EXCESSIVE USE OF MOBILE CAN SLOW YOUR CHILD’S MENTAL GROWTH - The Daily Guardian
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EXCESSIVE USE OF MOBILE CAN SLOW YOUR CHILD’S MENTAL GROWTH

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Covid pandemic has raised many psychosocial issues, and the world is grappling the consequences of its effect at various levels. Due to social restrictions, most of the world population has to rely on the Internet and online communication, for work as well as pleasure. While earlier, mobile phone overuse, Internet overuse, and addiction were discussed in the context of unreasonable and unnecessary use, the pandemic has forced many unwilling people into the quagmire of the virtual world of online communication.

The research in this field has been going on for a few decades now. Studies indicate the following effects:

1. Effect of radiofrequency emission on human tissues: In 2011, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified mobile phone radiation possibly carcinogenic, there “could be some risk” of carcinogenicity, so additional research into the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones needs to be conducted. With children using mobile phones for several hours in a day, the lifetime exposure to such radiation increases exponentially with potential biological impact on cell physiology.

2. Impact on neural physiology: Scientists have reported adverse effects of using mobiles including changes in brain activity, reaction times, and sleep patterns. Children are more susceptible to such changes as they are vulnerable to emotional and behavioural disturbances due to their immature coping skills.

3. Addiction: Excessive indulgence in mobiles has addictive potential due to its ease of availability and immense stimulation at fingertips. Internet surfing on mobile exposes one to a vast world and with little self-control, most young people are vulnerable to indulge in virtual reality and spend less time in real-world. Behavioural disturbances are noticed such as neglecting routine activities: eating, self-care, social interaction and academics as well as showing withdrawal effects: irritability, aggression, mood instability, anxiety and depression when mobile is taken away. 

4. Impact on social health: Real-world social interactions with family, friends, neighbours, and other members of society is a necessary component of overall health and Covid has highlighted its importance. Excessive use of the internet reduces time and inclination to indulge in real physical interactions. Especially young adults are at risk of developing maladaptive personality.

5. Impact on musculoskeletal system: Sitting and working on mobile for prolonged periods can impact the musculoskeletal system due to bad posture and strain neck, shoulder, and back muscles. Its excessive use has also been linked to pain and swelling in joints of thumb, fingers and wrists leading to various deformities.

6. Eye strain and refractory errors: Continuous watching of small screen results in dry eyes, irritation, watering and strain in eyes which can also culminate into a higher incidence of ophthalmological and refractory errors. The impact of blue light rays entering the retina is a matter of concern and many experts believe that it can result in macular degeneration.

7. Impact on physical activity: Many of us have seen the reduction of physical activity among people due to excessive use of technology and gadgets. Internet gaming has reduced interest in sports and fewer children are seen playing in parks.

PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT 

Children have an immature biological and functional system which is why they are quite vulnerable to environmental changes. The jury is still out regarding the biological and physiological impact of electromagnetic radiation emissions but the psychosocial impact is apparent.

Due to online education, children are at the receiving end of the yet unknown effect of technology. Several hours of exposure to electronic screen has reduced physical activity which is important for physical growth and mental growth. It also leads to many bad habits like eating too much junk food, and sugar cravings.

The writer is .a senior consultant, psychiatry and psychotherapy.

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A case of sudden cardiac arrest

Dr Nishith Chandra

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It was 1 June 2021 at 6.10 pm, I had just returned from hospital and was pondering over today’s work while taking my dog Jerry out for his evening walk. As I reached society gate, my phone rang, which broke my thoughts. There was an unknown number, but somehow, I decided to pick it up.

A lady in a sheer panic called me on the other side, asking me if I am Dr Chandra, without even waiting for my answer, she told me her husband had collapsed in the home at Utopia. I rushed back, took my stethoscope, and found my way towards the said address.

The flat was on the 7th floor. As I reached the lifts, the guard was already alert and showed me to the 7th floor flat. I was taken straight to the bedroom, where a young gentleman was lying on the floor, and our energetic and ever helpful Vice President of the society Sayema and her team of guards were busy doing CPR. But there was no pulse, no breathing movements and the pupils were dilated and fixed (the ultimate sign of irreversible brain damage). No cardiac activity on listening thru the stethoscope. My worst fears proved correct. A young life was gone. Too prematurely. Could we have saved his life? This was what Sayema asked me with sadness. I was feeling guilty for not being able to save a young life.

