Delta Plus and other new COVID Variants: Can they Skip Vaccine Protection
Viruses continue to change to adapt and survive, and variants emerge when a strain has one or more mutations that induce it to differ from others. Some mutations are insignificant whereas others can make the virus more infectious or virulent. Coronavirus is no different! The recent mutations in the SARS-CoV2 virus has attracted concerns of official bodies. There are several reasons to be worried about, including faster transmission, more severe illness, decreased neutralisation by antibodies and or reduced efficiency of treatment and vaccines.The pandemic is far from over. Monitor your symptoms and do get an RT-PCR test done if you found yourself facing symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 The Delta variant In view of the growing COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world, health officials are evaluating certain coronavirus mutations and variants that could be more contagious or deadly than the original strain. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), delta variant, which was first identified in India in December 2020, is considered as one of the most infectious variants of the disease. It has been observed that the delta variant is highly contagious, as people infected with this strain can carry up to 1,000 times more virus in their nasal passages than those infected with the original strain. Cases of delta plus variant infections have been found in 11 countries as yet. Indian experts have also reported mutations that are different from delta in a sublineage of the virus, which is called as “delta plus (AY.1).” This mutation allows the virus to better attack lung cells and potentially escape vaccines. However, more research is required to determine whether the delta plus variant has high transmission rates or involves additional risks. The symptoms of delta variants are similar to those seen with the original coronavirus strain including a persistent cough, headache, fever, and sore throat. Efficacy of COVID vaccines for delta and delta plus variant Vaccines including AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines remain broadly effective against Delta variants. However, studies also suggest that existing vaccines in India against delta variants are reportedly less effective in individuals with low immune response. Moreover, the Delta plus variant of coronavirus, due to its mutation of K417N spike protein, may escape vaccines and antibodies more than the Delta variant. On the contrary, second dose of vaccination has been shown to produce enough antibodies against COVID-19 infection, suggestive of its efficiency. This has been verified by another small research study at the Indian Council of Medical Research and Bharat Biotech International, who co-developed the Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine and reported its effectiveness against the delta variant. The authors found that antibodies from vaccinated individuals were not as effective at neutralizing the virus variant in a lab study. Covaxin is made from the entire SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is chemically altered to prevent it from replicating. When a vaccine is administered to an individual, they can make antibodies to many different parts of the virus. If one part mutates to give rise to a new variant, like the delta variant, then antibodies to other parts of the virus should still provide enough protection. Is one shot of vaccine sufficient for delta variants? Reports suggest that a person who has received just a single shot of a two-dose vaccine may not have any protection against the delta variant. This study highlights the importance of finishing the recommended vaccine dosage. According to an analysis, two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is about 88 percent effective against symptomatic disease and 96 percent effective against hospitalization with the delta variant. Effects of Delta variant on unvaccinated individuals Individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are at maximum risk of infection with this variant. Kids and younger adults who are not vaccinated may be susceptible to COVID-19 as well. Effects of Delta variant on vaccinated individuals In initial studies, two doses of the Pfizer vaccine are about 88% effective against disease and 96% effective against hospitalization with the Delta variant. The AstraZeneca vaccine was about 60% effective against disease and 93% effective against hospitalization. Now vaccine makers are investigating booster shots to check if they can provide better protection against the Delta variant and other variants. Book a quantitative COVID antibody test and check how many antibodies you developed after completing your COVID jabs. Takeaway The Indian government currently is not planning to introduce any change in its vaccination policy due to the Delta Plus variant. However, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) are about to launch a study to assess the efficiency of the COVID19 vaccines in India, Covishield and Covaxin, against the Delta Plus variant. Although the current vaccinations may offer less protection against milder, symptomatic illness caused by delta variants, it is still important that people get fully vaccinated as it is the only significant protection against these variants.
