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Rediscovering the magical secrets of Ayurveda

As Covid-19 numbers continue to rise alarmingly, doctors and researchers say that traditional medicines are much more than just immunity boosters.

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The coronavirus pandemic has rekindled people’s interest and belief in traditional medicines. They are making conscious lifestyle changes, opting for Ayurvedic products and witnessing its advantages on regular consumption. To cure any disease, Ayurveda goes to the root cause of the ailment and is known for preventive care. When the pandemic struck, people started consuming ‘kadha’, Ashwagandha, turmeric and more to enhance the body’s immunity level. 

Although debates around the effectiveness of Ayurvedic treatment for Covid-19 are ongoing, it is to be noted that the Covid Care Centres (CCC) are curing asymptomatic corona-positive patients or those with mild symptoms without serious comorbid conditions. These provide treatment for the people who do not require intensive care. This way, hospital beds remain vacant for patients with complicated cases in need of critical care.

All India Institute of Ayurveda’s (AIIA) Covid-19 Health Centre in Sarita Vihar, Delhi, is administering the majority of patients with stand-alone Ayurveda treatment protocol including Ayurvedic medicine, diet, yoga and relaxation techniques. “Patients were discharged in good health showing 100% recoveries without complications during the treatment period with SPO2 more than 90%. No aggravation of symptoms was observed. It is also observed that there has been 0% mortality till now in admitted patients,” an AYUSH Ministry statement said.

Dr Aneesh T., medical officer, Nirog Street Certified Centre, Roorkee, says, “Covid-19 is a disease affecting multiple systems of the body with clinical features mostly pertaining to the respiratory system. Ayurveda has been successful in treating viral infections. As an Ayurvedic expert, I firmly believe that Covid-19 cases presenting with minimal or nil symptoms can be managed successfully.”

 The contribution of Ayurvedic doctors is through three domains: preventive, curative and community interventions. Dr Aneesh explains that advocating a healthy and disciplined lifestyle by including herbal medicines, yoga and Pranayama are crucial and practised widely is the preventive aspect. Whereas the curative part deals with the prescription of time-tested Ayurveda formulae to individuals with a history of contact with Covid-19 cases which have proven successful.

 In such uncertain times, Ayurvedic medicines can play a major role in the prevention of Covid-19 virus as well as treatment. It is certainly effective for prophylaxis of the infection too. “I start with precautionary measures for all of my patients which provide complete protection and ensure that the immunity of the individual is at an optimum level. I have treated many patients who have been under home quarantine, with mild to moderate symptoms of fever, loss of taste, abdominal discomfort, dry cough and cold. Generally, I see disequilibrium of the ‘dosha’ and advice appropriate Ayurveda combinations along with nasya and gandusha,” says Dr Bhavana Diyora, Ayurveda doctor and preventive wellness consultant at GALF (Get a Life Fitness).

 All Ayurvedic medicines are good immune-boosters which when coupled with lifestyle changes can help to boost the immunity. Some Ayurvedic hospitals have treated Covid-19 patients through Ayurvedic medicines and changes in lifestyle. But these were either asymptomatic Corona-positive or had mild symptoms without serious Comorbidities. Dr Shashi Bala, senior consultant and head of Ayurvedic department at Moolchand Hospital in Delhi says, “You can prevent any kind of virus entering the body through Ayurvedic medicines and way of life. In certain cases, as such, no treatment is required as it depends on how your body is reacting to coronavirus and if it is strong enough to protect you from the virus then there is no need for medication. Only Allopathic treatment can work for patients with Covid-19 complications.”

She suggests the patients follow the three pillars of Ayurveda — Ahara (diet), Vihar (lifestyle) and Brahmacharya (abstinence). To make dietary changes such as consuming cooked food and as per the season. “Bringing about lifestyle changes such as washing hands using a handwash, aloe vera gel or multani mitti, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, oral cavity should be cleaned in the morning and night through rinsing the mouth with sufficient amount of warm water mixed with turmeric or sendha namak which is called gandusha and lubricating the nostrils with oil and sound sleep can strengthen the immune system,” adds Dr Bala.

 Increased emphasis on immunity

Due to Covid-19, people are now giving more importance to immunity. Dr Shiney Linu of Kairali Ayurvedic Centre in Mumbai reveals that they get queries from people about ways to boost immunity as no cure has been found which is specific to Covid-19 in any medicinal form yet. She says, “Preventing yourself from falling sick is possible through Ayurveda for which you have to follow Dhincharya (daily regime) and Rithucharya (seasonal regime), detoxify your body and rejuvenate once a year through Panchakarma therapy.” 

 She also adds that diet forms a crucial aspect in Ayurveda and should contain ginger, garlic, pepper, turmeric, clove, cumin, fenugreek and cinnamon. Dr Linu asks her patients to consume healthy digestive food of the season and give them their immunity booster kits containing Chyawanprash, Mulbarin, Arogya herbal infusion, Ashwagandha capsules, Anuthylum and Triphala Ghritam.

Growth of Ayurvedic products

Philipe Haydon, CEO of The Himalaya Drug Company informs that over the past few months, there has been a demand for preventive care. It includes wellness products including Guduchi, Tulasi, Amalaki, Ashvagandha tablets and more are seeing a huge demand. Besides this, the proprietary formulations, Septilin and Immusante, have seen a significant rise in demand. Haydon says, “Evidence on the potential and strength of AYUSH systems to help promote immunity and improve respiratory systems has contributed to an increase in demand for Ayurvedic and immunityboosting medicines in the recent past.”

 At this time, immunity is a buzz word across the globe and consumers are turning to the goodness of ancient Ayurveda, believes Arjun Vaidya, CEO of Dr. Vaidya’s. He says that the consumers have also understood the significance of a healthy lifestyle and while the pandemic has proven to be adversity for most businesses, it’s a huge opportunity for Ayurveda and e-commerce brands. Dr Saurabh Arora, founder of Arbro Pharmaceuticals informs that their immunityboosting products are being widely used and not only by individuals but corporates, organisations and hospitals. People are consuming their chyawanprash, immunityboosting Curcumin (increases the body’s antioxidant capacity which helps in boosting immunity) capsules and Ayush Kwath powder.

 AIIA recently began Covid-19 trials with Nisarga Herbs. A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial is being held at ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Faridabad wherein the neem formulation will be tested on their 250 frontline medical and non-medical staff who are highly exposed to Covid-19 patients. The results of the clinical trials are expected by the end of November. Girish Soman, CEO, chairman and founder of Nisarga Biotech Group says, “Our neem formulation will prove to be an effective antiviral in preventive use and we are looking at strategic funding for further research to introduce it as a standard drug.”

Nisarga’s neem extract is already being used in the University of Texas, San Antonio for the past few years on cancer research. Soman adds, “During this research, we found good anti-inflammatory activity due to the presence of compounds such as Nimbolides, Nimbin and Salinin in our proprietary neem extract. With pre-clinical studies demonstrating excellent anti-inflammatory and antiviral activity, neem was a natural choice. With our proprietary patented extraction technique, we are confident that the neem capsules will show good preventive action.”

 He informs that they were working on a new product (tablet), Respirade before the pandemic struck. “We have administered the tablet twice a day to our employees, their families and companies in the vicinity for the last four months and no one has reported cough, cold and flu symptoms. There have also been any Covid-positive cases so far. Respirade is a much more affordable version of Imuplus but has been specifically designed for respiratory tract infections and their treatment.”

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Health & Wellness

Kashmiri ASHA worker serves as inspiration by donating blood 28 times

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A 32-year-old woman named Bilqees Ara, an ASHA worker, has donated blood 28 times since 2012. She has served as an inspiration to others across the nation.

Bilqees, who is from the Handwara Tehsil in the Kupwara area of North Kashmir, stated that she understands the “importance of blood”.

She said that by donating a pint of blood, she not only saves a precious life but an entire family.

She began donating blood in 2012 and has since given 28 pints.

She expressed her gratitude and pride at being the saviour of so many patients in the Kashmir valley.

I’ve seen people cry helplessly as they try to get blood to save their loved ones, but I’m proud of myself because I’ve arranged blood for them as well. “I felt an inner joy after that,” she said.

In Kashmir, she is known as the “Blood Woman of Kashmir”.

She is a registered blood donor. Whenever a need arises, the officials at the Blood Bank at Handwara hospital call her and, within the shortest span of time, she makes herself available to donate blood.

Women should come forward and do this as there is nothing to be afraid of. This is to be done for society, she said. She also said that she wondered who else would do it if she refused.