Every now and then, we listen to such news of a young person, previously hale and hearty, dying suddenly, due to Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD). The most common cause of which is Ventricular Fibrillation. This is a medical term denoting, chaotic, very fast and ineffective cardiac activity, leading to the cessation of blood flow to the vital organs, including the brain, and if not restored in the next five to eight minutes, leads to irreversible brain damage and ultimately death.

According to World Health Organisation, nearly 5.8 lakh people are dying due to heart attack in the world in a year. Nearly 1.15 lakh people die due to cardiac arrest every day in the world.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the number one killer in India, killing approximately 25 lakh people every year. As per the data revealed by the Delhi Economic Survey about 150 to 250 deaths happen in the city of Delhi every single day and out of these deaths, 25 to 45 deaths occurred due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

So, what could be done in five minutes, in a residential tower on the 7th floor with the nearest heart hospital at least 2 km away? If we wait for an ambulance or a doctor to arrive it takes at least 30 minutes, even if you are very near to a hospital. With each passing minute after a cardiac arrest, the chance of survival goes down by 10%. That means after 10 minutes of cardiac arrest, there are negligible chances of survival.

Thankfully, with the great strides in medical technology, we now have a small portable device, called AED (Automated External Defibrillator), that can be used by a layperson/bystander, to jumpstart the heart from the cardiac arrest.

So what is an AED? Let me answer this in Q&A format:

1.What actually is an AED?

AED are small portable battery-powered devices, which are designed to detect ventricular fibrillation (Cardiac Arrest), and are able to deliver a shock, to correct it. AED uses sophisticated software to analyze the victim’s heart rhythm and determine if a shock is required to restart the heart. The electrodes which attach to the victim’s chest relay information to a computer inside the AED that analyses whether a shock is necessary. A shock is only delivered by the AED if deemed to be needed (a sudden cardiac arrest event is detected) and the “shock” button is pressed by the rescuer. The electrodes will deliver a shock to the body which stuns the heart allowing it to reset to a normal heart rhythm. It’s important to back away from the victim if the AED indicates it’s about to deliver a shock. Receiving this shock to restart the heart is essential to survival as there is only a three to five minute window before most individuals begin to experience brain damage. 

2.Do I need any training to use an AED?

AED is designed to be used by a layperson. A very short training of only 10 to 15 minutes, only which is required to use an AED. Even a 5th class student can learn to use AED, and it is safe. Most AEDs give voice-based step by step instructions on how to operate it. 

3.I know CPR – that’s enough.

CPR is very important, but CPR alone is not enough. The odds of survival reduce by as much as 10% every minute the heart is not beating after a sudden cardiac arrest or cardiac event. The use of an AED along with CPR actually increases a person’s chances of survival by 75%. After 10 minutes without defibrillation, very few people survive. Every minute counts! 

4: How safe is it to use AED. Could I get a shock?

AEDs are designed to be very safe. There are zero chances of getting a shock while using it. An AED cannot shock a person whose heart is in a normal rhythm. Most AEDs will clearly tell you something along the lines of: “Stay clear of the patient” and will warn you not to touch the patient before pressing the shock button and administering the shock. 

Should you happen to have a hand on the patient while a shock is administered, you may feel a slight tingle. Proper placement of AED pads is unlikely to cause any harm. All you have to do is follow the prompts and you will be safe. If a person does not have a “shockable” rhythm, the AED will not allow the delivery of a shock.

5: Should I wait for medical personnel to arrive before I use an AED?

 Remember, you only have minutes to act! If you wait for a doctor to arrive, in five to ten minutes of a cardiac arrest, that is practically impossible in the Indian scenario. Your best bet of saving the person is to give a shock as early as possible.

6: I can only use my AED once.

Most AEDs can administer a range of 100 to 200 shocks in their useable lifetime and a maximum of four shocks can be delivered during a rescue. Pads should be replaced every 2 years to ensure they are sticky enough to be adhesive on virtually anyone’s chest. Batteries should be changed every five years and AEDs should be replaced every seven to ten years.

7: Can AED be used in children?

Latest generation AEDs can be modified to be safe for use on small children under the age of 8. It is recommended that you use specialised pads child keys which lower the amount of charge released by the AED. Purchasing an infant/child AED kit is a must for schools or daycares.

8: Can an AED shock a victim, when it is not needed?

 It is nearly impossible because of the excellent diagnostic algorithm these machines have. They deliver a shock, only when needed.

9: AEDs are expensive to purchase and difficult to maintain.

 AED prices have reduced over the years. In India, it is available from Rs 80000 to 1 lakh that can be shared amongst a large number of residents, bringing the individual price to an affordable level. AEDs are very easy to maintain, the battery needs replacement every five years. 

I jolted by the above incident at our society, our BOM led by P.K. Misra, and ably supported by Sayema, decided to acquire an AED for the Utopia family. And I am happy to inform, that as I am writing this article, a brand new AED has been procured, making Eldeco Utopia the first society in Noida to get this life-saving machine. We have organised a training session for all the guards and few interested residents. We sincerely hope that the need for AED never arises but just like a fire extinguisher, it gives us confidence.

The writer is a Resident of Eldeco Utopia, Noida & Director, Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi.

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Medically Speaking

WHY PARENTS SHOULD OPT FOR HOME VACCINATION FOR CHILDREN

Vaccinations are crucial during the first year for the child to stay healthy and infection-free and the availability of home-based care is no more an option, it is rather a necessity.

Dr R. Kishore Kumar

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This is the first pandemic, this generation has faced. Unlike the previous pandemics, we now have many vaccines to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD). Since the Covid-19 was discovered, the world has waited for a vaccine that would help our lives return to some level of normalcy. Unlike in the past, it took less than a year from lab to jab (vaccine development in case of Covid-19). And now that that vaccine distribution has begun especially for the age group from 18 years and above what will this “new normal” look like for our children? As a neonatologist, I often come across parents who have been asking the question — Is it okay to delay routine vaccinations for our children amidst pandemic? If not, how do we take these vaccinations? Is visiting the hospital safe with infants and toddlers for vaccination? The WHO and UNICEF were concerned when the pandemic struck — as the “primary vaccinations” for children against VPD was getting missed or delayed leading to the possible emergence of these diseases taking a toll on children. Throughout the world, the lockdowns, and “the fear of contracting the disease” made parents “miss their children’s vaccinations”. My simple response to these parents is home vaccination — which is the new normal.

Unsurprisingly, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in dramatic changes in hospital inpatient volumes at the onset and the hospital inpatient volumes dropped drastically. As the situation continued to evolve, there was a need to have a home care solution. The pandemic has clearly proven itself as a healthcare innovation catalyst, reinforcing the benefits and growth potential of the home healthcare industry.

HOME VACCINATION FOR CHILDREN

Vaccinations are crucial during the first year for the child to stay healthy and infection-free and the availability of home-based care is no more an option, it is rather a necessity and a responsibility to protect children. Why should parents opt for home vaccinations for children? Here are the reasons:

• Home vaccination ensures safety first

• It helps in avoiding risks

• It helps to save time

• Parents can teleconsult and secure a digital prescription at home that will explain the vaccinations and possible common side effects of missing them

The pandemic has made us adapt to newer ways of doing things. Many things that were hitherto thought not possible or not the first option is now being seen as normal and comfortable. The pandemic also made the country and the fraternity realise that many healthcare issues can be solved at home and do not require a visit to the clinic or hospital most of the time. Healthcare digitisation is driving the ecosystem of healthcare and bringing effective care to home with convenience and comfort.

Home healthcare is beneficial as a doctor is readily available for a home visit or teleconsultation on video. Telehealth is a great way to get in touch with the clinician and avoid unnecessary travel. Nurses can visit patient homes for vaccinations and clinical procedures that are smaller in scale. Patients need not postpone their physiotherapy or speech therapy sessions as the clinicians can travel to their home or be available for video sessions. Vaccinations can be administered at home under the combined care of doctors and nurses.

In my view, home vaccination has become so popular that parents are happy to have their child vaccinated without the fear of visiting the hospital for the same and the fear of getting infected in the hospital. Within the last year, my unpublished data suggest that we have done more than 20,000 home vaccinations for the children of India and the initiative has received even Karnata deputy Chief Minister’s approval.

Earlier home healthcare was unorganised and run by bureaus with a lack of quality control and customer-centricity. But with the home healthcare sector becoming organised and institutionalised with the advent of trusted players, the scenario has changed. Expert and experienced clinicians are recruited with various background checks. Training and clinical protocols are institutionalised. Audits, quality controls, and tech involvement aid in high-quality clinical services with safety have benefited the community at large. Hence, quality clinical services at home is a prudent investment that people have been making for the management of their health.

HEALTHCARE IS BEING REDEFINED AND MOVING STEADILY INTO THE HOME

With Zoom, texting, and more, technology has transformed our everyday human interactions and what we define as “interpersonal communication.” Between value-based care models and these advancements in technology, healthcare is also being redefined and moving steadily into the home. Covid-19 has accelerated that trend and become a catalyst for virtual and remote care. The year 2021 looks to be the year of the home and after children, senior citizens will be the next set who will be more comfortable than ever with moving healthcare visits to their living rooms and caregivers are more comfortable incorporating time-saving technology into their workflows. In these challenging times, home-based care, remote patient monitoring, and telemedicine services and solutions are helping bridge the gap and prepare for the prevalent needs of healthcare delivery.

The writer is Founder Chairman & Senior Neonatologist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru. He is also a healthcare delivery graduate from Harvard Business School.

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WORKING FROM HOME: WAYS TO DECREASE EFFECTS OF PCOD

Dr Radhika Sheth

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We all have currently adapted well to the new normal and working from home. While work from home comes with its own benefits, lack of physical activity and stress can lead to an imbalance of PCOD. PCOD is a common disorder in women of reproductive age group and affects 5% to 10% of women. It is associated with hormone imbalance and problems in metabolism. Though PCOD may cause irregular periods, there is a likelihood that women with PCOS may face fertility or related issues as well. However, the ongoing pandemic, increased stress and lack of physical activity are likely to cause a spike in PCOD conditions. 

How can PCOD condition worsen during the pandemic? 

Lack of physical mobility has led to a spike in complaints of the irregular menstrual cycle during the pandemic. While the exact causes of PCOD are unknown but certain factors that may play a role include excess insulin, low-grade inflammation, heredity and excess androgen. While working from home, PCOS is also adversely affected by diet, lifestyle and exposure to certain environmental toxins. Insulin Resistance: Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. Insulin is needed to convert glucose to energy and to control cell growth. It has a key role to play in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins.

Low-grade Inflammation: In some women, eating certain foods, or exposure to certain environmental factors may trigger an inflammatory response. When an inflammatory response is triggered, WBC secrete mediators that may lead to insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.

All these factors contribute to spike in PCOD: irregular /absent menstrual periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, excessive facial and body hair, weight gain and obesity, patches of thick, darkened skin (acanthosis nigricans), particularly on the neck, groin, or underneath the breasts, oily skin and/or acne, insulin resistance and type II diabetes, and infertility due to irregular or absent ovulation

Treatments for PCOD

Daily exercise – Regular exercise has many benefits in treating PCOD. Exercise helps by burning calories, lowering cholesterol levels and building muscle mass, which decreases insulin resistance. 

Eating a healthy diet – The ideal diet consist of different kinds of foods from various food groups- good carbohydrates, such as vegetables and fruits; lean meats, such as poultry; fish; and high fibre grains. It is advisable to eat foods that are low in sugar and fat and with a low glycemic index. Low GI foods cause the body to release insulin slowly, making it easier for the body to use food as energy rather than store it as fat. Foods rich in fibre also help control blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar, hence they are best eaten in limited amounts. It is better to avoid refined carbs, especially those found in processed foods, especially white flour, rice, potatoes, and sugar. Sugary drinks, including soda and sweetened juices, should be avoided.

Increase your exposure to sunlight by at least sitting and working under the sun for some time. 

Weight Loss– this may help to control some of the symptoms of PCOS and help to increase fertility.

The writer is a Consultant Fertility Specialist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Mumbai.

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Flickering screens may help children with reading, writing difficulties

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A new study has found a link between visual white noise and cognitive abilities such as memory, reading and non-word decoding in children with reading and writing difficulties.