Monsoon Diseases Prevention: Simple Health Tips to Stay Monsoon Ready
There starts the drizzle and here we start craving for the pakodas and waiting for the rain dance! Monsoon and rains have got such a positive and refreshing vibes that you can’t help but plan to sneak out from your daily (& monotonous) routine.However, with those rain showers, comes humidity and an environment that may promote growth of microorganisms and put you at risk of developing various health ailments. From seasonal cough and cold to stomach infections, from mosquito-borne diseases to liver inflammation- are all the repercussions of not taking enough care of yourself during monsoon.Fighting a fever and not sure what is causing that? Find out the culprit with our all-new Fever panel tests. Here, we have enlisted simple yet important health tips that keep you monsoon ready (and disease free). Take a look! 1. Increase your vitamin C intake You must have noticed that rain is the time of the year when viral fever, cold, and allergic reactions are most prevalent. To help keep these infections at bay, one thing that you must have is a strong immunity. There isn’t an exact definition of “how strong” your immune system should be to fend off germs but it is an established fact that people with a healthy immune system seldom fall sick as compared to people who have a weak immunity. That’s where vitamin C can be helpful- to keep your immune cells healthy. It is one of the most important immunity-boosting nutrients. Several studies have stated that vitamin C can prevent colds in some specific cohorts. Splurge on those oranges, lemons, fresh green vegetables and broccolis to have a Vitamin C rich diet. 2. Make sure you take enough fluids (even without feeling thirsty) The weather being cool, you may not feel thirsty often. However, ensure to drink plenty of water during the monsoon. Most people sweat a lot due to the humid weather of the rainy season and miss replenishing fluids. Keeping well hydrated helps flush out toxins from your body too. Nevertheless, stay vigilant of the type of water you drink. Many illnesses like hepatitis A, typhoid, cholera are waterborne and quite rampant during the monsoon season. If you aren’t sure of the water quality in your area, boil the drinking water to kill disease-causing germs and eliminate other impurities. Get your water filters serviced on time so that they do their job effectively and you get clean drinking water. 3. Had a rain dance? Get a shower at once Do take a relaxing warm water bath to disinfect your body after getting drenched in rain or playing in the puddles. It decreases the risk of catching skin and fungal infections. Add a disinfectant to bathing water if possible. 4. Stay protected of mosquitoes Continuous rains and improper drainage allow water to accumulate and serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. These tiny insects are well capable of giving you serious health troubles including malaria, dengue, chikungunya, etc. Ensure that there is no open water storage in your home. Change and clean water of coolers. Wear full-sleeve clothes and use mosquito repellents. Using mosquito nets is also a good idea. 5. Don’t let monsoon lure you into street food You aren’t sure what type of water your favourite street food vendor has used while preparing that aloo chaat. You cannot guarantee how well he would have washed the vegetables that go into the bhaji. Also, the food items can be exposed to the open air. Every time you fall for a street food item, you are more likely to contract a gut infection. 6. Clean your raw fruits and vegetables well Scrub your fruits and vegetables under running water thoroughly. Germs may thrive on the skins of fruits and vegetables. Try consuming well-cooked or boiled vegetables. It is not necessary to use a vegetable wash but washing vegetables and fruits in warm saline water is a good practice to follow. 7. Keep yourself physically active within home Rain and COVID situations might not allow you to venture outdoors. But, remember exercising not only helps you maintain weight, but it is great for your immune system as well. It improves your blood circulation and triggers release of the happy hormone (serotonin). You can try side stretching, jumping rope, yoga asanas, and dance. 8. Hand hygiene is crucial not only for COVID but also for monsoon illnesses Your hands are the main mode of transferring germs into your body. Wash or sanitize your hands before you eat something or even during travel. It is not only important for preventing spread of COVID-19 but also to keep other communicable germs at bay.COVID is far from over as yet!. Make sure to get tested if you experience the symptoms. Book a home sample collection here.A little care goes a long way in helping you stay healthy during monsoon. Make sure to prioritise your health and enjoy every season to the fullest.Explore preventive health checkups here.
