Cracked heels can be a hazard and cause of social embarrassment, especially while wearing open footwear. What makes people prone to cracked heels? People who have dry skin, in general, are more likely to have dry heels. Along with those suffering from psoriasis and eczema.
Prolonged standing, especially on hard floors
Wearing shoes or sandals with open back
Obesity, which increases pressure on heels
Skin conditions, such as athlete's foot, psoriasis, or eczema
As the winter season starts, the skin and hair start to get damaged due to dry and cold air. Cracked heels may be caused by any reason and it leads to some pain but this will easily be cured using home remedies.
Drink Plenty of Water: Water keeps your body hydrated. Drinking 3-4 litres of water per day is a must. This will keep the body hydrated and help to treat cracked heels since cracked heels occur due to dryness so water intake is a must.
Soak Your Feet: By adding a few lemon drops in lukewarm water and soaking the feet in it for around 15 minutes. Then scrub the feet using a loofah or soft brush, peeling away the dead skin and leading to the regrowth of new cells.
Use A Pumice Stone: Try using a pumice stone while taking shower thrice a week, don't overuse it. This will help to remove dead skin cells and maintain your feet soft.
Use Petroleum Jelly: Petroleum jelly helps to deeply moisturize your heels and also keeps your skin soft. Apply before going to bed and wear socks to lock its moisture.
Moisturize Your Feet Daily: Apply moisturizer daily, three times a day. This will keep your skin hydrated without getting dry or cracked.
Use Coconut Oil/Shea Butter: Apply coconut oil or Shea butter after soaking your feet. Coconut oil contains Vitamin E which will really help to get rid of cracked heels. Shea butter is rich in Vitamin A, E, and F that soothes and heals rough dry skin.
Mask With Banana and Avocado
Avocados are rich in vitamin A and E that helps to prevent skin damage and dry skin. The abundance of nutrients in bananas helps to keep up the skin elasticity and prevent dryness of the skin. A banana and avocado-based mask help to hydrate the skin of chapped heels, improving their appearance and overall health.
To start, prepare a mixture of ripe bananas and avocados. Apply the paste on the chapped skin of the heels. Leave on for half an hour and then rinse.
Cracked heels can be treated easily with these remedies. Along with them, wear the correct size of footwear and keep the feet covered and moisturized.
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About 9 in 10 people have lost some degree of vision during the last two years of Covid pandemic, health experts said on Monday. It is because most of them skipped their regular eye check-ups and follow-ups due to pandemic-induced lockdowns, fear among others.
Retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration have few or minor symptoms at first and are only detected by eye examination or a screening. These conditions have the tendency to create severe damage to the eyes if not timely intervened with.
"Unfortunately, 90 per cent of patients lost some degree of vision due poor follow ups, during the first and the second wave of Covid, especially the ones suffering from wet AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration).
These patients mostly missed taking their Intravitreal injection, owing to which the diseases progressed rapidly," Dr Ajay Dudani, CEO Vitreoretinal Surgeon, Mumbai Retina Centre, told IANS.
"Owing to the fear of Covid, we have witnessed a decline in patients coming for a regular eye check-up in the past 3-4 months. This has resulted in delays in diagnosis and treatment, which can compromise vision in the long run," added Dr Chaitra Jayadev, Senior Vitreo-retinal Consultant, Narayana Nethralaya Eye Institute, Bengaluru.
Doctors said that early detection and treatment is key to control the disease and prevent any loss in vision. The longer one puts off visiting the clinic, the worse the eye health will get.
"While we should take precautions during this Covid wave, patients should not delay visits for macular degeneration or diabetic macular edema, unless the patient has Covid symptoms," Dr Raja Narayan, the General Secretary, Vitreoretinal Society of India, told IANS.
"With the third wave, we are seeing a similar pattern from the past, as patient visits, especially amongst elders, have dropped by nearly 50 per cent. Since the retina cannot be replaced, missing an injection, or treatment follow ups, can magnify the eye disease," Dudani said. Doctors also encouraged patients to take up teleconsultations.
There are vision tests that one can undertake sitting at home, whose reports can be sent to the doctor for examination and further intervention.
"If patients experience symptoms such as blurred vision, sudden loss of vision or black spots in the visual field, they need to go for an immediate eye check-up, as these could be signs of diabetic retinopathy. To prevent worsening of such complications, diabetics must ensure that their sugar levels are under control," Jayadev said.
