Hand Hygiene to Stave off Coronavirus

The right way to wash your hands: A step to protect yourself against Coronavirus

According to The World Health Organization, Coronaviruses are large family viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). With the outbreak of the Coronavirus in China and subsequently in other parts of the world, people should be aware of the basic protective measures against the Virus.

One of the most important measures is to wash one’s hands frequently. Washing hands can slow down an epidemic. Since hands come in contact with so many different surfaces, it is one of the main sources of cross-contamination. Good hand hygiene can fight viral infections. Public health officials’ top advice when it comes to controlling the infections is to regularly wash hands with soap and water and with alcohol-based sanitizers when the hands are not visibly dirty. One should always remember to wash hands before eating or preparing food, after using the lavatory or taking care of someone who is sick and after getting off public transport.

Most of us are aware of hand hygiene but rarely pay attention to the correct steps that should be followed. Wetting the hands before applying soap is important because it helps in creating a good lather. It is preferable if the temperature of the water is 35 to 45 degrees Celsius. After creating the lather, thorough rubbing of the hands is instrumental in proper cleaning. Rubbing of the hands includes rubbing of the palms, the back of hands, interlinking the fingers, and cupping of the hands-on each other, cleaning of the thumbs and nails. Drying hands with disposable paper towels or automatic hand dryers are more hygienic than using a cloth and fabric towels.

People, during the face of an epidemic, should not be scared but informed and mindful. Knowing the prevention methods and educating others helps in staving off the spreading of infection. Knowledge of the symptoms and prevention methods will help individuals to cope with the spreading of infection and crisis.

What is a TMT test?

Treadmill test (TMT) is a form of exercise test where a stress test is performed while the person is exercising on a treadmill during the course of an Electro Cardiogram (ECG). The purpose of a TMT is majorly to compare blood circulation in the heart when the person is resting and when under optimum physical pressure. Abnormal heart rhythms can be detected while exercising and therefore diagnose the presence or absence of coronary artery diseases.

The test involves walking on a treadmill while the electrical activity of the heart is being monitored. The speed and incline of the treadmill are increased throughout the span of the test. The result shows how well the heart responds to the stress of different levels of exercise. The blood pressure, heart rate and electrocardiogram (ECG) are monitored before, during and after the test. Adhesive electrodes and mild abrasion are used to ensure good quality ECG. The person is advised to walk as long as possible because the test is effort-dependent.  It is also important for the person to tell the technologist if he experiences symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness and unusual shortness of breath or extreme fatigue. The blood pressure, heart rate, and ECG are monitored for 3 to 5 minutes after the exercise. The data is reviewed by a cardiologist.

The patient is advised against eating or drinking anything other than water for nearly 4 hours before the test. If the patient is diabetic, he should consult the doctor on the quantity of insulin that can be injected on the day of the test. If the person is under medicine for diabetes he should only resume taking them only after the test has been administered. Comfortable clothes and shoes should be worn for the test.

A TMT is performed to identify a congenital heart problem like Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) where coronary arteries get clogged, diseased or damaged. It is also used to determine the condition of the heart after a person went through angioplasty or heart-attack. Shallow breathing, dizziness, chest discomfort, and abrupt bodily weakness are some of the repressed conditions that can be detected through a TMT. A TMT can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of medicines on angina and ischemia.  It also helps in discerning any abnormal heartbeat rate because of exertion caused by exercise.

TMT is now widely available at a relatively low cost. It is used to estimate prognosis and determine functional capacity. It helps in assessing the probability and extent of coronary disease.

Hygiene Check

Hygiene Check: How often should you clean, replace certain household items like bedding, toothbrushes, pillows, towels

Your home is where you eat, sleep and spend a lot of your time in. But how hygienic is your home environment? Do you take the time out to clean and replace household items or do you lay back and let filth collect in your home? A sweep and a mop are not enough to do away with household dust and the growth of bacteria.