The study “Sensory white noise improves reading skills and memory recall in children with reading disability” was published in the scientific journal ‘Brain and Behavior’. Previous studies have shown that children with attention difficulties and/or ADHD solve cognitive tasks better when they are exposed to auditory white noise.

However, this is the first time that such a link has been demonstrated between visual white noise and cognitive abilities such as memory, reading and non-word decoding in children with reading and writing difficulties.

“The white noise to which we exposed the children, also called visual pixel noise, can be compared with giving children glasses. The effect on reading and memory was immediate,” explained Goran Soderlund, Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Gothenburg and Professor of Special Education at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

The study was conducted on around 80 students in the Smaland region of southern Sweden. The children who took part were selected following a word recognition test and were split into three groups: good readers, children with some reading difficulties and children with major reading difficulties (i.e. having phonological impairments).

In the study, the children were asked to read 12 words while being exposed to four different levels of visual white noise, from zero to high. The test involved assessing how many of the words the children could read correctly and how many words they were able to recall afterwards.

The results showed that the group with major reading difficulties, particularly phonological difficulties, performed significantly better when exposed to visual pixel noise. They read more words correctly and also recalled more words in moderate noise conditions. The white noise had no effect or negative effects on the good readers and those with only minor reading problems.

“This is the first evidence of visual white noise having effects on higher-level cognition, in this case, both reading and memory,” said Goran Soderlund.

The children were exposed to different levels of white noise, with the results showing that the amount of noise is critical for reading and memory.

“You can compare it with being shortsighted and needing glasses. We saw that when we exposed the children to a medium level of white noise, their reading improved. However, their reading skills were less good when there was no noise or a high level of noise,” added Goran.

“These results show that children with reading and writing difficulties can be helped with an incredibly simple intervention. By adjusting screens in school or at home, we hope to be able to resolve their problems at a stroke. This is the first study of its kind, and replications are needed,” Goran further said.

Goran Soderlund now wants to further investigate the effects of white noise. He hopes that new studies can answer the question of whether practising with white noise for a prolonged period can lead to lasting improvements.

“It’s worth exploring, as we just don’t know. This first study of ours is basic research. But our results show that the children improved immediately, so it’s important to continue with new studies to establish whether this simple measure, which everyone can do on their own laptop, will actually provide enduring help for these children,” Goran said.

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STUDY FINDS MORE RELIABLE RAPID TESTS FOR COVID-19

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During a recent study, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) developed two rapid diagnostic tests for Covid-19 that are nearly as accurate as the gold-standard test currently used in laboratories.

Unlike the gold standard test, which extracts RNA and uses it to amplify the DNA of the virus, these new tests can detect the presence of the virus in as little as five minutes using different methods. The findings were published in the journal Nature Protocols. One test is a Covid-19 molecular diagnostic test, called Antisense, which uses electrochemical sensing to detect the presence of the virus. The other uses a simple assay of gold nanoparticles to detect a colour change when the virus is present. Both tests were developed by Dipanjan Pan, PhD, Professor of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine and Pediatrics at UMSOM, and his research team. Dr Pan has a joint appointment at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

“These tests detect the presence of the virus within 5 to 10 minutes and rely on simple processes that can be performed with little lab training,” said Dr Pan. They do not require the extraction of the virus’s RNA – which is both complicated and time-consuming.

They also are more reliable than the rapid antigen tests currently on the market, which detect the virus only in those with significantly high viral levels. “These two newer tests are extremely sensitive and can detect the presence of the virus, even in those with low levels of the virus,”

Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registered the laboratory of Dr Pan as an approved laboratory development site for the Antisense test. The move paves the way for Dr Pan’s laboratory to begin conducting the test at the university, in research settings, as it undergoes further development.

In February, RNA Disease Diagnostics, Inc. (RNADD) received an exclusive global license from UMB and UMBC to commercialize the test. Dr Pan serves as an unpaid scientific advisor to the company.

This test detects the virus in a swab sample using an innovative technology called electrochemical sensing. It uses a unique dual-pronged molecular detection approach that integrates electrochemical sensing to rapidly detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“The final prototype is like a glucometer, which patients with diabetes use at home to measure their blood glucose levels,” said Dr Pan, “and is just as easy for people to do themselves.” Dr Pan and his colleagues, in collaboration with RNA Disease Diagnostics, are launching a study of NBA basketball players in New York City to compare the Antisense test to rapid Covid tests that the NBA is using to monitor Covid infections in its players.

