Is your child overly emotive most of the times? It could be bipolar disorder.

Being emotive is a good thing. Showing true emotions is a matter of equality in all genders. But what if a child is overly emotive most of the times and experiences sudden mood swings more frequently than average? This could be a reason to be concerned. It can even indicate bipolar disorder. Even though the issue is diagnosed in older children and teenagers but children of all ages are also prone to get affected by this disorder. Feeling irritated or agitated are common amongst kids and is quite natural but if the rate of occurence is too high, it is highly likely to result in hypertension. This could further lead to serious depression in children.

Bipolar disorder is not the general mood swings a child faces but are the extreme recurring ones that bother the child. The bipolar symptoms often exhibit themselves through disturbed sleeping patterns, erratic energy levels and fluctuations in the overall attitude of the child. Keeping a track of what emotion shoots up and when can help with the diagnosis of the disorder as well. The condition technically does not have a root cause. It can through heredity or due to an anomaly in the brain structure of the child that changes the way it reacts to certain stimuli in the child.

With an early diagnose, the disorder can be treated effectively. The right combination of drugs include antidepressants, mood uplifters, and anti-anxiety medicines. The only issue with the treatment is the fact that a limited dose can delay the treatment process a bit however, it is always better to ‘start low’.
Therapy is another way to treat depression in children suffering from bipolar disorder.  Play therapy can work wonders with kids where a space of mutual communication is initiated and the child can explore ways to cope with his/her problems in a better way. At the time of treatment, not only a lot of patience, love and care are needed but also a strong support from the school and family is essential. School counsellors must help the child feel accepted and appreciate him in every way.

Patience is key when dealing with a child with bipolar disorder. That alongside medical attention from mental health professionals can help reduce the symptoms of the disorder and regulate their mood swings. Understanding your child’s requirements can be pivotal in ensuring they have a regular upbringing.

How to maintain a healthy gut clean especially during monsoons?

Monsoon brings with it several emotions to different people. Some love the rains, some despise the damp weather and some enjoy bingeing on spicy, fried snacks! Whatever might bring you delight, there’s no doubt that monsoon is one interesting month, even for diseases. Plenty of air-borne and water-borne disease are rampant during this season. Although they may appear to be inevitable, there are some easy ways to steer clear of any kind of disease during this time.

Some small alterations and adjustments in your diet can keep you far away from falling sick in your gut, this season.

  • Stay away from sugar
    Sugar, especially refined sugar is something you must completely resist. It promotes the growth of bad bacteria and obstructs the gut flora balance.
  • Welcome the bitter truth
    Include some bitters into your daily food intake in the form of fenugreek seeds, bitter gourds, bottle gourds, neem leaves, etc as they can help clean out your guts and keep a check on your digestive system.
  • Keep it light
    Eat more foods that are easy to digest and easier to excrete! Eat in shorter intervals and eat lighter foods that go easy on your stomach and your guts.
  • Squeeze the juices, please
    Drink plenty of fresh juices, provided they are made at home. Water flushes out toxins and boosts the digestive system. They replenish the lost energy caused due to humidity and provides you with a lot of energy. Outside vendors, however, impose the threat of having cut them earlier and exposing them to contamination.
  • Stay clean, avoid greens
    This might sound counterintuitive but as much as vegetables are good for your health and immunity, avoiding leafy vegetables during monsoon expose you to several risks. The dampness and grime make the greens highly susceptible to germs and bacteria. So, no to green for a short span is a good idea!
  • Ditch the fizz
    As mentioned before, your digestive system is already weakened due to the humidity. Drinking fizzy drinks can further deprive your body of essential minerals. It’s highly recommended that you stick to regular water or ever boiled water during this season if you are especially particular about your health.
  • Boost your probiotics
    Try and enhance the intake of natural probiotics such as buttermilk, yoghurt, fermented soya bean water. They contain good bacteria that can improve nutrition absorption.
  • Keep a check
    Above all else, make sure to visit the gastrointestinal doctor if you have loose motions, nausea, chronic stomach aches and vomiting since it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

In the light of making monsoons gut-friendly, these tips and suggestions can prove to of great help! So, keep making wise choices for your body and have a happy monsoon!