Thyroid Test: Is Fasting Required For it and Other Questions Answered
Thyroid Test: Thyroid tests are a set of examinations done by doctors or other healthcare professionals to check whether your Thyroid gland is functioning appropriately. These test results help them to identify the root cause behind the conditions of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in front of your neck that produces two major hormones, the Thyroxine (T4) hormone and Triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones play the primary role in controlling the energy usage in our body and hence impact most of the vital organs, including the Heart. Having a healthy level of thyroid hormones helps your body perform metabolic functions optimally. Book a thyroid test and know about your thyroid gland health. What Imaging Tests Do Doctors Use to Diagnose and Find the Cause of Thyroid Disease? Several imaging tests are required to get to the root cause of any disease associated with the thyroid gland and diagnose it. A trained technician should conduct these imaging tests in the doctor's office, outpatient centre, or hospital. Later, the reports of these tests are examined by the Radiologist and forwarded to your doctor for further diagnosis. Ultrasound Doctors prescribe an ultrasound test to detect the presence of thyroid nodules. These nodules are lumped in your neck, which can also be cancerous. An ultrasound test typically lasts for thirty minutes. First, it requires you to lie down on the examination table. At the same time, a trained technician runs a device called a transducer over your neck. This device converts the mechanical waves running down your neck into ultrasound waves, which produce an image of your throat on an ultrasound film. Thyroid Scan A thyroid scan helps the doctor to examine the shape, size, and position of your thyroid gland. A minimal amount of radioactive Iodine is used to detect the presence of thyroid nodules in your neck. As a result, doctors generally advise their patients to avoid food with high Iodine concentrations for at least one week before the test. For the test, you must either swallow the radioactive iodine capsule or inject it directly into your veins. Once your thyroid gland has absorbed the appropriate amount of radioactive Iodine, a special camera captures images of your thyroid. If the radioactive Iodine is seen to spread throughout your thyroid, it indicates that you are suffering from Grave's disease. You are advised to avoid a thyroid scan if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test This test is used to detect the causes of Hyperthyroidism. Your doctor will advise you to avoid food with high Iodine concentrations for one week before the test. You must swallow a small amount of radioactive Iodine during the testing procedure. The technician then places a gamma probe in front of your neck, which measures the amount of radioactive Iodine taken up by your thyroid. Different Types of Thyroid Blood Tests? To check whether your thyroid gland works correctly, your doctor might suggest some thyroid blood tests. These tests include the TSH test, T3 test, T4 test, etc. These tests require you to let your health care professional take your blood sample, which your doctor will examine later. TSH Test Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is a pituitary hormone that controls the secretion of T4 and T3 hormones in our body. The TSH test measures the amount of TSH in your blood. A high TSH level in your blood indicates hypothyroidism or a less active thyroid. It means that your thyroid is not secreting enough hormones. A low TSH level in your blood is a symptom of Hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid. It indicates that your thyroid is secreting too many hormones. T3 Test A high T4 and T3 levels indicate Hyperthyroidism, but sometimes, the T4 level in your blood can be average, but the T3 level is high. That's why the doctor suggests you sign up for both the T4 and the T3 tests. The T3 test measures the amount of T3 hormone, while the T4 test measures the amount of T4 hormone in your blood. T4 Test The T4 test measures the amount of T4 hormone in your blood to check your thyroid functionality. A high concentration of T4 in your blood suggests you are suffering from Hyperthyroidism. In contrast, a low concentration of the same is a likely symptom of hypothyroidism. Although, that's not always the case. Pregnant women or those who have taken oral contraceptives generally have high levels of thyroid hormones in their blood. Patients who generally intake corticosteroids for diagnostic purposes have low T4 concentrations in the blood. Certain illnesses and drugs alter the number of blood proteins that "bind" or connect to T4. Until required, bound T4 is stored in reserve in the blood. T4 that is "free" and unbound to these proteins can penetrate body tissues. Many medical practitioners prefer to evaluate free T4 levels because changes in binding protein levels do not impact them. If you're experiencing any symptoms of thyroid disease, it's important to talk to your doctor and get a thyroid test. There are a few different types of thyroid tests, which may include an ultrasound, thyroid scan, or radioactive iodine uptake test. Your doctor will likely also recommend some blood tests to check the levels of thyroid hormones in your body. These tests can help to identify the root cause of the problem and ensure that you receive the proper treatment. If you are diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, there are treatments available that can help you manage your condition and feel your best. If you think you may have a thyroid disorder, it's important to talk to your doctor and get a thyroid test. When Do I Need a Thyroid Test? One may need a thyroid test if you think you have symptoms of underactive or overactive thyroid gland. Having excessive thyroid hormones in your blood is called hyperthyroidism and insufficient thyroid hormones is known as hypothyroidism. Symptoms of Hypothyroidism Include following: Weight gain Tiredness Low tolerance for cold temperatures Irregular menstruation Constipation Hair loss Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism Include following: Weight loss Tremors in the hands Increased heart rate Puffiness Bulging of the eyes Anxiety Diarrhea Is Fasting Required for Thyroid Test? Usually,no special precautions including fasting need to be followed before taking a thyroid test. However, your pathologist can guide you better. For example, if you have to undergo some other health tests along with thyroid hormone levels, you may be asked to fast for 8-10 hours. Drinking water doesn’t come under violation of fasting. Should I Take Thyroid Tablets Before Thyroid Test? If you are taking medicines for thyroid conditions (thyroxine) to treat your thyroid disease, it is recommended that your blood sample be taken before you take your dose for that day. Have your medicine post the tsh test. Always consult your doctor for such suggestions as they know your health condition best and might advise otherwise too. Is There Any Common Medicine That Interferes With Thyroid Function Tests? Biotin (Vitamin B7) is a commonly taken over-the-counter supplement that can lead to some aberrancy in your thyroid function tests even when the values are actually normal. Avoid taking biotin 2 days before a thyroid function testing. Normal Reference Range for Thyroid Function Tests? Reference ranges for each value under thyroid hormone is not consistent for everyone. It differs based on certain parameters such as age, health condition, and the laboratory that performs the testing.Common reference ranges for the thyroid panel are enlisted here: TSH: 0.4 to 4.5 mIU/L (may be as high as 7.5 mU/L in 70 year olds) Free T4: Often falls between 0.8 and 1.5 ng/dL in adults. Total T3: 75 to 195 ng/dL (1.1 to 3 nmol/L) Check your tsh test report or ask your doctor for the normal/reference range. Most laboratory reports mention the reference ranges applied to your thyroid test, however, consult an expert to interpret the results. Also, since it is a panel test, values are generally interpreted together and not seen as individual numbers. What Should I Take Care of After Getting Tested for Thyroid Hormones? Once the blood sample for thyroid test is drawn, you can return to normal activities, including driving. A simple thing that you can follow is to avoid strenuous activity with the arm from where the sample was taken for a few hours after the tsh test. If you experience any pain or bleeding, apply (and do not rub) ice packs Can I Take Thyroid Tests During Pregnancy? Yes, you can if need be.In fact,it is not uncommon to have thyroid changes during pregnancy. While overactive thyroid affects about one in every 500 pregnancies, underactive thyroid happens in around one in every 250 pregnancies. If you have a pre-existing thyroid condition or develop a thyroid condition during pregnancy, your doctor will monitor your condition and ask for blood tests too. Most likely, your thyroid hormone levels will be checked every 4 to 6 weeks during the first half of your conception, and at least once after 30 weeks. A thyroid panel test can help identify various conditions including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Graves' disease, and thyroid cancer. For all your lab test related needs, visit Metropolis.
Antibody Test After COVID Vaccine: Making Sense of the Results
As more and more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 across the country and restrictions being relaxed, there has been a rise in the demand for COVID-19 antibody tests. Although antibody tests are typically taken after a person recovers from COVID-19, some people are now taking them prior to getting vaccinated, while some are getting the tests done after receiving the vaccination, to check the effectiveness of vaccines, and their potential against mutant viral strains. You may also be tempted to take an antibody test to check out whether your COVID vaccine was successful or not. However, there are mixed thoughts by doctors on whether antibody testing after vaccination would offer you any benefit or not. What is a COVID antibody test? Diagnostic tests for COVID-19, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can detect the viral genetic material present in the mucus and saliva whereas antibody tests, also known as serological tests can detect whether or not a person has been previously exposed to the virus or has recovered from the infection. It has been estimated that these antibodies typically can be found seven to 11 days after infection. Antibody tests typically measure two proteins created by the immune system- IgG and IgM. They can aid in evaluating the level of protective immunity an individual may have. This, in turn, is prompting people to undergo antibody testing after COVID-19 vaccination. How are antibody tests performed? Antibody tests are performed by drawing a blood sample from an individual, which is examined in a laboratory to check if the antibodies to COVID-19 are present or not. What an antibody test can and can’t signify? A positive antibody test is a sign that your immune system has fought off the virus either recently or in the past whereas a negative result signifies that there were not sufficient antibodies in your blood to diagnose an earlier COVID-19 infection or exposure. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that currently authorized SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests should not be used to determine a person’s level of immunity or protection from COVID-19 at any time and particularly after the person has received a COVID-19 vaccination. It is debatable and warrants further studies to appraise how long antibodies stay around in an individual’s body after getting infected with the coronavirus, or how much protective immunity those antibodies can provide. Investigators have suggested that the available COVID-19 vaccines target the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, so unless the antibody test is checking for antibodies specific to that protein, the outcome of the test does not hold any specific benefit. On the contrary, the majority of laboratories usually test for anti-nucleocapsid antibodies, which are produced by natural infection rather than created by the vaccine. Metropolis COVIPROTECT test looks for anti-SARS-CoV2 spike proteins specifically. Book here. FDA recommendations regarding antibody testing If you have not been vaccinated: A positive result from an antibody test does not specify that you have a specific amount of immunity or protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection If your lab test shows a positive test result on a SARS-CoV-2 antibody test, it may suggest that you were previously infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus Always talk to your doctor about the meaning of your SARS-CoV-2 antibody test results. If you have been vaccinated: If you have a positive result on a SARS-CoV-2 antibody test, possibility is that you may have been previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 A COVID-19 vaccination may also lead to a positive antibody test result for few but not all antibody tests However, you should not deduce the results of your positive SARS-CoV-2 antibody test as a sign of a specific level of immunity or protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection Talk to your doctor if you have queries about whether an antibody test is the correct test for you. Possible Risks of Inappropriately Using SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test Results Currently authorized SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests results should not be used to calculate an individual’s level of immunity or protection from COVID-19 infection. If you misinterpret the results of the antibody test as an indication of a particular level of immunity or protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection, it increases the risk that you may get careless and take fewer precautions against SARS-CoV-2 exposure. This negligence in turn, can increase your risk of acquiring and subsequently unknowingly spreading the COVID-19 infection. Bottom line Antibody tests are an appropriate tool to check if you have been previously infected with coronavirus as many patients are recorded as asymptomatic. However, if you take COVID-19 vaccinations, these tests may not always be advantageous in measuring your body’s immune response and or protection. This is particularly true for patients with compromised immune systems. Research is undergoing to evaluate who is at risk for a low antibody response and how these issues can be improved upon. Still, COVID vaccination is your biggest weapon against the possible third wave of pandemic. Make sure you get your jab and keep following all precautions at all times.
Low Vitamin D and COVID-19: Are they related?
Vitamin D Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which can be produced by exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet B rays of the sun activate a protein in the skin called 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC), which then is metabolized to the active form of vitamin D, which is vitamin D3. Dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolk, milk, cheese, beef or calf liver and certain fish, certain cereals, soy milk, etc. Vitamin D has a number of critical roles in your body. Among these, key functions include absorption of calcium that helps strengthen bones, efficient muscle movement, aids in nerve conduction to and from the brain. Besides, vitamin D is important for immunity as it helps regulate immune system to fight off invading pathogens like bacteria and viruses. Vitamin D and viral infection Various studies have shown that Vitamin D supplementation helps in reducing the susceptibility of developing a flu by acting as a physical barrier against the infection, or through modulation of natural and/or adaptive immunity mechanisms to reduce the risk of infection.2 Research also supports the finding that low levels of vitamin D increases the risk of community acquired-pneumonia. Get your vitamin D levels tested within the comfort of your home. Association of vitamin D and COVID-19 The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), responsible for the COVID-19 disease, has been implicated in the deaths of over 3.5 million people globally. Currently, there is no definite treatment available for this infection, hence, measures are being taken to discover aids that can help in reducing the risk of COVID-19. Moreover, owing to its high infectivity rate, the population also requires strategies that can limit progression and severity of COVID-19 infection. A study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, revealed that over 80% of COVID-19 patients in a hospital exhibited vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, the appropriate approach includes identification and treatment of vitamin D deficiency, particularly in high-risk individuals such as the elderly, patients with comorbidities, who are the main target population for the COVID-19. Moreover, low levels of vitamin D are associated with 3.7-fold increase in the odds of dying from COVID-19 infection. Similar findings were seen in a Asian study that showed vitamin D insufficiency might compromise respiratory immune function, increasing the risk of severity and death rate in patients with COVID-19. The most commonly encountered symptom in patients with COVID-19 is fever and dry cough, whereas severe forms of the disease can lead to the development of acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS). Researchers have found out that vast majority of COVID-19 ARDS patients had vitamin D deficiency, and these patients required longer mechanical ventilation and were associated with a higher death rate. In addition to ARDS, heart failure is one of the fatal adverse outcomes of COVID-19. Studies have shown that Vitamin D supplementation, because of its protective effect on cardiac muscle cells, can be beneficial by reducing the risk of heart disease in these patients. Besides, comorbidities like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity are considered as risk factors in increasing complications in people with COVID-19. Various studies have found strong correlation between deficiency of Vitamin D and increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Hence, the hypothesis suggests that its supplementation can decrease the likelihood of complications in patients infected with COVID-19. Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency has been related to reduced immune function and may enhance the cytokine storm and its supplementation may reduce complications related to cytokine storm and uncontrolled inflammation in people with COVID-19. Hence as per some experts, one of the management strategies for reducing severity and death rate in patients with COVID-19 should include normalization of vitamin D levels. Beneficial effects of vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19 patients Numerous research have shown that having healthy levels of vitamin D can help keep your immune system healthy and may protect against respiratory illnesses. Although there is currently no cure for COVID-19, studies have highlighted the importance of vitamin D supplements in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 complications. Some of the evidence suggesting benefits of vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19 are as follows: It has been reported that a high dose of vitamin D could reduce the need for intensive care stays in patients infected with COVID-19. Vitamin D supplementation was considered as a safe therapy, and it protected against acute respiratory tract infection. An Indian study suggested that high dose of Vitamin D3 (60000 IU) supplementation for seven days helps in coronavirus clearance. Although most older individuals, often have lower vitamin D levels and are most susceptible to COVID-19, a study showed that supplementation of vitamin D could decrease death rate in this group. Make sure to take extra care of your elderly. Book an exclusive health package for seniors. The general recommendation is to supplement people who do not belong to a risk group, are healthy with a recommended daily dose (800 IU). In view of the positive effects of vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D-deficient patients with COVID-19, few practical recommendations are as follows: Current public health guidelines for normalizing vitamin D status should always be followed Vitamin D levels should be measured in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 and should be supplemented to a level >30ng/mL (optimal 40–60ng/mL), specifically when the baseline level is <10ng/mL In Covid-19 patients with vitamin D levels under 20ng/mL, the recommended dose for correction of deficiency is 6000–7000 oral IU/ day for 6–8 weeks. For maintenance, the dose varies from 2000 to 3000 oral IU/day according to the age and clinical condition of the individual. To summarize Although India is a subtropical country with sufficient sunlight, vitamin D deficiency is extremely common. It is crucial for people to understand the importance of Vitamin D so that they can take relevant supplements to fill the gaps. Vitamin D will not prevent a patient from contracting the COVID-19 infection; however, it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected. It is hard to ascertain the most appropriate beneficial dose for COVID-19, it is evident that vitamin D deficiency is harmful, and can be easily addressed with implementation of low-cost and low-risk vitamin D supplementation. It is unclear how soon the majority of the population will receive vaccines, routine vitamin D supplementation to high-risk people such as the elderly, children, those who are malnourished, and those living in overcrowded environments can be a worthwhile exercise.
Common Monsoon Diseases in Rainy Season and Tips for Prevention
India usually experiences its monsoon between the months of July and September, however, this year monsoon has knocked our doors quite early. While the rainy season gives a break from scorching heat during the hot summers, it also brings a wave of various infections ranging from uncomplicated ones to others posing serious threat to you and your family. Monsoon diseases in India Monsoon, also known as the season of the flu, is regarded as the most fertile breeding season for harmful microorganisms. Owing to humidity, mud and stagnant water as means of propagation for multiple viruses and bacteria, the risk of infections in monsoon is higher than other seasons. Therefore, implementing a healthy lifestyle by improving hygienic living conditions can be a right precautionary step during this time of the year. Most of the monsoon illnesses share fever as the common symptom. A right diagnosis forms the cornerstone of getting the right course of treatment and helps you recover early. The most common monsoons diseases are transmitted through four primary mediums; mosquitoes, water, air, and contaminated food. Mosquitoes borne diseases: Monsoons are considered as the breeding season for mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. India faces a huge burden of mosquito-borne diseases, contributing 34% of global dengue and 3% of global malaria cases. Malaria: It is a life-threatening disease caused by plasmodium parasites, which are transmitted through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes Although, it is preventable and curable, it accounted for approximately four lakh deaths in 2019, globally Children aged under 5 years are the most susceptible group affected by malaria Its transmission depends on climatic conditions with peaks during and just after the rainy season diseases Symptoms usually appear 10–15 days after the infective mosquito bite, which can include: High fever in rainy season Body ache Moderate to severe chills Fall in body temperature resulting in excessive sweating Headaches Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea. Book Malaria Smear Examination here. Dengue: It is a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti Dengue virus usually produces only mild flu-like illness. However, occasionally this develops a potentially lethal complication called dengue haemorrhagic fever Symptoms usually persist for 2–7 days, after an incubation period of 4–10 days after the bite from an infected mosquito Dengue should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied with two of the following symptoms: Severe headache Pain behind the eyes Muscle and joint pains Nausea Vomiting Swollen glands Rash. Suspecting dengue? Get Dengue NS1 antigen test done. Chikungunya: Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes (Ae. aegypti) and is caused by the chikungunya virus These mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and can bite you not only during the night but also during the day The disease mainly occurs in Asia and Indian subcontinent. India reported 62,000 cases in previous years Symptoms usually occur 4-8 days later and include fever and joint pain. Advised for Chikungunya IgM antibody test? Book now. Tips for prevention from mosquitoes borne diseases Malaria, dengue, and chikungunya usually present with high fever, chills, body aches, and fatigue. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. Follow these precautionary measures as monsoons starts: Monsoon diseases Prevention for mosquito breeding: Don’t allow water to stagnate or collect anywhere in and around the house; Domestic water storage containers such as coolers, buckets, etc. should be covered, emptied and cleaned on a weekly basis; Dispose solid waste properly; Maintain hygiene and wash your bathrooms regularly; Properly use insecticides to treat water storage/outdoor containers. Personal protection from mosquito bites: Use personal household protection measures, like repellents, insecticide treated nets etc. These precautions must be implemented during the day both inside and outside of the home, as mostly mosquito bites throughout the day; Wear clothes that reduce skin exposure to mosquitoes; Sleep under an insecticide-treated net, which can reduce contact between mosquitoes and humans. Water borne diseases According to WHO, at least 2 billion people use a contaminated drinking water source, which is estimated to cause approximately more than 4.8 lacs diarrhoeal deaths each year. Children are the easiest victims because of a developing immune system and it has been reported that 2.9 lac deaths in children aged under 5 years could be avoided each year if they had access to safe drinking water. Typhoid: Typhoid fever is a life-threatening infection caused by Salmonella Typhi. It is usually spread through uncovered or spoilt food or contaminated water. Reports suggest that 11–20 million people get sick from typhoid and between 1.2 to 1.6 lac people die from it every year, globally. Symptoms include: Prolonged feverFatigueHeadacheNauseaAbdominal painConstipationDiarrhea A Widal test can help detect typhoid fever. Book here. Cholera: Cholera is caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It is associated with diarrhoea, which can kill within hours if left untreated. WHO reports that each year world faces 1.3 to 4.0 million cases of cholera Most of those infected have no or mild symptoms including watery loose motions with severe dehydration. Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a disease that affects humans and animals and is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. The bacteria spreads through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months. It occurs most commonly in monsoons due to contact with dirty water or muck/mud. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including high fever, headache, chills, etc. Besides, other commonly occurring diseases due to contaminated water includes jaundice, hepatitis A and gastro-intestinal infections like gastroenteritis. Tips of Prevention from food and water-borne diseases Ensure clean and safe drinking water Cautious about adequate sanitation, hygiene among food handlers Keep your hands clean by washing them consistently Always boil water and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption Ensure open drains and potholes in your locality are covered Do not swim in water that might be contaminated with animal urine Eliminate contact with potentially infected animals Get your children vaccinated if they are not already. Air borne diseases: Monsoon triggers multiple air-borne infections that are transmitted by tiny pathogens through the air, which results in flu, common cold, cough, and sore throat. Older people and children are more prone to infections during this season due to a weak or developing immune system. Common cold: Sudden fluctuations in temperatures during the monsoon can cause common cold and flu like viral infections. Common cold and flu have similar symptoms; it can be difficult to differentiate between them based on symptoms alone. Flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are more intense whereas colds are usually milder than flu. Influenza: It is commonly known as the seasonal "flu" and is caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It spreads easily from person to person through air. Flu usually comes on suddenly and can experience some or all of these symptoms: Fever or feeling feverish/chills Cough Sore throat Runny or stuffy nose Muscle or body aches Headaches Fatigue Vomiting and diarrhea. Book a Influenza profile and get to know what is causing the high temperature. Tips of Prevention from Air borne diseases Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing Keep your children away from people who are already infected Maintain proper hygiene by washing hands and feet thoroughly once children come home from outdoors Drink warm water every few hours Keep your homes are well-ventilated at all times Get vaccinated with the flu vaccine every year. Monsoon diseases prevention is always better than cure, therefore, it is essential to keep informed and protect yourself and your family from these common monsoon diseases in India. However, do not self-diagnose and avoid over-the-counter medication. If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. Make sure to rule out COVID-19 if you have flu-like symptoms. Book a home sample collection here.