If a person has blood and courage, why can’t he give it to someone else in a time of need? She asked.

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Covid facilities to reduce in Delhi amid drop in cases

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The Delhi government has closed 11 Covid care facilities because to a consistent reduction in cases. Two Covid Care Centers are operational at Ambedkar Nagar Hospital, which has 50 beds, and Balak Ram Hospital, which has 25 beds, according to a government report. Only five admissions were registered at Ambedkar Nagar Hospital over the past three months, while there were none at Balak Ram Hospital.

The number of patients has steadily decreased at the remaining CCCs as well, according to reports.

According to officials, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Thursday decided to scale back the medical staff and infrastructure that had been deployed for COVID management in a planned manner. The health department will now formulate an action plan in response to this decision.

“The deven CCCs were closed and dismantled by Delhi government and one by the Centre and three others with total 4000 bed capacity- Radha Saomi Satsang ,Chattarpur, Sawan Kirpal, Burari , and Sant Nirankari, Burari- were closed but not yet dismantled”, officials said.

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India’s daily covid tally falls below 5k with 4,858 new cases

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India reported 4,858 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, 806 fewer than yesterday, bringing the total to 4,45,39,046, according to data released by the Union health ministry on Monday. On the other hand, according to the health bulletin, the number of active cases rose to 48,027.

India has 0.11 percent of the infections that are still active, and the Covid recovery rate has risen to 98.71 percent. 2.76 percent was the daily positivity rate, while 1.78 percent was the weekly positivity rate.

Infections with the coronavirus are currently most common in Kerala, followed by Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Assam, and West Bengal.

The health ministry stated that as many as 18 fatalities were reported today, taking the death toll to 5,28,355. This included eight deaths reconciled by Kerala.

According to the data available, 2.16 billion doses of vaccines have been administered in the country so far under the nationwide Covid vaccination drive.

On December 19, India’s Covid-19 total had reached one billion. On May 4 and June 23, respectively, last year, it reached the depressing milestones of two and three crore. On January 25 of this year, the number of Covid cases in the nation surpassed four crore.

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Over 100 people suffer food poisoning in Manipur

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Since Tuesday, over 100 people, including children, have been admitted to hospitals in the Senapati district of Manipur due to a possible case of food poisoning linked to a birthday celebration in the hilly state.

According to medical officer Dr. Th Veidai Shuru of PHC Paomata on Thursday, the majority of the patients, who are from the villages of Tungjoy and Tunggam, were admitted at the Public Health Centre (PHC) Paomata while some were in the Public Health Sub-Centre (PHSC) at Tungjoy.

From Tuesday onward through Wednesday, patients with complaints of loose motion, fever, and bodily soreness were admitted to health centres.

“Now most of the patients are getting relatively better, “said Dr Veidai.

According to reports from medical facilities, about 83 people have been released, and the 31 others are anticipated to leave soon.

According to the specialists, food poisoning is a possibility. According to locals, the primary cause may be the drinking of fermented fish chutney during birthday festivities.

“However, it will take at least 7 to 14 days to get the results for the samples which we collected and sent for testing and we’ve also collected blood samples to check other diseases, Dr Veidai said.”

Meanwhile, representatives from the food safety agency visited a village in the Senapati district to determine what was causing the widespread illness.

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Does Medicaid Pay for Air Purifiers?

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Medicaid services, as convenient as it sounds, might not be fulfilling enough to live a comfortable life for low-income families. Air purifiers are no more a luxury and have become a requirement to stay healthy. When we come to this, the real question is: does Medicaid pay for air purifiers?

The answer to this simple question is no. Medicaid does not cover air purifiers until and unless it is prescribed by a doctor if you are medically ill. This is not just enough to know; read on to have a better idea of how medicare works and what are your other options.

Does Medicaid Pay for Air Purifiers?

Medicaid is an insuranse plan which does not cover equipment lik air purifier, room heater, humidifier, dehumidifier, and air conditioner. The plan is only entitled to cover only those devices, which are Durable Medical Equipment.

For instance, Medicare is shown to provide Positive Airway Pressure machines if you are medically proven to have obstructive sleep apnea. However, in some cases, Medicaid may reimburse you with an air purifier and humidifier if you are medically proven for its need.