List of food items that are a no-no during monsoons

There are some seasons that you might love or hate but monsoons are another level of relief for one and all. As much as everyone loves to enjoy the rains in the monsoons, they come with their limitations and bring along with them a sudden change in temperature that more often than not results in different diseases. The humidity is the cause of various diseases like common cold, influenza, dengue, chikungunya, malaria and more. Being considerate about the surroundings and keeping safe, eating healthy and eating fresh can help keep away from all ailments.

Here is a list of food items that are a complete no-no during monsoons. Make notes, please.

Say bye to fries
It’s understandable to want to eat crispy fried potatoes or pakodas or even sweets, given the weather is nice and cosy-but that’s your biggest enemy. Your digestive system slows down during monsoons due to the high levels of humidity in the air. Consumption of such foods saturated in oil, grease and salt can cause adverse effects on your body.

Don’t go green
Yes, contrary to the fact that green leafy vegetables are great for health, eating them during monsoons can bring along infections. Due to the humidity in the air and because of the damp weather and the dirt flowing the air, green vegetables tend to get contaminated with germs which when consumed can cause stomach infections and food poisoning.

Steer away from street food
Street food like the chaat and the gol gappas not only make for a lip-smacking snack to relish but also are a time-saving, fulfilling snack. Being a roadside snack, chaats often is made with contaminated water. Contaminated water can lead to diarrhoea and jaundice.

See no sea food
Seafood or any aquatic food item must be strictly avoided during monsoon as it carries a high chance to be affected with cholera or malaria depending on where they have been bred. In fact, this season is their time to breed as well which implies that they could be carrying eggs or larvae inside of them. Since you don’t know when they have been caught, it’s safe to assume that the mothers may still have decomposing eggs or larvae inside of them that can cause food poisoning and extreme diarrhoea. So, it’s best to give it a miss.

Majorly raw food should also be avoided to keep off the germs as raw food comes packed with germs and viruses. It is also advisable to boil or steam food like mushrooms and peas to make them contamination free. Don’t forget to stay hydrated to keep your immunity intact and fight off germs and infections that occur during the monsoons. Happy Monsoons!

What do you do when someone you love has schizophrenia?

Having a family member or a loved one going through any medical condition is very difficult and schizophrenia is particularly difficult to handle. However, giving support to a family member or a friend with schizophrenia implies helping them with both medical and psychological guidance. Schizophrenia is a complex condition and needs to tended carefully. A loved one can have one of many types of schizophrenia, however, the way to help someone involves almost the very same steps.  One of the steps to providing someone with help with their mental health is to first learn about their condition in depth and understand the nuances of the same.

These are a few ways that can help expedite the process of helping someone with schizophrenia:

  • Get educated
    Schizophrenia is quite a difficult mental condition to understand. So, in order to help someone, you need to know about the illness in detail. The more information you have, the better you will be at guiding the patient. Knowing what the condition is will enable you to understand how to treat the schizophrenic person as well the people who stay around them.
  • Choose a goal
    Having a set goal will help you as well your family member stay motivated. The goal is to ensure the welfare of the person. It will enable you to achieve a particular routine that can help both of you stay on track and keep a check on the way the schizophrenic person is feeling at all times.

  • Keep Track of Details
    Ensure to go to all the doctor appointments with your loved one. This is a simple yet very useful step in helping the patient feel more comfortable. This will also help you understand their treatment plan better and give you an upper hand to guide them through it.  Your duty would be to ask as many questions you can and clarify every doubt that you may have. This process will help both of you deal with the situation in a better manner.

  • Some things to include in your questions are:

  • Any recent symptoms that they may have developed

  • Any other medical conditions that the may have been taking during the treatment

  • If you notice any new sources of stress

  • Support Groups
    Just like any other condition, allowing your family member to socialize with people with the same condition can help them cope with their situation better. Encouraging them to join a group can help boost their morale and give them an opportunity to feel like they belong somewhere. Sharing their experiences with group members can help them feel lighter and more connected.

Above all, being there and encouraging them to share their feelings with you can help them have an outlet to channel their emotions and thoughts. Mental support and guidance are key to reducing the symptoms of schizophrenia.

What causes Diabetes: Is it a lifestyle disease?

