Archive for April, 2020

The Importance of Immunizations

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

Immunizations are an essential part of healthcare. By receiving an immunization for a disease, a person defends him or herself against catching that disease. But the benefits do not stop there; society gains a collective immunization as more and more people become immune to a particular disease. Once a collective immunization has been established, once-dangerous diseases can be eradicated. Polio, for example, was eliminated by immunizations.

Vaccines are recommended throughout a person’s lifetime, with specific immunizations associated with different age groups such as infants, young children, preteens, adults, and older adults. Vaccination helps prevent dangerous infectious life-threatening diseases. For some diseases, vaccination provides lifelong protection, while for others the effect is diminished after a few years and booster doses are required.

Child vaccinations

You always choose the best school, safest toys, healthy foods for your child. However,  you might be unaware that one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations. Some parents are choosing to avoid vaccinating their children, this trend can prove harmful to society. Here are a few essential reasons to vaccinate your child:

  • Immunizations can save your child’s life: Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction– primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the great impact that vaccines.
  • Vaccination is very safe and effective:  Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent.
  • Immunizations can save your family time and money: Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills, or long-term disability care.
  • Immunization protects future generations: Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. If we continue vaccinating now and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.

Myths and Facts

  • Myth: It’s not necessary to vaccinate so early in life.
    Fact: The diseases these vaccines prevent are most deadly in the very young. Hence they are recommended at the earliest ages. Delaying vaccines until children are older simply puts infants and toddlers at greater risk for potentially life-threatening diseases such as whooping cough, measles and diphtheria.
  • Myth: The vaccine schedule is too aggressive and should be spaced out.
    The immunization schedule is determined by decades of medical evidence showing there’s an optimal window of time when vaccines are most effective in preventing — and children are most vulnerable to — these diseases. 
  • Myth: Vaccinations cause the diseases that they are meant to prevent.
     Vaccines don’t cause diseases as they don’t contain active viruses. Vaccines stimulate your immune systems to produce the antibodies needed to protect you from diseases. The process of producing antibodies can sometimes cause a low fever or minor swelling, but not the actual diseases.
  • Myth: Breastfed babies don’t need vaccines.
    Fact:  Breastfeeding is not a substitute for vaccination. Breastfeeding provides some protection against certain infections, like viral respiratory infections and diarrhoea. But this protection is incomplete and can be overcome if your baby is exposed to large amounts of a specific germ.
  • Myth: It’s not safe to get more than one vaccine at a time.
    Fact: Research suggests that it is safe for healthy individuals to receive more than one vaccine at a time.

Adult immunizations

Vaccines are not just for children, they are for adults also. Vaccines can lower your chance of getting certain diseases. Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to help you safely develop immunity to disease. This lowers your chances of getting certain diseases and suffering from complications. Here are a few vaccines common for adults:

  • Hepatitis B vaccine lowers your risk of liver cancer.
  • HPV vaccine lowers your risk of cervical cancer.
  • Pneumococcal vaccine is given to people over 65 years of age.
  • Rubella vaccination is given to females who are of reproductive age group.

COVID and Immunizations

The lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the future of millions of children globally as they may miss life-saving vaccinations. More than 100 million children are set to miss out on their measles vaccines this year due to lockdown designed to stop deaths from COVID-19, according to the World Health Organisation. The world is at risk of the worst outbreak of measles for decades due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Is your child due for a vaccine now? Worried about stepping out in the lockdown? Concerned about hospital visits in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? Consult experts at our Centre for Children and make a healthy and safe choice for your child.

Experts at out Adult Immunization Clinic help guide you about essential adult vaccines. Please find below website links for further reference:

Handling business stress in the times of CoVid lockdown

Monday, April 27th, 2020
  • BE POSITIVE – Remind yourself about what’s going right. In these difficult times, it is easy to only focus on the things that are going wrong. List out all your accomplishments and milestones you’ve achieved – There are probably more than you realize.
  • THINK DIGITAL – E-commerce platforms have become a key sector in the wake of the current pandemic.
  • RANK YOUR TASKS– Prioritize your goals. One of the causes of stress in business is having so many things to work upon that none of them get done! Rank your tasks from greatest to least. Focus on the most important ones, andthen move down the list. Do not get overwhelmed by the length of your list. Just focus upon what you need to do next.
  • STAY CALM – For business owners, there’s rarely a separation period between work and home. They’ll be constantly thinking about their business and the things they could be doing. Sometimes, they just can’t stop thinking about business, even when they’re trying to sleep. At this time, write everything down that the brain is trying to process. Write down the problems, possible solutions, miscellaneous notes, etc. After having written everything down, it becomes easier to relax and sleep, since the brain has put all thoughts in a safe place and doesn’t have anything more to process. The mind knows everything is waiting for later, and is assured about not forgetting anything.  
  • TAKE BREAKS– Stepping away from the problem for even few minutes can refresh and calm the mind. Taking breaks prevents burnouts. Do something that relaxes you. Go for a walk. Indulge in a hobby. Call a friend. Watch a funny video. Don’t do anything business related. Avoid excessive use of caffeine, nicotine or alcohol. Thus, when you get back to your business, you will have a clearer mind.
  • TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF– Good health is important to manage stress.  Exercise releases chemicals within the body which helps to tackle anxiety and depression. Even a small amount of exercise can reduce one’s stress. Keep hydrated. Eat small meals at regular intervals. Get good amount of sleep (at least 8 hours).When you’re healthy, the body can handle stress better.

Parenting in the times of CoVid Lockdown

Saturday, April 25th, 2020

With the nation-wide lockdown firmly in place, families are struggling with having their children at home all day. Happily, for many, school exams are cancelled and the pressure to study has been taken away for now. Yet for some the spectre of summer exams still looms.

Here are a few important things to remember now, and to take with you for the future.

  • IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA – Parenting during these times has taken on a whole new meaning with 24×7 access to social media. A barrage of WhatsApp messages telling of websites and apps that will not only keep your child busy but will also energise his/her brain on holiday. For parents who are already struggling to keep children busy, are these forwards helping?  Maybe, maybe not.
  • DISCIPLINE – For a child, some things should be non-negotiable e.g. food timings, study schedules, daily exercise, and proper behaviour. Let the child figure out the rest. Rigid formats can be a wet blanket. Not everything gets done every day, but let the child decide the schedules and how to get each of the activities done, based upon their preference.
  • COMPASSION – Allow your children to use this time to explore as they please. This could be a golden period that they might never get again.  Don’t be very strict about all the rules, all the time, about what they should do through the day.
  • DO THINGS FUN – Then there are the things you can do together for fun, like cooking, playing video games or indoor board games. Reading out stories to them, if the children are very small, is also a good way of spending time with them
  • SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – Teach them about social responsibility, by telling them, that we are staying home for the good of the nation and its people, and not just our loved ones.
  • DO NOT COMPARE – We expect too much of ourselves – cut yourself some slack. Don’t constantly compare yourself or your child to others. No one is a perfect parent!
  • TURN OFF THE CONSTANT ADVICE – ignore advice that doesn’t sit right with you, or that you simply don’t have the energy to follow! Do what you think is best for you.
  • ALLOW THE CHILDREN TO GUIDE YOU –Allow children to be happy in their own way. Ask your child what they need to feel happy. Letting your children being a part of some of your decisions lets them know that what they think and feel matters to you. Seeing the children happy is one of the best feelings in the world!
  • TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST – If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t look after anyone else. The same is true now, and always. Your emotional reserve needs to be functioning at its highest level so you can be there for your children when they really need you. Taking time out for yourself in order to avoid over-committing and over-extending is also a really good habit to demonstrate to your children. Children learn from not only what the parents say, but also by watching what they do. Happy Healthy Parents make Happy Healthy Children.
  • WELCOME THE NEW GENERATION – Generation Z is the post-Millennial generation defined as those born at or after the turn of this century. It should definitely be easier for Generation Z to stay indoors and be connected via the virtual world than the previous generations. Generation Z is different from previous generations in that they are more global and diverse. They have countless platforms and channels where Generation Z can connect and contribute.  Humanity has always looked to its youth for innovation, but today it’s happening faster and more frequent than ever before. As technology and connectivity rapidly evolves, so will the emerging generations.

-This blog is written by Dr. Shaunak Ajinkya, Consultant, Psychiatrist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Read his entire profile at:

Stress And The Lockdown – The Warning Signs

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

There is the ACTUAL CONTAGION, the actual disease of the pandemic itself. And then there is the SYMBOLIC CONTAGION characterized by a blitz of misinformation, uncertainty, doubts, fear and panic, where coping mechanisms become overwhelmed. Where thoughts/emotions/behaviors become uncontrolled and the mindset switches from “Living”to “Survival”.

Faced with sudden social isolation or quarantine, individuals may react with fear and anxiety, which can then give way to depression and despair, or anger and acting out. A person may be faced with the realization that their plans for their immediate future have suddenly to be changed. They may have to be taken to an unfamiliar setting and separated from their families. They could be anxious about their own health, concerned that they could fall ill at any given time. Their anxiety may likely be worsened if they feel they are unable to conduct their routine affairs or to provide for their dependents. Similarly, from the other side of the social isolation barrier, families and loved ones of those who are in quarantine and isolation may also be very concerned both in terms of their health and capability to provide for dependents in the absence of the isolated person(s). This coupled with loneliness,boredom,anger and frustration can be an explosive combination! This may give rise to symptoms of traumatic stress resulting in Adjustment Disorders, Depression, Phobic Disorders, Panic or Generalized Anxiety Disorders, Acute or Posttraumatic stress disorders.

How to recognize early warning signs of an emotional disorder –

  • unusual decrease in energy and activity level or listlessness
  • unusual restlessness and excessive worrying;
  • having trouble relaxing or sleeping;
  • severe anxiety or panic attacks
  • change in eating patterns;
  • easily startled and feeling as-if “on the edge” daily for most of the day;
  • constant complaining or blaming others without any reason with increased irritability and anger outbursts;
  • crying frequently;
  • recurrent unexplained headaches and other bodily pains,
  • increased use of alcohol, nicotine or other drugs;
  • excessive introversion or rebellious behaviors in children
  • some signs of anxiety in children may include bedwetting, thumb sucking, worsening of tics and hyperactivity

Tips to handle stress during period of social distancing:

1. BE REGULAR – Develop a daily routine

2. EAT small, regular, well-balanced meals. Avoid over-eating or fasting for long periods.

3. SLEEP – Get plenty of sleep, at least 8 hours per day

4. AVOID excessive use of nervous system stimulants like caffeine. Strictly avoid nicotine, alcohol and other addictive drugs which can lead to symptoms of withdrawal or unpleasant cravings.

5. WORK – Schedule a regular work pattern for office (if working from home)

6. SCHEDULE HOUSEHOLD TASKS – This can be shared with other family members too, if possible. This can lead to increased family bonding. But then the work needs to be done as fun activity or shared activity, rather than a burdensome task!

7. EXERCISE – Have a daily indoor exercise schedule, e.g. like skipping and on-the-spot jogging, sit-ups and push-ups. Even dance is good form of exercise. Yogic exercises are one of the best forms of indoor exercises. You may involve other family members too in your exercise routines. This too can lead to increased family bonding.

8. UNWIND – Do something fun after your daily tasksare over. Read your favorite book, listen to music or play your favorite indoor game. Practice deep breathing, stretching and relaxation exercises. For those having a tub at home, have a warm relaxing bath with aromatic essential oils.

9. DEVELOP A HOBBY – Learn something new – a language or a musical instrument or even how to type fast and accurately on a computer keyboard using both hands!

10. CONNECT WITH OTHERS – Share something positive or humor (jokes, poetry, funny stories, etc.) with your friends and family. Try to avoid sharing negative views and news. Social and news media are already filled that! If necessary, only occasionally you may share only the confirmed news and facts. Show empathy towards those who may be affected.

11. BE POSITIVE – Repeatedly remind yourself of the important and positive things in your life. Keep a diary of your thoughts. Write three good things that have happened to you during the day before you go to bed. Take this as an opportunity to try and help others. Do as much charity as possible in this hour of need.

12. POSITIVE SELF TALK– Tell yourself, “It is normal for people to experience stress and feel a bit anxious or low in this period of lockdown and social distancing. All have to go through with it. I am not alone. This too shall pass.”

13. SHUN NEGATIVITY – Don’t play the blame game. Don’t entertain the victim’s role in your mind. Take charge of your thoughts and emotions. If unable to do so, seek help from your nearest mental health professional.

14. OBEY THE LAW – Last but not the least, Social distancing means social physical distancing, not emotional distancing. People can remain in touch emotionally by means of telecommunication methods in the form of video calling, conference calling and online social media.

-This blog is written by Dr. Shaunak Ajinkya, Consultant, Psychiatrist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Read his entire profile at:

World Parkinson’s Day

Friday, April 10th, 2020

World Parkinson’s Day 2020 is on Saturday, 11 April 2020. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurogenerative disease that causes nerve cells (or neurons) in the area of the brain that controls movement to weaken and/or die. While healthy neurons produce a chemical called dopamine, which the brain needs a certain amount to regulate movement, weakened neurons produce lower levels of dopamine. What causes these neurons to weaken is currently unknown.

Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications and therapy helps control the symptoms. Occasionally, the doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms.


Parkinson’s disease signs and symptoms can be different for everyone. Early signs may be mild and go unnoticed. Here are the few signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s:

  • Tremor – A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers. Your hand may tremor when it’s at rest.
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia) – Over time, Parkinson’s disease may slow your movement, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming.
  • Rigid muscles – Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. The stiff muscles can be painful and limit your range of motion.
  • Impaired posture and balance – Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Loss of automatic movements – You may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk.
  • Speech changes – You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking.
  • Writing changes – It may become hard to write, and your writing may appear small.
Risk factors

One’s risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease can depend on the following factors:

  • Gender – Men are 1.5 times more likely to have PD than women.
  • Age – The risk of PD increases with age, although some people are diagnosed with early-onset PD before the age of 50.
  • Genetics – Most cases occur in patients with no familial link to PD, but some have an inheritance pattern involving certain altered genes that could increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
  • Environmental causes – Studies have shown a link between exposure to chemicals used in pesticides and herbicides – as well as metals and organic pollutants – and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Head injury – A history of head injuries can increase one’s risk of developing PD.

Parkinson’s disease is often accompanied by these additional problems, which may be treatable:

  • Thinking difficulties. You may experience cognitive problems (dementia) and thinking difficulties in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Depression and emotional changes. You may experience feelings of depression, emotional changes, such as fear, anxiety or loss of motivation.
  • Swallowing problems. You may develop difficulties with swallowing as your condition progresses. Saliva may accumulate in your mouth due to slowed swallowing, leading to drooling.
  • Chewing and eating problems. Late-stage Parkinson’s disease affects the muscles in your mouth, making chewing difficult. This can lead to choking and poor nutrition.
  • Sleep problems and sleep disorders. People with Parkinson’s disease often have sleep problems, disturbed night sleep, waking up early or falling asleep during the day.
  • Bladder problems. Parkinson’s disease may cause bladder problems, including being unable to control urine or having difficulty urinating.
  • Constipation. Many people with Parkinson’s disease develop constipation, mainly due to a slower digestive tract.

There are currently no blood or lab tests that can be used to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Neurologists make a diagnosis based on their patient’s medical history and an examination. At least two of the four following symptoms must be present over some time for a neurologist to consider Parkinson’s disease as a diagnosis:

  • Shaking or tremor.
  • Bradykinesia.
  • Stiffness in arms or legs.
  • Balance issues.
Facts About Parkinson’s

1. The cause is unknown and there is no cure.

What causes Parkinson’s remains largely unknown. Directly inheriting the disease is fairly rare. Only about 10 to 15 percent of all cases are thought to be genetic forms of the disease. The other 85 to 90 percent of cases are classified as sporadic (or occasional).

2. People with Parkinson’s can have a good quality life.

Regular medicines, therapy, surgical therapy and lifestyle modifications, like rest and exercise, help manage the disease.

3. No two people have the same symptoms.

The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease.

4. Exercise helps manage Parkinson’s symptoms.

For people with Parkinson’s, exercise is a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and activities of daily living. Exercise and physical activity can improve many Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

5. People with Parkinson’s are not always angry or sad.

Many people with Parkinson’s disease experience facial masking – reduced facial expression. They look serious or depressed but many times it’s just the disease that’s causing muscles in the face to be stiff.

COVID-19 and Parkinson’s Disease

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Since most people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) are in their senior years, take the below precautions to prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • In absence of water use a an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • If you notice any symptoms like cough, shortness of breath or fever seek medical help.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay at home.

Keep a stock of your essential medicines and keep your medical history file with your doctor’s details handy in case it is needed in event of a hospitalization.

At Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital we provide comprehensive care from diagnosis to treatment to surgery to rehabilitation for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. If you or a loved one are suffering from Parkinson’s disease, seek expert help at our Parkinson’s Clinic. Please find below link for more details: