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Health & Wellness

Boosting immunity with natural care-based healing

Utilising new era healing system, a Delhi-based company, founded by Kamayani Naresh, eliminates the root cause of disorders in the body by using food and herbal supplements. Naresh reveals protocols for prevention of Covid-19.

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Zyropathy is a new indigenously developed health system that believes that the human body is made of food and hence only food has the ability to repair it. It also believes that everybody has a doctor within which is immunity and its role is a day to day maintenance and repair. The Delhibased company uses a combination of supplements and Zyro naturals made from extracts of herbs and plants to repair the human body and its organs without any side effects by enhancing immunity and providing the essentials deficient in the body.

 Zyropathy believes that the main function of immunity is to protect the body from external aggression and internal disorders. To perform its functions optimally immunity ought to be strong and must possess the required essentials to produce desired antibodies. This system of medicine uses a combination of supplements and zyro naturals to boost immunity and provide protection against Coronavirus.

Coronavirus is now part of our habitat. It will, therefore, enter everybody and if immunity is strong it will kill the virus else the person will be infected with Corona. Thus, everyone will require sustained immunity forever here-in-after, believes Kamayani Naresh, founder of Zyropathy.

Naresh says, “Zyropathy has three protocols for prevention and one protocol for the cure of Coronavirus. Prevention Protocol-1 is for people staying at home and going out or interacting with few outsiders. Prevention Protocol-2 is for those working in administrative service interacting with a large number of people but in a less dense Corona environment. Prevention Protocol-3 is for hospital staff working in a high Corona dense environment. Corona Reversion Protocol is a 10-day program for Corona positive patients to revert to Corona Negative. We have treated and successfully cured Corona-positive patients with mild symptoms.”

The former Navy officer mentions that the effectiveness of Corona vaccine is under suspicion because of the relapse of Covid-19 in patients. The antibodies generated last for a shorter duration and hence raise doubts about its long term effectiveness. Although many countries are claiming to have succeeded in producing the vaccine for Coronavirus its usefulness is in doubt.

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Health & Wellness

A HANDY GUIDE TO BEAT THE HEAT

It’s wise to be prepared for the hot days and scorching temperatures. And to help you with that, nutritionists share tips to cool down your body and mind this summer.

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The summer season is here and the mercury is going to rise rapidlywith passing days. The heat can affect your body in various ways and lead to heat stroke and other health issues. So, it becomes crucial to take care of yourself, be mindful of your food and water intake. Consume summer foods and drinks which are hydrating, electrolyte-rich, and cooling for the digestive system. Curd, onions, mint, watermelon, cucumber, fenugreek and coconut water are some of the best options when it comes to summer foods. The nutritionists share how you can keep your body hydrated and mind fresh in the hot weather. Celebrity & Sports Nutritionist Ryan Fernando says staying hydrated is the key. “Consume fruit-infused water and green tea lemonade. To prepare the fruit-infused water cut the orange, strawberry, papaya, mosambi, watermelon, apple or pears into cubes or slices and mix it in two litres of chilled water and leave it for some time as the fruit infuses its flavour into the water and you can enjoy better-tasting water. Green tea lemonade is a concoction of concentrated green tea mixed with sweet or salty iced lemonade. Don’t forget to add watermelon and cucumber to your diet as these have high water content,” he mentions.

Talking about how ACs impact air’s humidity, Ryan points out, “During summer, people use AC but it strips the air of all its humidity and water content. If you are in a room with the AC on and a humidifier is measuring the humidity, it will be below 40% but when the AC is not on it will be 60%. So when you sleep or work in an AC room, you are losing valuable water from your body. During the day if you are sitting with the AC on, keep a water bottle or jug near you to stay hydrated. Before sleeping keep a water bottle at the bedside table to sip from it in case you get up in the night or have a glass of water before going to bed. Also, you can keep a wet towel or use a humidifier to ensure higher water content in the room.”