Do you feel tired all the time? This might be the underlying cause
Do you feel tired and lethargic even after being well rested? Are you one of those who constantly complain of fatigue and exhaustion from performing the bare minimum? You need to pay close attention to this, as it might be an underlying symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It is a disorder that is characterized when a person feels too tired or exhausted, even after taking proper rest. It is sometimes also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).All of us feel tired, but when this tiredness starts taking a toll on your day to day activities, and lasts for more than 6 months, it is a clear sign of CFS. Other noticeable signs are when you often wake up tired in the morning, or wake up frequently at night without any apparent reason, have troubles doing multitasking, feel dizzy or just feel like lying or sitting again as soon as possible, finding difficulty in fulfilling responsibilities at home or at work. Know how well your vital organs are functioning with our exclusive TruHealth Health Package. Chronic fatigue syndrome is likely to occur two to four times more in women than men, especially women in the age bracket of 40-50. Though most cases are mild, 1 in every 4 cases develop severe symptoms later in their cycle. Nobody is safe from CFS, even children and teens can suffer from CFS. If you have light symptoms, you can manage fairly well, in case you have moderate symptoms, you might have problems moving around or working actively. However if you have severe symptoms, it can affect your life adversely and can be as bad as any heart disease or rheumatoid arthritis. Though these can vanish in some cases, what is known as remission, however these can also return or relapse. Looking for specific health tests for women? Book here. What causes CFS? Although researchers and doctors haven’t yet come to any conclusion as to what can be the cause behind suffering from CFS, some researchers claim that following factors might be held responsible: Compromised/weak immune system Excessive stress Hormonal imbalances Genetic predisposition Recognizing the symptoms of CFS Though the symptoms might vary from person to person, there are certain signs that can lead you to recognize chronic fatigue syndrome sooner and better. Many of the symptoms of CFS can also be attributed to several other medical conditions. One needs to be watchful of the following symptoms: Feeling tired even after a good night’s sleep Chronic insomnia Extreme fatigue after physical activities (known as post-exertional malaise (PEM)) Heart palpitations- fast or irregular heartbeats Difficulty in concentrating Muscle pain Blurred vision or seeing spots Recurring headaches Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits Joint pain without redness or swelling How is CFS diagnosed? Currently there isn’t any particular diagnostic test for CFS. In fact, as many as 84%-91% suffering from CFS are yet to receive a diagnosis. In CFS, people actually don’t look sick, hence the doctor cannot judge what condition they are suffering from. Your doctor might ask certain questions to rule out the possibility of other conditions to draw a conclusion. Doctors might want to know your medical history, they might order some tests such as vitamin D deficiency to rule out other potential causes of your fatigue. You doctors would want to make sure that you at least have the core symptoms previously mentioned, their duration and severity of your unexplained fatigue. They will also need to know the names of all the prescription and over-the-counter medicine you take, in case one of them is causing your symptoms. These may include any supplements, even so-called “natural” or “herbal” remedies that can have potential side effects, and they cause problems if used with other medications you’re taking. Tests like CBC blood tests or urine tests to rule out other conditions, such as anaemia can also be suggested. An underactive thyroid gland needs to be ruled out too. What is the possible treatment for CFS? Your medical examiner might suggest some over the counter medicines to tackle sleep disorders. Some doctors also suggest stimulants after weighing the pros and cons of this as it might not be the wisest option for people with CFS, as they can get irritated or agitated real quick. Medicines like ibuprofen or aspirin might help with the joint or the muscle pain that comes with CFS. For tackling orthostatic intolerance, other prescription drugs can be prescribed. Though there is a lot of research still going on in understanding and finding a cure for CFS, certain lifestyle changes can be beneficial in reducing the discomfort to a great extent. Managing CFS can be challenging for some; they can take help from doctors, therapists, or some support group to tackle the post symptoms of CFS as well as their transition phase to come out more relaxed and happy. Working closely with your doctor is the best option as there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for CFS. Making some positive changes in your day to day lifestyle can bring in great relief when dealing with CFS. Start with creating a regular sleep routine, if you are in the habit of sleeping in the afternoon, you might want to skip that and instead sleep on time at night. Avoid drinking alcohol and excessive caffeine, to ease insomnia problems. Make every effort to keep stress at bay, that’s really important! Yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, and massages from time to time can also help with relieving some pain that comes with severe CFS. Always consult a doctor before beginning either exercising or going for medication therapy.