Diabetes is a condition where blood glucose in the body, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose in the food we intake is the main source of energy for the body. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps this glucose from food to get into cells to be used as energy. There are two types of diabetes, one being type 1 diabetes and the other being type 2 diabetes. Mostly type 2 diabetes is known as a lifestyle disease as this is the most common type of diabetes and is caused by factors like no physical activity, obesity and junk food intake, etc. Whereas type 1 diabetes occurs due to a change in the immune system of the body where the body’s system for fighting infection also destroys the beta cells of the pancreas that produce insulin.

Bad lifestyle choices tend to affect the development of Type 2 diabetes. Lack of exercise makes the body lethargic and add on the additional weight on the body. Unhealthy meal planning again does no good for the health other than accumulating unwanted fats and bad cholesterol in the body. A healthy meal including high in fibre foods and green leafy vegetables is really good for the body and reduces the chances of type 2 diabetes. Obesity is another culprit that promotes type 2. The lack of exercise leads to the body getting overweight which can turn things worse. Due to the heavy body weight, the body becomes insulin resistant which in turn adds on the glucose build up in the body leading to type 2 diabetes.

The doctors consider borderline diabetes when the reading is in the range of 100-125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) while the normal blood sugar falls in the range of 70 and 99 mg/dL. The stage where the blood glucose is higher than usual but not as high as to get diabetes is called prediabetes levels. Falling in the prediabetes level is considered to be an alarm where the doctors recommend such patients to make healthy lifestyle changes.

Losing weight and eating healthy can help prevent the development of diabetes. Physical exercises such as walking, running, jogging, aerobics or swimming are highly encouraged. These simple steps help in reducing the body mass index (BMI) which in turn helps in managing the type 2 diabetes without medication. Such small steps towards a healthy lifestyle can help reap long term benefits and keep diseases at bay.

How Essential Are Essential Oils: Busting Myths and Telling Truths

Essential oils are aromatic compounds extracted from plants. Carrying the plant’s scent and flavour, these oils are well known as the plant’s ‘essence’. Each oil has a different composition and thus each carries a characteristic essence. The process of obtaining essential oils is through distillation either by the steam of water or cold pressing of flowers and plants. The aromatic chemicals extracted are then combined with a carrier oil to form the final product which is ready to use.

There are diverse uses of essential oils. Some use essential oils mixed with vegetable oils, creams and with bath gels while some love to carry the essence on their palms by rubbing them on the skin or adding a few drops into their bath water.

Barring the fact that the essential oils are pure and natural, there are many myths that have emerged that it has begun to sound factual. Here is a list of myths and an attempt to burst them with facts all for good.

- The purity of essential oil is equal to the quality of the essential oil – the chemical profile of every essential oil is different and it varies according to the geographical region of its origin. Also, essential oils that are processed with different processes tend to be different. Thus purity and quality of oil only vary on the fact that what quality was better on your body.

- Essential oils get better with time – Every essential oil comes with a shelf life depending on its exposure with the air, warmth, and light. Mostly their life is between 6 months to one year.

- If you do not like the smell of a particular oil, it will not suit your body – This is a myth. Whether you like it or not, it is not related to the fact that the oil will work for you or not.

- Pure essential oils do not freeze. When not pure, the oil freezes – This myth falls flat on its face for the fact that all liquids including the essential oils freeze on reaching a particular temperature.

- Essential oils are natural and thus they are safe to be used – This is not true at all. Everything natural does not guarantee that it is safe. Each body type reacts differently to anything that is applied to it, thus a patch test is a must.

Keep in mind to not believe in everything that is being written online. Trust a few sources that write with deep research. Keep in a constant connection with your doctor to know how your body reacts to a particular fragrance or ingredient. Most of all, experiment with different oils and enjoy the benefits it offers!

Adults too can have Autism- Do you know how to find out?

Have you come across an adult who doesn’t make eye contact? Or someone who is brilliant in a field but is completely aloof when it comes to social interactions? Well, such adults may be autistic. However, we do know that autism is usually diagnosed in children but there are adults too who can be suffering from it. Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder(ASD) is characterized by a broad range of social and communication difficulties along with repetitive behavior. Decreased social skills, difficulty making and maintaining eye contact are some of the early symptoms of ASD. The condition is readily identified in children, however, screening for such behavioral issues have gained popularity only in recent times. Earlier such kids were just termed as ‘difficult’ and no medical intervention was sought. However such kids have now become adults and are identified as adults with undiagnosed ASD or as those with high-functioning autism.