“We would like to see whether our test can yield more reliable results compared to the existing platforms,” he said. “Current antigen-based rapid Covid tests miss infections about 20% of the time and also have high rates of false-positive results. Our Antisense test appears to be about 98% reliable, which is similar to the PCR test.”

Similar to the Antisense test, the second rapid test also does not require the use of any advanced laboratory techniques, such as those commonly used to extract RNA, for analysis. It uses a simple assay containing plasmonic gold nanoparticles to detect a colour change when the virus is present. In April, Dr Pan and his colleagues published a stepwise protocol in the journal Nature Protocols, explaining how the nano-amplified colourimetric test works and how it can be used.

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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COVID-19 DELTA VARIANT

Various reports indicate that this mutant has been responsible for several complications cropping up among patients even after recovery. Here is what you need to know about the variant.

Dr Chandrashekhar T

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The Delta Covid-19 variant is the new villain that has taken centre stage. It is believed to be 60% more transmissible than the B.1.1.7 variant (or alpha variant) and may be associated with an increased disease severity such as hospitalisation risk. Several reports from across the country indicate that this mutant has been responsible for several complications cropping up among patients even after recovery. Here is what you know about the variant.

WHAT IS THE DELTA VARIANT? 

Variants are mutations of the Coronavirus. Scientists say viruses constantly mutate naturally as they replicate and circulate in their hosts. Sometimes these mutants disappear; other times they persist. The Delta variant known as B.1.617.2, is gaining ground around the world and is said to have contributed to the country’s recent surge. Sometimes we can see a mutation in the mutated variant this is called a double mutation.

According to WHO and CDC, the viruses which are prevalent in the United States, Europe, South America, and another part of Africa as well as in the Asian region are of different mutants. The variant prevalent in the US is called Alfa, Beta and Theta were prevalent in South America and Africa. Theta and Gamma were prevalent in European countries. Delta was prevalent in India and Asia by large, which has now spread to other nations too. Kappa variant was prevalent in Australia. Now, people should know that the Delta wave hasn’t come in the second wave only. It was there in the first wave as well. However, Coronavirus is an RNA virus and is in constant mutation with increasing transmissibility and virulence.

HOW DANGEROUS IS THE DELTA VARIANT? 

To begin with, it is important to know what variants of concern (VOC) are. A variant for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease, significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures are termed as VOC.

The Delta variant was under investigation/Variant of Interest (VOI) even in the first wave, as it was termed as the variant of concern by the WHO. Therefore, WHO, ICMR, and other government agencies in India are closely watching its mutations. Therefore, the Delta virus falls under the category of a variant of concern as it is more transmittable, more virulent, and causes many complications.

HOW DOES THE DELTA VIRUS IMPACT HUMAN HEALTH? Now, we all know that Covid-19 can cause multiple problems in the body. First, is the clotting problem causing a brain Stroke or a Heart Attack or a particular vessel getting blocked causing gangrene of the limbs, legs, or hands or blood clots causing Pulmonary Embolism or even Gangrene in the intestine. 

Apart from blood clots in the arteries of limbs, heart, and brain, Covid-19 patients are coming with intestinal clots that are causing gangrene of the GI. Similarly, clotting can cause Pancreatitis as well.

The other problem is the inflammation problem called that Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. This causes symptoms including fever or Hypothermia, Tachycardia, Tachypnoea, and a change in blood leucocyte count. Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) is another issue. CRS occurs when the immune system responds too aggressively to an infection. It causes a variety of symptoms, including fever, headaches, and nausea.

IS VACCINATION MY ANSWER? 

Yes, the vaccines available to us in our country – Covishield, Covaxin, and Sputnik put up a good defence against this variant and hold a very good efficacy rate. So, you might wonder if vaccines work then what is the problem. The problem is that not everybody has been vaccinated. And the variant is at its peak when the rate of vaccinations nationally has slowed down. Having said that the vaccination program will soon ramp up. Apart from this, staying at home and following all necessary Covid-19 safety protocols – social distancing, wearing a mask, and hand hygiene are essential.

The writer is Chief Intensivist, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi.

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