SIMPLE WAYS TO INCREASE FLUID INTAKE

Staying hydrated with busy schedules is tough. We all know we need to drink more water but how much is enough? What if you don’t like the taste of water? Celebrity Dietician Shweta Shah replies, “The temperature is rising and you may be tempted with ice creams, sodas, juices but infused water with herbs, fruits, spices is a much healthier way to cool down your body. Detox water is not merely about good taste it’s much more than that. They not only energise you but helps in lifting mood, detoxify, and cleanse toxins. Lemon, mint, fennel, apple, cinnamon, cucumber, celery are some popular detox waters to beat the heat in busy schedules.”

Clinical Nutritionist Dr Megha Jaina believes it’s very important to keep yourself hydrated during summer as it can keep you mentally cool and physically refreshed. She says, “You can drink water-based beverages with every meal. It is recommended to consume fluids before you feel thirsty. Adding a slice of lemon to water may improve your immune system and promotes hydration.”

Dr Megha shares two healthy, easy and refreshing summer drinks:

Melon & Grape juice

Melon has a high content of water, which helps in hydrating our body.

Black Grapes are known for their antioxidants content.

Take one cup of muskmelon cubes, one cup of black grapes and two cups of water. Blend till smooth and the drink is ready.

Detoxifying Green Smoothie

Take one-third cup of spinach leaves, one apple, half teaspoon roasted jeera powder, juice of half lemon and one glass of water. Grind all and the drink is ready.

TIPS TO NATURALLY BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY

With the surge in Covid-19 cases, you should continue working towards strengthening your immunity. Whole food nutritionist Kajal Bhatia tells us some of the immunity-boosting foods you can have in summer. She says immunity and micronutrients are closely linked as they build gut strength and that’s what is needed for the body this summer. Kajal adds, “Increase the intake of plant foods especially antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables in their whole form or smoothies, chutneys, salads dips etc. Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C are great immunity boosters such as mangoes, grapes, papaya, kiwis, and dark green leafies especially spinach, lemons, bell peppers, and broccoli (if you don’t prefer taking broccoli raw saute or steam it).”

She emphasises increased liquid intake and consumption of fermented kanji and kombucha which are mineral-rich probiotic boosters. Foods rich in zinc and magnesium including sprouts, nuts, and seeds should be included in the diet.

Holistic nutritionist and founder of Saurasya Teas Vriti Srivastav, shares simple ways to boost immunity this summer :

Hydration: The very first step is to stay hydrated which most people struggle to keep up. In this pandemic time, we don’t want our organs to focus more on surviving in a dehydrated body than working on immunity. Drink at least 10 to 12 glasses of water. Also, prepare kadhas made from natural herbs and spices to boost immunity.

Eat natural to strengthen the gut: Your gut influences your immunity, emotional well-being, hormones and hence overall health. Consume a wide variety of nutrients by including colourful vegetables and fruits along with whole grains and pulses. The need for supplements arises today as all the processed foods and irregular lifestyle has hampered the absorption of nutrients in the gut. Squeeze fresh lime on your meals to add a dose of vitamin C. Give the gut a break from digestion by having an early dinner by 8 pm.

Here’s my mantra to a strong gut: fixed meal timings, eat natural, balance sleep-wake cycle, meditate and chant, exercise, hydrate, and include fibre.

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Health & Wellness

ACUPUNCTURE FOR DIABETES: DEMYSTIFYING MYTHS AND FEARS

Dr Srividya Nandkumar

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An insulin disorder that affects over 450 million people across the world, Diabetes Mellitus is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In India alone, over 70 million people are estimated to be living with diabetes. Poor disease management and ineffective blood sugar control is a major risk factor for a series of life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular, strokes and renal disease. In fact, diabetes is a major cause of vision loss, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and amputations. Worrisomely, the incidence of this lifestyle disorder has grown tremendously over the past three decades largely due to unhealthy lifestyles, increasing consumption of processed foods and a dramatic drop in physical activity.

Naturopathic interventions such as diet management, yoga, lifestyle alterations and acupuncture can play a significant role in controlling the diabetes pandemic. Adopting a naturopathic way of life not only helps patients keep their blood sugar level under control, but also help them reduce their dosage of allopathic drugs.

Acupunture as a diabetes control intervention

The widely used alternative healing practice of acupuncture dates back to more than 3500 years. This ancient Chinese practice is based on the belief that life energy also known as qi flows through our bodies through certain pathways, thereby regulating health and vitality. When the flow of this vital energy is obstructed due to some reason, the body experiences diseases. Acupuncture uses the practice of inserting pins and needles on strategic points on the body to remove the obstruction and revive the flow of energy through our organs. There are around 1000 acupuncture points in the human body. 

Acupuncture is an effective therapy for diabetes, especially for type 2 diabetics. It helps regulate pancreatic function and control blood sugar levels in the body. The result is better glycemic control and improved overall health. A study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicines in 2019 found that when administered along with metformin drug, acupuncture treatment helped significantly reduce levels of both FPG and HbA1c – two critical diabetes indicators – in patients. The study, therefore, recommended the use of acupuncture as an adjuvant therapy among Type 2 diabetics. 

Mainly two types of acupuncture practices are used to treat diabetes — electroacupuncture and wrist-ankle treatment. The former is the most common form of treatment in which needles are pierced at trigger points. Then a low-frequency electrical variation is transferred from one needle to another that helps fight insulin resistance. Wrist-ankle treatment is most effective in bringing down the sugar levels and focuses on deep stimulation of the trigger points. 

However, several myths and misconceptions about acupuncture prevent many people from receiving its benefits. We demystify some common myths related to acupuncture here.

1. It’s painful

The mere thought of needles being pierced into the skin leaves many people petrified, but acupuncture isn’t as painful as you think it to be. The needles used for acupuncture are very thin and you feel very little or almost no discomfort while they are inserted. Many patients don’t even realise when the needles are being pierced into their body. 

2. Doctors don’t recommend this 

The World Health Organization and National Institutes of Health have recognised acupuncture as an effective therapy for treating not just pain but also several other conditions like diabetes. A number of modern medicine practitioners also prescribe acupuncture as an adjuvant therapy along with the regular medicines particularly to patients displaying poor glycemic control. A number of studies have found acupuncture to be effective in controlling blood sugar levels.

3. It has side effects 

Acupuncture is absolutely safe when performed by a certified acupuncture practitioner. Side effects are almost negligible or only minor such as soreness, minor bleeding in some cases or dizziness. However, no serious adverse effect is associated with this therapy.

4. The treatment is expensive

Acupuncture is affordable and does not burn a hole in your pocket. On average, it costs around 1500 to 2000 Rs per session. Overall, the therapy may also help reduce dosage of diabetes drugs. 

5. You get addicted to acupuncture

No, acupuncture is not addictive or dependence creating. The practice does help relieve stress and calm down people but it doesn’t create any dependence.

The writer is Sr. Naturopath at Jindal Naturecure Institute.

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Health & Wellness

REMEDIES TO BOOST IMMUNITY IN CHILDREN

Kamayani Naresh

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Over time, experts build a strong study of Rasayana – rejuvenation. They studied ingredients available in nature for well-being, immunity, and overall mental and physical health. Rasayanas are known to build the body to fight diseases of the mental and physical kind. These ingredients are also known to build immunity and protect the human body from infliction.

Here are remedies to boost immunity in your kids:

Golden milk: Children often fuss when drinking milk. Make it interesting for them and peg the usual haldi doodh or turmeric milk as Golden Milk. As you might know, Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and plays a crucial role in building immunity among children. It is also a staple in Indian cooking. As we use Turmeric in our daily cooking, an added supplement of Turmeric will positively impact your children’s health. 

Ashwagandha: It is one of the many researched Ayurvedic herbs. It is known to help with numerous serious diseases and ailments. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which contribute to preventing autoimmune disorders, among others. Research has proven that it improves the functioning of brain cells and common mental health issues. Ideally, give your children this magic herb through warm and sweet milk. You can also add it with Turmeric milk to combine both herbs.  

Liquorice sweets: Liquorice or Mulethi is a herb that is commonly eaten as candy. You can find it at specialised stores or online. The candy is an acquired taste and has many health benefitting properties. The Glycyrrhizin – a saponin found in Liquorice is known for its anti-microbial action. Usually, this root is made into powder, mixed with honey and ghee, to improve immunity. It is a natural revitaliser and also effective as an anti-ageing remedy. 