It is possible for autism to be detected among adults of all ages, race, gender and socioeconomic groups. Symptoms of autism manifest in three broad ways- social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication as well as repetitive behavior.  Regardless of severity or manifestation, ASD has a significant impact on the day to day functioning of an individual.

It is not completely possible to cure autism, but with proper intervention and support, they can be trained to manage life and its various facets. Counselling as well as training them with definite skills and coping strategies can help them understand and manage behavioral responses.

 Screening and diagnosing autism in adults

Every person on the autistic spectrum exhibits different characteristics. Even the intensity of these symptoms may differ. The absence of an established procedure to diagnose ASD in adults adds to the issue. For screening and diagnosing here is a broad list of conditions:

  1. Difficulty understanding and managing high-level language skills. This can include verbal reasoning, problem-solving skills, making deductions and predictions.
  2. Difficulty in understanding social cues, body language and facial expressions.
  3. Difficulty initiating and maintaining a social conversation. A person with Autism may prefer monologues on a favourite topic.
  4. A tendency to prefer routine and repetitive actions. They may get agitated or anxious if there is any deviation.
  5. Difficulty understanding another person’s point of view and regulating own emotions
  6. Deep understanding and knowledge of a particular topic.

If you suspect yourself or an adult in your family to be on the Autistic spectrum, it is advisable to approach your primary care physician or a psychologist for diagnosis. There are some easily  available self-assessment tests that can help you determine the autistic spectrum you fall into. However, these are not absolute or correct indicators and should be used only as a referral point for your doctor.

Monsoon showers bring with them fevers: Why people fall sick when it rains

Monsoons come as a blessing to the cities that suffer from the extreme summer heat, by bringing rains and cold breeze. Despite being a blessing, monsoons tend to bring various maladies along with it too. With monsoon comes water-borne diseases that are communicable but are preventive too. After rains, some amount of water stays back in small areas creating a puddle or collect in tyres and empty planters, which become a breeding ground for the mosquitoes who then transmit diseases of different kinds. This is one of the reasons why people fall sick when it rains.

Influenza or the common cold is rampant during monsoons. Certain viruses infect the upper respiratory tract which affects the nose and throat resulting in cough and cold. Eating a regular healthy diet can prevent one from catching the virus and getting ill.

Cholera also is a monsoon disease that spreads during the monsoons. The bacterial disease is caused by the contamination in food and water which in turn causes diarrhoea and vomiting. Immediate access to clean drinking water and better-sanitized circumstances can help keep cholera away.

Typhoid is another waterborne disease that happens due to a bacteria called ‘Salmonella’ which again spread s through contaminated food with the faeces of an infected person. Patients tend to get a high fever, headache, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

People also tend to get Dengue Fever, a virus transmitted by mosquitoes typically the one with black and white strips. These mosquitoes generally bite in the morning and evening. The dengue mosquito bite leads to severe joint pain, headache and rashes well. It is advisable for the people to wear full sleeve clothing, apply high-quality mosquito repellent and seek to advise from the family doctors.

As understandable, it is not the monsoons that bring in the diseases but the living conditions around you. Simple steps like keeping the surroundings clean, emptying any vessel/place with stagnant water to avoid breeding of mosquitoes. Keep your hand sanitized properly and consume foods rich in Vitamin C and green leafy vegetables, also make sure to keep a distance from the people already infected with cold and cough. Avoid sharing food and drinks with them during this time. It is also advisable to keep dry or avoid staying in wet clothes for too long to dodge catching the viruses that might end up making you sick. Keep dry and keep clean!

Screen time for kids: Is there a reason to worry?

In today’s time and age, technology has advanced with the intention of making life easy for the masses like how a laptop is compact and highly accessible, like how mobile phones are little gadgets that encapsulate everything from calendars to calculators to calls. But since excessive use of anything is bad, mobile phones come with their own set of disadvantage.

