Archive for the ‘ COVID-19 ’ Category

Getting back to work safely

Saturday, August 29th, 2020

The future of work looks very different than it did just a few months ago. While some will have to continue to work from home others may have resumed office and this may increase the rate of transmission. Exposure can occur in the workplace while commuting to work or during work-related travel. The employees and the organization both will have to find new efficient ways of working while ensuring everyone’s safety. As businesses reopen in the ‘New Normal’, communication and personal hygiene are more important than ever. Clear policies and messages, training, and constant reminders at the organization are required to increase the awareness of the new safety precautions. Following high levels of personal hygiene is also crucial to fight this pandemic.

Workplace safety protocols to be followed
The implementation of safety protocols will limit the exposure to COVID-19 and will, in turn, reduce the rate of transmission at the workplace. Both employers and employees must take utmost precautions to help reduce the spread of the infection. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

For employees:
Here are a few steps that employees can take to protect themselves and others at work:

  • Wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or to use hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Key times for employees to clean their hands include:
    • Before and after work shifts
    • Before and after work breaks
    • After blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After using the restroom
    • Before lunchtime
    • After putting on, touching, or removing cloth face coverings
  • Avoid using other employee’s phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment.
  • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of their elbow. Dispose of these tissues safely in a covered dustbin,
  • Stay home if they are sick and seek medical help if required.
  • Avoid sharing your lunch and eat your lunch in your own workspace.
  • Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (at least 6 feet) from others.

For the employers
Here are a few steps that employers can take to protect themselves and others at work:

  • Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of premises and frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs.
  • Call the staff to office in staggered shifts to avoid crowding.
  • Use thermal scanners to monitor the temperature at entrance.
  • Ensure regular supply of hand sanitizers(especially at the entrance), soap, and running water in washrooms.
  • Discourage visitors in the office complex unless absolutely necessary.
  • Encourage meetings via video conferencing.
  • Encourage email correspondence instead of physical copies.
  • Facilitate work from home option whenever required.

Healthy living habits for better immune health
A balanced and nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle choices will help reduce your risk of getting COVID-19. Maintaining a healthy diet contributes to high energy levels, improves your brain function, and helps ward off diseases. A strong immunity helps reduce your risk of getting the infection at your workplace or while you travel. Here is a routine that you can follow to help build a strong natural defence system:

Start your day with a healthy breakfast
Including vegetables like carrot, spinach, sweet potatoes, garlic, dark leafy greens, tomato, and broccoli; and fruits like papaya, oranges and other citrus fruits, that contain vitamins A, C, D, and E, and minerals like magnesium, selenium, and zinc to your daily breakfast routine is the first step to build up a strong defence system.

Get good sleep
A human body naturally repairs and recovers, during sleep, from all the wear and tear. Ensure that you get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily.

Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated flushes out all the toxins from the body. Have 8 to 10 glasses of water throughout the day.

Make some time for exercise 
Try exercises like power yoga, skipping, push-ups, jogging on the spot at home.

Practice meditation
A mere 10 minutes of meditation every day can make a big difference. A calm mind helps in better focus and helps strengthen your immunity.

The unlock has begun, the businesses are opening up and the world is getting back to the routine. Make sure you return even stronger and ensure your safety first as you start getting busy in various professional commitments. While attending meetings and finishing other pending tasks do not forget to maintain personal hygiene. Together we can help limit the spread of COVID-19 transmission. Stay safe and healthy as you get back to your workplace.

All about Thalassemia

Friday, May 8th, 2020

What is thalassemia?
Red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body; haemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries the oxygen. Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that affects the body’s ability to produce normal haemoglobin. People who have thalassemia produce fewer healthy haemoglobin proteins, and their bone marrow produces fewer healthy red blood cells. Haemoglobin is important because it lets your red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of your body.