To do so, you must provide a proof showing authentication of your medical need, like a prescription or a letter of medical necessity. The plan only covers medical grade air purifiers and Air Purifier Mag has shared some of the best options that may help you get your air purifier cost covered under Medicaid easily.

Why Original Medicaid does not Include Air Purifier in their Part B?

Original Medicaid part B only covers the equipments under the DME category and since the plan does not categorize air purifiers as a DME, it’s not in the list. They rather believe it to be an environmental control equipment and not primarily medical in nature.

Same is the case with the other such appliances like humidifiers and room heaters  that are designed to improve or manage health conditions.

Can you Ask a Doctor to Prescribe you An Air Purifier?

You can request your doctor to prescribe you an air purifier only if you really think it could bring a difference in your health status. Medical grade air purifiers, which use HEPA filters are usually prescribed by the doctors to look after health condiitons like asthma. In some cases, doctors can refuse to sign you a prescription considering its short term benefits.

Does Medicaid Advantage Plus Pay for Air Purifiers?

Medicaid Advantage Plus is a long-term health management solution for people with chronic condition who need health devices and tools in their homes and have access to both Medicare and Medicaid plans.

The MAP plan is offered by the companies associated with Medicaid to cover all the services laid down by the original Medicaid plan.

Unlike the original plan, as allowed by the fall enrollment of 2020, the Advantage plan is more likely to be helpful in covering the cost of health equipment like air conditioners and air purifiers. Coverage plans and type of health devices covered in the Advantage plan vary from one provider to another.            

Which Durable Medical Equipment does Original Medicaid Part B Cover?

Medicaid, in general, covers the major chunk i.e. 80% of the Medicaid approved health equipment also called, durable medical equipment, to be used at home. To consider it a DME, Medicaid believes the equipment should be able to be repeatedly used, must only be useful for the sick, and restricted to home usage.

The equipment the plan will cover is based on the plan you choose and your health condition. Here’s a list of equipment Medicaid plan covers:

● Hospital beds

● Seat lifts

● Pacemaker monitors

● Blood glucose monitors

● Canes

● Wheelchair lifts

● Crutches

● Heating pads

● Oxygen regulators

● Face masks

● Alternating pressure pads, mattresses

● Motorized wheelchair

● Heat lamps

● Oxygen

● Sitz baths

● Ventilators

● Bedpans

● Walkers

Other Ways To Get Inssurance or Pay for an Air Purifier

Either when time is running out or there is no way out to get your prescription approved by Medicaid, you can opt for other ways to cover the expenses for your DME.

Private insurance: Even though FSA or HSA debit card isn’t allowed to be used on purchase of equipments, you can reimburse the amount by FSA after buying it from your own money. Most of the insurance providers cover air purifier as long as a proof is provided in terms of prescription or letter of medical necessaity.

Second Hand: You can always pay for the the equipment from your pocket. However, one needs to understand the cost difference if one opts for an insurance plan. You can directly pay and get second hand DME at half price from Facebook Market place, eBay, or any good thrift store.

Veterans Health Care: With the help of Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans and their spouses have the benefit of getting Medicaid copayment or the complete cost of DME.

Nonprofit Assistance: There are a number of nonprofit foundations and state programs, which help elderly with DME through low or interest-free loans and different programs. Visit your state’s site to have a better idea on the available programs.

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India reports 5,108 new Covid cases in 24 hours

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India reported 5,108 new Covid-19 cases in the previous 24 hours on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections to 44,510,057. According to data from the union health ministry, the country’s active caseload is 45,749, accounting for 0.1 per cent of total cases.

So far, a total of 4,39,36,092 people have been recovered, with 5,675 recovered in the last 24 hours. The recovery rate in the country stands at 98.71 per cent.

The weekly positivity rate is 1.70 per cent, while the daily positivity rate is 1.44 per cent.

According to official data, approximately 89.02 crore samples have been tested for coronavirus in the country so far, with 3,55,231 tests conducted in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, India’s vaccination coverage has reached 215.67 crores, with 18.70 crores being precautionary (booster) doses. The vaccine doses have been administered to 19,25,881 people in the last 24 hours.

4.06 crore people aged 12-14 received their first dose, and 3.09 crore received their second. Over 6.18 crore people aged 15 to 18 received their first doses, with over 5.27 crore receiving a second dose.

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