Here is a handy list of everyday household items that you should be cleaning and changing at regular intervals:

1. Pillows

While you might be washing your pillowcases from time to time, the pillow is not given as much importance. When left unwashed, your pillow collects dust mites, bugs, dead skin and a significant amount of fungi as well. To avoid this, just toss the pillows into the washing machine once every three months and remember to replace them every one or two years.

2. Bedsheets

We spend an average of 7-10 hours a day in bed, at which point our sweat, body oils, saliva, sexual fluids and much more accumulate on the bedsheets. It makes for the perfect breeding ground for dust mites, which can cause problems for those with respiratory issues. Bedsheets need to be washed on a weekly basis and thrown away after 2-3 years of its use.

3. Mattresses

If your bedsheets are not cleaned at regular intervals, your mattress will face the wrath of it. All the dirt that gets accumulated on the bedsheets will find its way to your mattress. Bed bugs are common critters often found breeding in mattresses are old and left uncleaned for long periods. For this reason, it is important to get your mattress cleaned at least once or twice a year and ditch it every eight years. A new mattress will give you better sleep as well.

4. Bathroom towels

It is important to wash your towels after every three of four uses. It may seem that a towel should be able to go longer without a wash since it is only used against our clean bodies. However, these towels are often left damp and warm allowing germs and bacteria to grow on them. Don’t forget to replace the towel every three to four years as they will lose their ability to absorb water making it easier for bacteria to grow.

5. Toothbrush

Unless you are looking forward to cavities, bad breath, and gum disease, your toothbrush needs to be replaced at least every 3 months. Do not wait around for your toothbrush looks like you need a new one. A splayed out toothbrush could harm your teeth while brushing causing tiny abrasions where bacteria can grow from. When it comes to a toothbrush, it is important to purchase one of good qualities.

6. Hairbrush

If you think about the times you have combed your hair with the same brush, it should be enough reason for you to clean your brush regularly. You can blame your greasy hair and dandruff on the unclean hairbrush that has collected all the sweat and dead skin cells from your scalp. At least once a week, clean your brush using hot soapy water and remove all hair caught in it. Dispose of it when the bristles begin to give out, preferably once every year.

While every household item has its own timeline for cleaning and replacing, the timelines get altered when you fall ill. If you’ve been sick for a few days, it is best to get it all cleaned from bedsheets to towels.

Tinnitus: Why are my ears ringing?

Tinnitus is usually a noise that a person hears consciously. The sound does not come from any source outside the body. Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying problem. The most common form is a high-pitched ringing in the ears. Other forms of sounds are also heard such as ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing and humming. The sound may vary from a low roar to a high squeal. Sometimes the sound is so loud that it interferes with one’s ability to hear properly or concentrate. Tinnitus can be perpetual or intermittent. There are two kinds of tinnitus, subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus includes sound in the ears that only the affected person can hear. It is caused by problems in the inner, middle or outer ear. It might also be caused by complications in the auditory nerves and auditory pathways. In very few cases the sound is objective which means other people can also hear the sound, especially a doctor when examining a patient. This type of noise is caused by cardiovascular or musculoskeletal movements or because of a middle-ear bone condition. Objective tinnitus is of a more serious nature.

Symptoms of tinnitus include non-auditory, internal, intermittent or continuous low or high-pitched sounds in one or both ears. It is advised to consult a doctor when tinnitus develops after an upper respiratory infection such as cold and it does not improve within a week. One should also consult the doctor if there are hearing loss and dizziness.

There are a number of causes behind tinnitus. Age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noise, earwax blockage and ear-bone changes are some of the causes. Some of the less common causes of tinnitus include Meniere’s disease, TMJ disorders, head or neck injuries, Acoustic neuroma, Eustachian tube dysfunction and muscle spasms in the inner ear.

Fatigues, stress, insomnia, depression, anxiety, lack of concentration and memory problems are some of the complications that arise from tinnitus.

In most of the conditions, tinnitus arises from something that cannot be prevented. However, some precautionary measures can be undertaken to prevent certain kinds of tinnitus. As long exposure to loud noises can lead to hampered hearing, using hearing protection and turning down loud volumes can prevent tinnitus. Regular exercise, eating right and developing other healthy habits to keep steady cardio-vascular health can also prevent tinnitus.

Mental Health: Multiple Personality Disorder

Multiple Personality Disorder (now Dissociative Identity Disorder) was first discovered by Dr. Jean Martin Charcot in the late 1880s. He was the chief physician at Salpetriere Hospital in Paris. He called this new disease Hystero-Epilepsy as the symptoms resembled two already discovered illnesses, Hysteria and Epilepsy. Ever since it was discovered, people have been fascinated with the illness which later came to be known as Multiple Personality Disorder.

The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual) defines Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) as a disruption of identity characterized by two or more distinct personality states or an experience of possession. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is considered as a severe form of dissociation in which an individual’s mental process produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions or sense of identity. There are various causes of DID. It may be trauma experienced by the person early in life. The dissociative aspect is considered to be a coping mechanism against adverse situations. Psychological response to interpersonal and environmental stresses, particularly during early childhood years often leads to DID. Emotional neglect and abuse in the early years interfere with personality development. Dissociation can happen even if there is no overt physical or sexual abuse. 99% of individuals who develop dissociation have personal histories of recurring, overpowering or life-threatening traumas or disturbances. Studies show that DID affects about 1% of the population.

The disease is associated with overwhelming experiences, traumatic events or abuse that occurred during childhood. Some of the criteria for the diagnosis include the existence of two or more distinct identities (or “personality states”). The distinct identities are accompanied by changes in behavior, memory, and thinking. The signs and symptoms may be observed by others or reported by the individual. The second trait is ongoing gaps in memory about everyday events, personal information and/or past traumatic events. The final symptom includes significant distress or problems in social, occupational or other areas of functioning.

There are sudden shifts in attitudes and personal preferences as DID is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality states or split identities. Patients often cannot recall key personal information. There are also fluctuating memory variations. Not everyone who suffers from DID experience the same symptoms or personality changes. For some, the “alters” are of the same age, sex and race. Each has his own postures, gestures and their own way of talking. It becomes highly confusing as the observers will see the same person behaving, talking and walking in different manners as each personality reveals itself and controls the individual’s behaviors and thoughts. This process of revealing is known as “switching”. Switching can take seconds, minutes or days. Some seek the help of hypnosis where the person’s different “alters” or identities may become responsive to the therapist’s questions. Other symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder are headache, amnesia, time loss, trances, and “out-of-body” experiences. Patients with DID have a tendency toward self-persecution, self-sabotage, and violence, both self-inflicted and directed towards others. There is usually a “host” personality who identifies with the person’s real name. The “host” personality, however, is often unaware of the presence of other personalities. The four main effects of DID are depersonalization, derealization, amnesia and identity confusion or identity alteration. Some other psychiatric disorders that might occur with DID are depression, mood swings, suicidal tendencies, sleep disorders, anxieties, panic attacks and phobias, alcohol and drug abuse, compulsions and rituals, hallucinations and eating disorders.

Psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and adjunctive therapy may help patients with DID. Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy. It is designed to work through whatever triggers the DID. The goal of psychotherapy is to fuse the different personalities into one. Clinical hypnosis can also be used to bring repressed memories to the front and work on them. Art therapies or movement therapies often help people to cope and connect with the parts of their minds that they have shut off to cope with trauma. This type of therapy is known as adjunctive therapy. However, there is no established medication treatment for DID.

Reference

  1. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder#4
  2. https://www.psycom.net/mchugh.html
  3. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/dissociative-disorders/what-are-dissociative-disorders

For ages women have been excluded from many aspects of socio

Painful menstrual cycles shouldn’t be the norm

For ages, women have been excluded from many aspects of socio-cultural life because of the taboos and myths that surround menstruation. It affects women’s emotional state, lifestyle mental health, and physical health. The exclusion of women from the “man’s world” stems from the myths and stigma attached to menstruation. Often a woman’s potential and capability is doubted because she bleeds. Whether it is running for political office or being taken seriously at home, women always have “crazy times” or “that time of the month” stamp they have to deal with.

A lot of women complain about having mood swings, severe cramps and it could be physically debilitating for many women. They take days off from work, but the truth of the matter is that periods are a very natural function of the female reproductive system.

 The challenge of addressing the socio-cultural taboos and beliefs in menstruation is compounded by limited knowledge and understanding of puberty, menstruation and reproductive health. In India the mere mention of the word is a taboo, this social belief appears to be a hurdle in the advancement of knowledge on the subject.  As members of modern, developing society everyone should fight against the misconstrued reality and bitter truths that surrounds menstruating women.

 Painful periods have been highly normalized in the past years. Women experience cramps in their lower abdomen and back, ranging from mild throbs to severe aches. The reason for period pain is prostaglandins, chemicals that uterus’ tissue lining produce to help the uterus contract during the menstruation cycle. Varying levels of prostaglandin production in the body determines the intensity of the pain. However, sometimes these painful menstruations can be a symptom of endometriosis. Lack of medical attention in these cases can lead to serious health risks in women. 1 in 10 women is affected by endometriosis during their reproductive years and has been estimated to affect 200 million women across the globe. This primarily happens because of the lack of awareness about it.

Dysmenorrhea is often mistaken as a regular side-effect of menstruation. Women usually take pain-killers to relieve themselves of the pain. Women often don’t realize the severity of the situation until it is too late. Therefore it is very important for women and health professionals to build open communication platforms and improve awareness around painful menstrual cramps. The taboo of being the silent and non-addressable state of menstruation is one of the main reasons why women themselves are not aware of painful period cramps. Therefore it is dismissed as a normal occurrence.

According to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom and justice. People talk about equality and fairness, yet something as natural as menstruation is kept under a veil. This secrecy violets the dignity and respect of women and hurts their identity, self-worth, and self-esteem. Menstruation is a normal physiological process, and in order to progress and combat the problems associated with it, it should be treated as such.

Cervical Spondylosis: Simple tips to deal with a painful condition

Cervical spondylosis is a medical condition where the vertebrae, discs, and ligaments in the neck or spine deteriorate leading in pains and swollen joints. Cervical spondylosis is also an aging phenomenon when the intervertebral discs go weaker and lead to bulging discs. As per medical reports, almost 85% of people over the age of 60 years live with Cervical spondylosis. The symptoms of Cervical spondylosis include weakness and pain and in some cases when the disc press on a nerve it can lead to loss of consciousness and difficulty in mobility. Here are a few simple tips to reduce the symptoms of Cervical spondylosis. Make a note -

  1. Keep a constant check on body posture. Make sure to keep your neck in a neutral position and not strain your neck. Keep your head balanced directly over your spine and not leaning to the left or right.

  2. Set your desktop screen to your eye level and your feet should be well supported on the floor. Keep your shoulders straight and back in a relaxed position and make sure you keep giving yourself posture checks every hour until it becomes your habit.

  3. Make sure to not rotate your neck. This might just lead to grinding your bones together. Keep your neck straight and occasional tilt your neck left and right gently. Keep your stress levels low, since the stress can lead to the perception of pain and make the whole ordeal even worse.

  4. Do not talk on the phone with a tilted head or leaning your head to one side to avoid pain. This helps in reducing strain on the neck muscles.

  5. One may also tend to do Neck Stretch – Keep your body straight, push your chin forward and softly tense your neck muscles in a way, hold for 5 seconds and slowly resume your position.

In case there is a perpetual pain the neck and the back, make sure to seek professional help if the pain stays for more than two weeks. A professional will help you with Xrays and chalk out an exercise regime as per your schedule and help you strengthen your neck, shoulders, and back. Other instant pain relievers, muscle relaxants, anti-epileptic drugs, and prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs might help you. Last but not least make sure to keep your body posture correct at all times. Stay fit and eat healthily!