Vegetable juices with ginger: Give your children vegetable juice with a generous amount of ginger. Ginger is used in Indian cooking, but may not be enough, to impact immunity. Ginger is efficacious in curing coughs and seasonal flu. Its anti-microbial compounds help fight infections and boost immunity. Local stores also stock a large amount of ginger candy that can also be made part of your children’s routine. 

Plant a Tulsi plant together: Tulsi, as you know, is a medicinal plant. It has healing properties and looks beautiful as part of the home decor. Involve your children in planting this plant with you, and together learn the importance of its medicinal properties. Use the plant leaves for wounds and burns. Show your kids how this plant can be used and also consume its juice daily. Allow your children to acquire the taste for it, and they will be build immunity to lead a healthy life. 

Observe your children, as every human body is unique therefore, your child will also respond suitably to different remedies. Preventika an immunity booster by Zyropathy is a combination of Tulsi Leaf, Turmeric, Bael leaf, Sheesham, Gudmar leaf, Arjuna Bark, Mint leaves, Motherwort and more ingredients. It is a healthy option for balancing a child’s immunity. The herbal medicine helps strengthen the internal systems, ensures health and works against 19-various ailments.. Many other remedies and herbs help in building immunity among adults and children. Ensure to learn and include them in your daily routine to protect your family from external harm. 

The writer is the founder of Zyropathy.

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Health & Wellness

HOW TO MANAGE PARKINSON’S AMID COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Top healthcare experts and doctors share their inputs on all you need to know about Parkinson’s and ways to cope with this condition.

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TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR DAILY LIFE WITH PARKINSON’S EASIER

• Have full awareness of their condition. Also, your caregiver must be equally educated about the same

• You can use the voice option in their phone for any work rather than text mode• Exercise regularly to maintain balance, go for massages, and movement therapies

• Take medications on time and listen to your therapist

• Simplify your tasks and set realistic goals

• Plan your tasks like exercising, chores, recreation in advance• Avoid extreme physical activity. Do not push, pull, or lift heavy objects (more than 10 pounds) that require you to strain

• Do not eat too many sugary foods and drinks as these can negatively impact your immune system. Opt for naturally sweetened food and reduce your sugar intake

• To help prevent accidents, install grab bars beside toilets, sinks, and in the tub or shower area depending on your need

—By Dr Rajnish Kumar, Sr. Consultant & Unit Head, Neurology, Paras Hospitals , Gurugram

ISSUES FACED BY PARKINSON’S PATIENTS DURING COVID TIMES

• Patients are unable to follow up with their neurologist; it is important that they continue to take their medicines regularly and if faced with worsening of symptoms or side effects related to the medicines they should try to contact the neurologist via telemedicine

• Patients with pre-existing Parkinson’s disease when affected with Covid-19 infection can have an exacerbation of the symptoms. They must be evaluated by a neurologist who can adjust the medicines and they should remain in touch with the neurologist whenever possible in person or if not via telemedicine

• Very rarely some patients with Covid-19 infection can present with features similar to Parkinson’s disease. These patients will need hospitalisation and thorough evaluation and treatment under the care of a neurologist.

April is Parkinson’s awareness month. It is the second most common degenerate disorder of the brain after Alzheimer’s disease that has devastating mental and physical implications on the patients who are left untreated otherwise. It is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement, says Dr Rajnish Kumar, Sr. Consultant & Unit Head, Neurology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.

Researchers suggest that Parkinson’s results from a combination of genetic factors and environmental factors such as exposure to toxins. It usually affects people aged 55 years and above.

—By Dr Prashant Makhija, Consultant, Neurology, Wockhardt Hospital Mumbai Central

DUAL CONCERN: PARKINSON’S & COVID-19 PANDEMIC 

On the challenges posed by the pandemic in treating Parkinson’s patients, Dr Anil Venkitachalam, Consultant, Neurology and Movement Disorders, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai said, “Like every vulnerable section of society, Parkinson’s patients and their treatment was hugely impacted by the pandemic. An increase in requests for home visits was a particularly challenging task. Due to the co-morbidities and risks of infection, the patients were restricted to their homes. Despite the risks involved and the unavailability of necessary instruments and diagnostic paraphernalia, we took all safety precautions and honoured as many home visit requests as possible.”

 He adds, “The other challenge was the ‘loss to follow-up’ of our many patients. Several patients were on schedule H drugs such as anti-depressants or anti-psychotics etc. Due to movement restrictions, they couldn’t visit their physicians and renew the subscriptions. In the meantime, the pharmacies stopped honouring the old prescriptions or even new digital prescriptions and patients had to go on without medication for a long time. The hospital couriered hundreds of prescriptions to the patients so that they don’t stop the medication.”

Similarly, as February-March mark the financial year-end, many patients needed disability certification to avail the benefits announced by the government. Since they couldn’t get out of the house, the hospital team filled and mailed the necessary documents for the disability certification. Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital started online patient support group programs to offer holistic solutions and guidance to patients and caregivers.

 “Parkinson’s may not affect the patient’s immune system directly. However, in few cases, such patients may have other health conditions which may increase the risk of contracting the Covid infection. They are strongly advised to follow Covid appropriate behaviour,” asserts Dr Guruprasad H, Senior Consultant, Neurology, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital Yeshwanthpu, Bengaluru. 

SYMPTOMS

  What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s? Dr Rajnish replies the condition is characterised by four cardinal symptoms: tremor (trembling) mainly in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head; stiffness in the limbs and trunk; generalised slowness of movements and stooped posture; and impaired balance and coordination. “Early symptoms of Parkinson’s are subtle and occur gradually. Symptoms often begin on one side of the body or even in one limb on one side of the body. As the disease progresses, it eventually affects both sides. However, the symptoms may still be more severe on one side than on the other,” he adds. Mental and behavioural changes sleep problems, depression and anxiety, memory difficulties (Parkinson’s associated dementia), chronic fatigue, severe constipation, difficultly in urination, persistent dizziness, altered sweating, excessive salivation, altered smell perception, and dramatic fluctuations in blood pressure are some of the prominent symptoms which may need treatment.

CAUSES

Parkinson’s occurs when nerve cells, or neurons, in the deeper areas of the brain called ‘substania nigra para compacta’, that controls the movement, tone and coordination of the body, become impaired and/or die. Normally, these neurons produce an important brain chemical known as Dopamine that helps send signals in your brain. When the neurons die or become impaired, they produce less dopamine, which causes the disease, informs Dr Rajnish. He points out that since many other diseases have similar features but require different treatments, it is important to make an exact diagnosis as soon as possible. 

DEBUNKING COMMON MYTHS

There are several myths associated with Parkinson’s. Talking about it, Dr Guruprasad says, “It is believed that everyone with the condition will have tremors, there is no treatment for Parkinson’s, and it is a mental disorder among others. It is a neurological condition and not everyone will experience tremors. Few patients may show other symptoms like balance issues. The advancement of technology has given way to new treatment techniques like deep brain stimulation with directional leads and pump delivered therapy for the management of the condition. Parkinson’s can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes.”

MANAGING PARKINSON’S

On how to manage this condition, Dr Guruprasad says, “Exercise, balanced diet, rest, speech therapy and physical therapies will aid in the management of Parkinson’s. The patients should follow Covid appropriate behaviour. Medications are the important factors to control physical and mental symptoms affecting the people with this condition. Taking the medications regularly, following an indoor physical activity regimen, and engaging in hobbies will be beneficial for them.”

TREATMENT 

Early detection of the disease and starting treatment is very essential, as it drastically changes the quality of life of a patient and arguably, also impedes the rate of progression of the disease. Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s, medicines, surgical treatment, and other therapies can often control the symptoms, informs Dr Rajnish.

Adding to it, Dr Prashant Makhija, Consultant, Neurology,Wockhardt Hospital Mumbai Central says, “Since Parkinson occurs due to progressive loss of nerve cells in the brain which produce Dopamine, the treatment is directed towards external replacement with Dopamine in the form of tablets or with medications that facilitate the action of internally produced Dopamine. The non-motor symptoms (such as sleep disturbances, constipation, memory as well as mood and behaviour changes) are symptomatically managed. Patients also require gait/balance training and speech/swallow therapy. Owing to the multiple issues the patients face, they need to be periodically evaluated by a neurologist who can titrate the medicines to provide them optimum benefit while minimising the adverse effects related to the medicines.”

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Health & Wellness

WHY PARENTS SHOULD PUT FLU VACCINE ON THEIR CHECKLIST

Dr Prakash Desai

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Have you, as a parent, thought about vaccines your child might need? Making your child get flu shots every year is a great idea, but even more this year as the Covid-19 virus continues to spread. Many parents don’t realise it, but the flu can be a very serious illness and the highest risk group are children up to the age of 5 years and above, senior citizens and can lead to long term health conditions. It is even more important to protect your child from viruses like influenza by giving them an annual flu shot. Vaccinating children not only prevents them from catching flu, it also prevents them from spreading it. 

As a paediatrician and neonatologist, I often come across parents who ask many questions like “my child had the flu vaccination last year” Do they need another one this year? Yes; flu viruses change every year so the vaccine may be updated. For this reason, we recommend that your child is vaccinated against flu again this year, even if vaccinated last year. In young children, flu can cause pneumonia (lung infection) and bronchiolitis (infection of the tiny airways that lead to the lungs causing wheezing and difficulty breathing) and sometimes the resulting high fever can lead to febrile fits. 

Below are some Q&A’s which will help you in deciding to consider vaccinating your child with flu vaccine if not done already? 

Influenza or flu is a respiratory infection caused by an influenza virus. In India, limited influenza activity is usually seen throughout the year with a clear peaking during the changing weather seasons and mostly during the rainy season all over the country. Parents need to understand, Influenza isn’t just in schools — it’s also out in our communities, in stores and in parks and in individuals around you. It’s still very important for kids to get vaccinated to protect themselves and everybody else around them from influenza. Considering the seriousness of influenza, and the susceptibility of young kids to this illness, doctors and specialists have all been motivating parents to get the seasonal influenza vaccinations to be better equipped for the flu seasons.

Always remember from age 4 through 6, your child needs additional doses of some vaccines, as well as a flu vaccine every year. If your child has missed any vaccines, work with your doctor to make sure he or she gets them on time. 

How does influenza spread?

Influenza viruses are found in the nose and throat. Children can catch influenza from siblings, parents, other family members, playmates or caregivers.

Germs usually spread in one of three ways:

• Direct contact — such as touching or holding hands with an infected person. 

• Indirect contact means touching something a toy, doorknob or a used tissue, that has been touched by an infected person and now has germs on it and can stay on surfaces for many hours. 

• Some germs spread through the air via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes.

How do I know if my child has influenza?

The flu strikes more quickly than a cold, and makes children feel worse typical influenza symptoms include:

• sudden fever and chills 

• headache or muscle aches,

• extreme fatigue

• dry cough and sore throat and,

• loss of appetite

What are the benefits of the vaccine? 

Having the vaccine will help protect your child from what can be a very nasty illness in children. Children under the age of 5 years have the highest rate of hospital admissions due to flu. It will reduce the chance of others in your family, who could be at greater risk from flu, such as grandparents or those with long term health conditions, getting flu from your child. 

Does taking the flu vaccine stop you from getting the flu?

Flu illness can be caused by several viruses. As the flu vaccine given has been derived from four prevalent viruses for that time of the year, the circulating virus has to match the virus strain for the best protection. It also depends on an individual’s immune response to produce antibodies. Though it might not provide complete protection, there is a good chance that the incidence of Flu illness will reduce and chances of complications and hospital admissions due to flu illness will come down. 

Can all children get a flu vaccine?

Yes, the minimum age is 6 months. Only in the first year, two doses of Flu vaccine need to be given 1 month apart to reinforce the immunity and subsequently once every year to provide maximum immunity as the circulating strain and the matching vaccine strain keeps changing.

Ideally, it’s recommended until the child is 5 years old but children with recurrent respiratory illness, asthma and other long-term conditions would benefit from yearly vaccination to be continued till later. 

Are there side effects of the flu vaccine?

The influenza vaccine is very safe. It cannot cause the flu. Side effects are usually mild and could include:

• Mild soreness where the needle went into the arm for 1 to 2 days.

• A mild fever or aching for the first day or two after immunisation

Precautions

Apart from immunisations, there are some simple ways to protect yourself and your child from flu:

· Good hand hygiene is the most important factor to prevent the spread of flu. Wash your and anyone who will be looking after the baby hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser.

· If your baby is already reaching out for toys and crawling around, be sure to wash her hands as well and clean the surfaces which are frequently handled.

· Breastfeeding your baby helps to protect her health in more ways than one. Breastmilk contains antibodies that will pass on to your baby. Breastfed babies have a lesser incidence of colds and other respiratory and gut infections. 

· Avoid close contact with persons who may already be showing signs of Flu symptoms if possible. 

There has been a surge of flu vaccinations in the current Covid pandemic and vaccines are available at your local paediatrician or can be arranged through hospitals that provide home vaccination services. Don’t forget to protect your kids, and others, take a Flu jab for your children. 

The writer is Consultant – Pediatrician & Neonatologist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bangalore (Malleshwaram).

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Health & Wellness

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MULTIPLE MYELOMA

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Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer in which there is excess production of white blood cells, especially plasma cells. Plasma cells are the end-stage or most mature variant of B-Cells, the latter being responsible for the antibody formation in the body and for immune response. The B-Cells originate in the bone marrow and hence Multiple Myeloma starts commonly in the bones, however may later affect other organs as well. Actress -politican Kirron Kher was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

COMMON SYMPTOMS

a) Bone pains, commonly affecting the central or axial bones of the vertebral column, pelvis and hips, skull bones, followed by ribs, sternum, clavicles, long bones of arms and legs

b) Weakness, fatigue, weight loss with low haemoglobin (anaemia), high calcium levels in the blood

c) Mental fogginess

d) Constipation

e) Kidney failure in advanced stages due to the breakdown of myeloma proteins and blockage of kidneys

f) Frequent infections due to reduced immunity

g) Bone fractures with minor trauma

h) Paralysis of upper or lower limbs or loss of bladder and bowel control in case the Myeloma is growing inside the vertebra and pressing the spinal cord

CAUSES

The definite causative factors for Multiple Myeloma are not

known, however the risk factors include

a) Age >60 years

b) Male gender

c) Family history of multiple myeloma

d) Pre-existing Monoclonal Gammopathy of un- determined significance (MGUS)

HOW TO DIAGNOSE IT?

The recommended tests for diagnosing Multiple Myeloma are

a) Complete blood counts – can pick up anaemia, high white cell count, low platelets

b) Serum electrophoresis – a special blood test to identify the monoclonal (M) band of myeloma protein/s and the type of Myeloma and estimate the quantity of Myeloma protein production

c) Kidney function tests may show a high level of creatinine, urea, calcium or uric acid

e) Liver function tests may show a reversal of albumin and globulin ratio with a high globulin level

f) Bone marrow biopsy is a test done to find out the number of plasma cells in the bone marrow

g) Radiology imaging- Total body X-Rays may show punched out bones where the myeloma has affected the bone. A CT scanner PET-CT can show the whole body myeloma involvement at an earlier stage than an X-RAY.

Sometimes the physician may ask for an MRI of the affected vertebra to see the level of the collapsed vertebra and whether a patient needs surgery /radiation to improve the neurological function.

The treatment of Multiple myeloma depends upon the stage of the disease and it is classified into 3 stages I, II, III.

The treatment includes symptom relief, reduction in bone pain, preventing complications like kidney failure, fractures and paralysis.

It includes Targeted therapies, chemotherapy, steroids, immunotherapy, Bone marrow transplant, renal dialysis, surgery, and radiation therapy.

Besides the disease directed therapy the common things recommended for a patient are adequate water intake to remove the Myeloma proteins by proper flushing of kidneys (urination) and keeping up a good mobility/exercise program to avoid bone loss.

The writer is Chairperson Radiation Oncology, Cancer Institute, Medanta – The Medicity.

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