In India, every year 10,000 children are being born with thalassemia which approximately accounts for 10% of the total world incidence of thalassemia-affected children. 1 in 8 thalassemia carriers live in India.  In India, there are nearly 42 million carriers of the β-thalassemia trait.

Thalassemia is caused by mutations in the DNA of cells that make hemoglobin — the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. The mutations associated with thalassemia are passed from parents to children.

Types of thalassemia
Types of thalassemia are defined by two things: the specific part of hemoglobin that is affected (usually either “alpha” or “beta”), or the severity of thalassemia, which is noted by words like trait, carrier, intermedia, or major.

Hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to all cells in the body, is made of two different parts, called alpha and beta. When thalassemia is called “alpha” or “beta,” this refers to the part of hemoglobin that isn’t being made. If either the alpha or beta part is not made, there aren’t enough building blocks to make normal amounts of hemoglobin. Low alpha is called alpha thalassemia. Low beta is called beta thalassemia.

When the words “trait,” “minor,” “intermedia,” or “major” are used, these words describe how severe the thalassemia is. A person who has thalassemia trait may not have any symptoms at all or may have only mild anaemia, while a person with thalassemia major may have severe symptoms and may need regular blood transfusions to survive.

The symptoms of Thalassemia include:

  • Slow growth in children.
  • Wide or brittle bones.
  • Weakness.
  • Pale or yellow skin.
  • Enlarged spleen.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dark urine.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Heart problems.

In some people, symptoms show up at birth. In others, it can take a couple of years to see anything. Some people who have thalassemia will show no signs at all.

With a mild case, you may feel tired and not need treatment. But for serious cases you need regular blood transfusions. A transfusion is a way to get donated blood or parts of blood that your body needs, like haemoglobin. How often you need transfusions can vary from person to person. Sometimes, transfusions of blood cause reactions like high fever, nausea, diarrhoea, chills, and low blood pressure.

People with moderate thalassemia have an increased risk of infection and also suffer from iron overload. Some people with severe thalassemia have other health problems, like bone deformities, heart or liver disease.

Living with Thalassemia
It is possible to live a healthy life with Thalassemia. Follow these health tips to stay healthy:

  • Don’t take iron pills.
  • Ask your doctor about supplements like calcium and vitamin D.
  • Stay away from sick people and wash your hands often.
  • Eat a healthy diet to keep your bones strong and give you energy.

Myths and Facts
Myth: Thalassemia carrier couples will always have Thalassemia Major children.
Fact: That is not true. When both the partners are Thalassemia carriers there is 25 percent chance of having a Thalassemia Major child, 50 percent Thalassemia Minor and 25 percent normal i.e. not even a carrier. And if only one or none of the couple is a carrier, none of the child will be a Thalassemia Major.

Myth: Thalassemia is not preventable.
Fact: Thalassemia is 100 percent preventable. Thalassemia can be easily prevented by pre-marital screening or early pregnancy screening followed by marriage counselling and antenatal diagnosis if required.

Myth: There is no treatment for Thalassemia Major.
Fact: Thalassemia Majors can live normal life if they are given adequate blood transfusion and iron chelation therapy.

Myth: Thalassemia cannot be cured.
Fact: Thalassemia can be cured by bone marrow transplantation but it requires HLA matched siblings. However, HLA matched donor is not always available.

Thalassemia and COVID-19

There is no evidence that thalassemia trait makes carriers more susceptible to the virus. Patients with beta thalassemia trait (or minor) have no increased risk of infection from the coronavirus, compared to other healthy individuals. Therefore it is best to follow the advice of regular hand wash and social distancing to prevent COVID-19.

Patients suffering from thalassemia major must continue with their blood transfusion schedule. Follow high levels of personal hygiene, wear a mask and practice social distancing at the hospital too. Check with your healthcare provider for the safest possible environment for receiving transfusions.

Get expert advice and treatment for Thalassemia at our specialised Thalassemia Clinic. Please find below link for more details:

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: