Want to hit the gym? Here’s your safety manual - The Daily Guardian
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Health & Wellness

Want to hit the gym? Here’s your safety manual

As gyms and fitness studios reopen tomorrow, we talk to health experts and trainers to ensure safe breathe in, breathe out sessions during the pandemic.



With Unlock 3.0, the Central government has given a go-ahead to gyms and gym owners have plans in place to ensure the safety of the members and staff. With slot-based entry and online booking being considered by several gyms which are already successful in Gulf countries, especially cities like Dubai, this model looks adaptable in India as well.

Chacko Raphael Tharakan, 30-year-old fitness model, can’t wait to head to the gym. He says, “With the pandemic, we all want to stay free from corona but working out is a part of life for some of us and our career relies on it. I will surely go to the gym. The fitness centres should ensure optimal sanitisation, entry of limited members depending upon available space and staff.”

Hygiene is a valid concern but it is as much the responsibility of the members as it is of the gym management. Covid-19 is not going to go away anytime soon but it shouldn’t stop people from training and now they have been given a choice to workout at home or in the gym. Chacko focuses on weight-training more but the workout regime would be more or less similar to pre-corona times. The pandemic has rekindled the value of a healthy mind and body. And exercising along with a balanced diet plays a crucial role in boosting your immunity which is the need of the moment.

 Covid-19 has been and remains a serious health issue. Therefore, certain guidelines would be maintained to ensure client safety. Jatin Gupta, owner of Cuboco Fitness Centre, Punjabi Bagh, says, “We remain committed to helping people with their fitness goals which also includes their health and wellness. Daily and mandatory temperature checks for staff and members; timeslot pre-bookings, up to 15 members would be allowed at a time in a 4,000 sq ft area, limited staff involvement with only required trainers but no helpers and sanitisation at the end of every slot time will be done.” He also adds that clients will be required to bring their water bottles, gym gloves and any temporary body-hugging pieces of equipment like weight belts and mats.

Few prominent changes would be witnessed in the gyms during this pandemic. People should visit by calling and getting an appointment beforehand in case of smaller gyms; equipment will be spaced out; sauna bath, shower, steam bath and drinking water facilities will be temporary on hold; staff will be instructed to practise social distancing and group activities such as aerobics, yoga and Zumba will be restricted for a few months. Nitish Yadav, owner of Vasant Kunj’s The Bodyline Gym, says, “In my opinion, people can maintain a balance between working out in a gym and at home. They can opt for gyming two to three days a week. Since Covid-19 is very much prevalent they should focus on their diet to maintain immunity.” Shivam Gupta, owner of UFC Gym, Punjabi Bagh, advises members to wear a breathable mask during entry, exit and breaks, workout gloves, full sleeves clothes and carry personal face towel, sanitiser and separate gym shoes.

Also, opening of the yoga studios will play a promising part for people to get back to their daily wellness regime. Celebrity yoga instructor and meditation expert Paloma Gangopadhyay says, “Yoga is the path of healing and recovery. The moment studios opens up, yoga studio owners will have to take strict measures such as maintaining proper sanitation and hygiene of the clientele. They should be asked to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the class, carry shoe bags and sanitise their hands before entering the class. Verbal communication between clients during the class must be minimised keeping the discipline of yoga and mat to mat distance must be minimum 2 to 3 feet keeping in mind the size of the studios.” She further adds that batches should be increased keeping in mind the growing number of people with new-found health consciousness. Also, each batch now will have fewer people due to per mat distance. Keeping in mind these precautionary measures, the yoga world will come back to a healthy normal soon.

Sugandha Goel, founder of Take a Breath fitness centre, Pitampura, says that they will ask the members to bring their mats and other essentials, the appropriate distance between the mats will be maintained, there will be air purifiers and room temperature would be maintained on air conditioners if the members agree for the same. Chemical disinfection and sanitisation have already been done in the studio. “We would be following a holistic approach focusing on building their immunity and ensuring physical and mental wellness. There will be counselling sessions to take care of their mental health. Relaxation would be given in packages and other facilities as we understand the monetary constraints. Wearing face masks while practising various asanas will not be possible. But they would be required to wear masks while arriving and departing the studio premises. We are taking required measures and are planning to make a sanitisation tunnel to ensure maximum safety,” she adds.

Gym culture won’t be same again

Though gym owners are hopeful with the new guidelines but still many major challenges remain unaddressed. Taking precautions in the gym such as using disinfectant spray while using equipment seems difficult but there is no other option as some of the smaller gyms can’t afford the staff to sanitise equipment after every use. It would double the gym’s operational cost. Fitness coach Prashant Tanwar says, “The management can only do as per the best of their capabilities but would require support from the members to maintain hygiene standards which are for their and others safety. We are only focused on social distancing and will hire one more employee whose sole job will be to keep on sanitising fitness equipment, mats and every touchpoint on the premises at regular intervals.”

 “It is very difficult to wear a mask and exercise. We are awaiting the SOPs from the government. Gym culture will never be the same again. If we can achieve 50% of the profit that we used to make we will be grateful. We want waive-off in electricity bills, some rebate in GST from the Delhi government if possible,” adds Mukesh Gogia, owner of multiplebranches of Anytime Fitness in Delhi.

 Although the Uttar Pradesh government has given a green signal to the gyms, Nadir Siddiquee, owner of SQUATS Diet & Wellness Centre, Noida, will not be reopening it anytime soon since touching of equipment would be there and use of masks can be dangerous. During training if the mask is not breathable then you might feel suffocated and oxygen levels may go down. He says, “If management can maintain safety standards and sanitise equipment after one to two hours of use then it can work. However, this will increase the operational cost which is not feasible for small gyms. An infected person can create a problem for other members as an asymptomatic Covid-19 case can lead to its spread. We are still not sure about how this virus is spreading and are getting new information with passing time. There are many theories about it so certain risks are involved.”

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Health & Wellness

Kashmiri ASHA worker serves as inspiration by donating blood 28 times




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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Health & Wellness

Covid facilities to reduce in Delhi amid drop in cases




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




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




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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Health & Wellness

Does Medicaid Pay for Air Purifiers?



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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Health & Wellness

India reports 5,108 new Covid cases in 24 hours



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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