Children and mobile phones have become like a flame to a moth. This is the reason why screen time for kids need to be limited, be it on the TV or computer or mobile phones. It is dangerous for the eyesight, their brain development and learning process. Our generation of kids is growing up with smartphones, tablets and other gadgets like PS4, Nintendo, etc that are a great distraction for the kids and the adults alike.

There is a reason to worry – the amount of time the kid spend watching the TV screen is unconsciously playing havoc in the child’s brain. According to many kinds of research, it has been found that kids spending more than 5-7 hours on watching TV suffer from premature thinning of the cortex which is the outermost layer of the brain that processes information. Excessive screen time also lowers children’s academic performance where it has been observed difficulty in conducting mental tasks efficiently by the kids. Kids who spend a lot of time on any type of screen do not tend to go out and play which adds to weight gain. This is because children are not conscious enough to know how much food they intake. Also, advertisements incite the kids to keep trying new things especially junk food available on offers.

At the time of sleep too the light emitted by the smartphones is not recommended for the children as it postpones the sleep cycle and reduces the amount of sleep the child gets. Less sleep increases the chance of mood swings and irritation in kids. Also, more screen time results in cutting the child’s communication with the family making the child feel isolated thus adding on to the feeling of introversion and hesitation in communication.

Screens especially phone screens emit harmful radiation that also adds on to the neck and back strain among the children. Hence, screen time should be limited to one hour for the children to protect them from long hours of exposure to the phone screens.

Spend quality time with your child and spare yourself the horrors discussed in the article! :)

Make your home safer for a family member with Alzheimer’s

Should a person with Alzheimer’s be kept in an old age home or specialized facility where they are looked after by medical experts? Or Is it possible for such a person to safely stay in their own home?
Well, it is possible to make your home safe for such an individual so that they can stay in a familiar space with their family. Alzheimer’s Disease is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that affects the memory and thinking skills of a person. The depletion of brain cells causes various physical and mental changes in individuals. Changes such as forgetfulness, loss of cognitive skills and the inability to perform day to day activities are to be expected. They might also be fearful or distrustful of their surroundings and can also face balancing issues. However, these issues can be managed if the family and caregivers consider all possible changes and make an effort to keep them safe. Also, there needs to be close monitoring as Alzheimer’s is a progressive disorder.

Here is a checklist that you can use as a reference point:

The first and foremost step is evaluating your home. Declutter the house to make movement inside the house easier. Place sponge lining on furniture edges, bright neon or glow-in-the-dark marking on stairs and replace patterned curtains with a plain one. A person with Alzheimer’s is unable to perceive depth, make sound choices and has difficulty understanding instructions. Excessive wallpaper/curtain patterns and wall mirrors can cause confusion so these are better avoided.

The bedrooms: The person will undoubtedly be spending a considerable amount of time here. You can make sure that the place is not cluttered and the electric sockets are covered. Also, avoid doormats, throw rugs or slippery mats here as they can trip/slip and fall. You can also install a baby monitoring device in the room so that you can reach out whenever needed and avoid accidents. Also, take care to keep medicines under lock and key so they do not unintentionally overdose on any. Avoid keeping electrical devices in the room like heating pads or electrical blanket etc.

The Bathroom: With the presence of water and soap in the bathroom, there is a considerable risk of slipping and falling. Make sure to install anti-slip mats here to prevent any kind of slipping and falling. Installing handlebars near the shower area can help the elderly by providing support when they need it. Understand their need for raised toilet seats or shower chair and invest in one. Alzheimer’s require long time care and these can come in handy. It is possible for them to accidentally lock themselves in and so remove all locks on doors to the bathroom. Also, make sure to install childproof cabinets in the bathroom. A ground fault circuit interrupter that can switch off power supply when wet and avoid passing on the shock is also advisable. To prevent scalding from extremely hot water, make sure to set the thermostat of the geyser at a lower level.

The kitchen: Invest in sturdy child locks and lock away all dangerous items that include knives, forks, cleaning chemicals, matches, plastic bags, etc. Do not keep artificial fruits and vegetables here and make sure to install a hidden safety valve for gas pipelines.

Caring for an elderly person with Alzheimer’s is quite similar to the care you would give to an infant or a toddler. Loads of love and patience is the key to a successful and stress-free atmosphere at home. Do take time to assess each and every room in the home as well as the furniture and fixtures to ensure a safe haven for your loved one.