, you can put some sauce over it, and enjoy its benefits!

  1. Apples

The old saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is so true, because apples are high in fiber and other numerous antioxidants.

Carry an apple in your bag while you are at work, or you can also add it in your salad.

Make these foods a part of your daily or weekly nutritional regimen! Your body will thank you later!

Ways To Prevent Viral Infections This Season

Viral Infections

Air-borne, water-borne and mosquito-borne diseases are rampant in this season, and everyone should take proper precautions to avoid getting sick in this season!

Here we bring you some of the ways which can help prevent these viral infections:

  1. Check the water you are drinking! Go for clean, boiled water and avoid drinking regular water from cafes or anywhere you go to hang out with friends next!
  2. Always keep your mouth and nose covered with a handkerchief while sneezing.
  3. Avoid eating out as much as possible. Your body needs fresh food during this season. No matter how much you crave for pakoras and junk food, try to avoid it for some time and eat healthy!
  4. Wear full sleeves clothes as there are chances of Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya in this season, and these mosquitoes bite only during day time.
  5. If you are traveling, don’t compromise with your health. Carry a hand sanitizer wherever you go.

Prevention Tips for Kids

  1. Don’t let your child get wet in these rains, as it contains acidic elements which can make your child get sick.
  2. If any child in your neighbourhood is sick, don’t let your child play with him/her till he/she fully recovers, as viruses can spread easily this season.
  3. Keep the nails of your little ones clean to avoid the accumulation of dirt.
  4. Ensure that your child doesn’t eat from roadside this season.

If you or your loved one still catches viral infections, make sure to visit a doctor! A simple blood test can tell if you have a virus or a bacterial infection. You can also avail Oncquest’s health tests for the right treatment.  The best thing is – you can easily get your samples collected at your doorstep and view the reports online. Oncquest’s hassle-free, easy and convenient service is what you should go for to keep yourself healthy this season!

Viral fever, throat infections, cold and cough are common in this season. No need to panic, take all possible measures, and if you still get sick, visit a doctor. 

 

Myths and Facts About Hepatitis C

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Hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. According to WHO, an estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection, globally.

This World Hepatitis Day, let’s clear out all the myths and know the real facts about Hep C!

  1. Myth – You know if you have Hep C

Fact – You can have Hep C and not know about it

Since there are hardly any early signs of Hep C, people who have this infection might not know that they have it. People usually discover it when they have severe illness like liver disease and kidney problems.

  1. Myth – There’s a vaccine for Hepatitis C

Fact – There’s NO vaccine for Hepatitis C

People assume that there is a vaccine for Hepatitis C, but in reality, there isn’t one developed as of now.  Though, there are vaccines for Hepatitis A and B, but not for Hep C.

If you or someone you know has Hep C, getting tested and vaccinated for Hep A and B is recommended by experts, as Hep A and B along with Hep C can increase your chances of getting sick.

  1. Myth – Hepatitis is an STD

Fact – It is not a sexually transmitted disease

If you are in contact with an infected person’s blood, then you can get the virus. In very rare case, Hepatitis C is spread through sexual contact. It’s not an STD, and doesn’t spread through fluids like semen and saliva. The virus in these fluids is found in very small amounts, the main reason is blood to blood contact with the infected person.

  1. Myth – Hep C is a death sentence

Fact – Hep C is NOT a death sentence

According to HCVAdvocate.org, 90% of people living with chronic Hep C would have long and productive lives. Only a small percentage would develop some serious liver disease. To manage the virus, it is imperative to go to your doctor for the regular monitoring.

Don’t jump to conclusions when it comes to Hepatitis C! Know all the facts and keep everyone around informed!

Tips To Manage Joint Pains During Monsoon

Blog-image (1)Some people can sense that monsoon is coming because of the pain in their joints.  Although, it sounds strange but weather does really influence joint pain.

The fluctuation in weather can lead to stiffness in the muscles, and can aggravate the pain in the joints. Not only old people, but young people with sedentary lifestyle can also experience severe discomfort in their joints during monsoon.

Here are some tips to prevent these aches and pains:

  1. Exercise – The best way to keep joint pains at bay is through exercise. Regular exercise like walking, jogging can quickly give you relief from joint pains.
  2. Stretch at work – Even if your job involves sitting at desk all day long, don’t forget to get up and walk a few steps, every 50minutes. Since, offices are fully air-conditioned, and such cool environments can also increase the pain. Make sure you get up and move; or you can also do some easy yoga poses at your desk, to prevent pain these monsoons.
  3. Avoid heels – Women who face discomfort in the joints should strictly avoid wearing heels and improper footwear in this season as it can further intensify the pain.
  4. Consume foods rich in Vitamin D and calcium – Cheese, spinach, milk are the superfoods for your joints. Avoid alcohol and smoking, and consume these foods for a healthier life!

Here are some tips for people with Arthritis:

Monsoon can be worse for people suffering with arthritis. It is advisable to go for light and easy food during this time of the year. And messaging with herbal oil can also help to get rid of the pain.

But it the pain doesn’t go away, do consult a doctor as they can help you the best.

Don’t let any pain stop you from enjoying these rains. Take utmost care of yourself and have a happy, pain-free monsoon!

5 Easy Ways To Stay Healthy This Monsoon

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Monsoon is everyone’s favourite, because it provides respite from the severe summer heat. But, unfortunately, it also brings with it a host of diseases!

Following are some preventive measures you can take to stay healthy this season:

  1. Take a shower as soon as you reach home after getting soaked in rain – If you get drenched in rain, it’s important to take a hot shower, to get rid of the germs. Also, avoid entering in an air-conditioned room when you are wet, as you can easily get cold and cough with the change in temperature.
  2. Avoid eating street food – We all crave for hot pakoras and spicy street food in these rains, but the chances of these foods being contaminated are higher in this season. Street food can wait, but your health can’t. So, avoid these foods if you want to enjoy the rains in the best of your health!
  3. Keep your house clean – Viral infections like malaria, dengue, typhoid and cholera are rampant during this season. So, keep your house clean and pest-free, and replace the broken drainpipes as they are the breeding ground for germs.
  4. Wash your hands frequently – We all struggle with seasonal flus and cold at this time of the weather. Therefore, it’s important to wash hands before/after we eat to prevent diseases and infections.
  5. Keep yourself hydrated – Staying hydrated is the solution for all your health problems; as it builds up your resistance to fight infections. Drink at least 10 glasses of water and avoid tea, coffee if you can, and switch to green tea/juices to stay healthy.

If you still get ill even after following all the preventive measures, don’t hesitate to visit a doctor for the treatment! You can also avail Oncquest’s health tests to stay protected against these common monsoon diseases like Dengue, Malaria, Chikungunya, Diarrhea and Typhoid.

Stay safe and have a happy monsoon!

Simple Tips To Keep Your Heart Healthy!

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Today’s desk jobs, sedentary lifestyle and workplace pressures escalate stress levels, taking a toll on one’s heart. Not only old people, but youngsters are also prone to these heart diseases.

Here we bring some simple tips to make your heart happier & healthier!

  1. Quit Smoking – This has to be the first step towards a healthier heart! The risk of heart disease reduces by 50 percent, as soon as one quits smoking. WHO also reports that the risk of coronary heart disease in non-smokers is about half that of a smoker’s.  So, before you pick that next cigarette, remind yourself of all the health risks associated with it. It’s high time you take your health seriously!
  2. Watch your weight – Being overweight can double your risk of heart diseases. So, get up, move a little – take stairs instead of lifts, stick to a healthy, balanced diet and be physically active. Don’t lose those extra kilos for anyone but you; your heart will thank you later!
  3. Don’t sit for too long – Sitting for long hours at one place can increase your risk of various diseases, including heart ailments. Even if your job involves sitting all day, don’t forget to get up and go for a walk every hour.
  4. Get enough sleep – No matter what your age is, getting enough sleep is the key to keep your heart healthy! 7-8 hours of sleep is imperative to keep all cardiovascular diseases at bay!
  5. Look after your mental health – Depression is not taken seriously in our country, but the truth is that people with depression have a higher chance of heart diseases. Therefore, look after your mental health, if you feel stressed, talk to your family/friends. Don’t let depression become a threat to your health.

Take care of yourself and let your heart be happy!