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Although Covid primarily targets lungs and is majorly a respiratory disease, the virus affects nearly all organs in the human body, including the liver.
A recent study led by scientists at University of Tennessee showed that up to 11 per cent of patients with Covid-19 have liver co-morbidities. And 14 per cent to 53 per cent show increased levels of liver enzymes - such as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) during the progression of the illness. Increased levels of liver enzymes can mean that a person's liver is at least temporarily damaged.
Some patients have very severe injury in the liver due to Covid. The most common are swelling in the liver, jaundice which means yellow discolouration of eyes and urine and derailment of liver function tests.
"It is commonly seen that nonspecific inflammation due to Covid is very common in the liver and manifests in various forms," Dr Shubham Vatsya, Consultant - Gastroenterology at Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, told IANS.
"A wide range of liver injuries seen in Covid infection can be completely asymptomatic. It can cause jaundice or it can cause liver failure," added Dr Jatin Agrawal, Associate Consultant, Gastroenterology. Max Hospital, Saket.
Further, people with cirrhosis (liver scarring) may be at increased risk of Covid-19. Some studies have also shown that people with pre-existing liver disease such as chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, or related complications who were diagnosed with Covid-19 are at higher risk of death than people without pre-existing liver disease.
According to Vatsya, "liver function involvement is seen with the original Covid-19 as well as the newer variants like Omicron. And vaccines have not been able to prevent the injuries related to Covid with the liver". "Preventing the Covid infection can help prevent an injury to the liver," Agrawal told IANS.
While vaccines can reduce the severity of the Covid infection, data on whether they can prevent an injury to the liver is "very scarce", he said. Agrawal said there are multiple ways viruses affect the liver and its functioning.
"One is the direct effect of the virus on hepatocytes chief functional cells of the liver and cholangiocytes (epithelial cells of the bile duct) via the ACE2 receptor, another is drug-related. Covid storm and sepsis also affect the liver," he said.
So the most important thing for prevention is "proper nutrition, intake of a high protein diet, which includes eggs, green leafy vegetables, paneer, that would help you maintain your immunity and it is a very important metabolite for the liver as well", Vatsya said.
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Long term exposure to ambient air pollution may heighten the risk of Covid-19 infection, suggests research.
The study, published online in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, showed that both Particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and 10 were significantly associated with an increased Covid-19 infection rate.
Every 1 microgram/cubic metre increase in long term exposure to PM2.5 was associated with a 5 per cent increase in the number of new cases of Covid-19 infection, equivalent to 294 extra cases per 100,000 of the population/year.
"Our findings provide the first solid empirical evidence for the hypothesised pathway linking long-term exposure to air pollution with the incidence of Covid-19, and deserve future generalisation in different contexts," said Giovanni Veronesi from the Department of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Insubria, Italy.
"Meanwhile, government efforts to further reduce air pollution levels can help to mitigate the public health burden of Covid-19," Veronesi added. While population density wasn't associated with a heightened risk of infection, living in a residential care home was associated with a more than 10-fold heightened risk of the infection.
The associations were even more noticeable among older age groups, indicating a stronger effect of pollutants on the Covid-19 infection rate among 55-64 and 65-74-year-olds. However, as this is an observational study, and as such, can't establish the cause, they said.
But long term exposure to air pollution also heightens the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases through persistent inflammation and compromised immunity. These same pathways may therefore be involved in the link between air pollution and higher Covid-19 infection rates, the researchers noted.
Further, drug treatment for diabetes, high blood pressure, and obstructive airway diseases, as well as a history of stroke were also associated with, respectively, a 17 per cent, 12 per cent, 17 per cent, and 29 per cent, heightened risk.
For the study, the team looked at long term exposure to airborne pollutants and patterns of Covid-19 infection from the start of the pandemic to March 2021 among the residents of Varese, the eighth-largest city in Lombardy - worst affected region in terms of both cases and deaths due to Covid.
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London- People with higher levels of T-cells from common cold coronaviruses are less likely to become infected with SARS-CoV-2, according to new research. The study, by Imperial College London researchers, provides the first evidence of a protective role for these T-cells.
While previous studies have shown that T-cells induced by other coronaviruses can recognise SARS-CoV-2, the new study, published in Nature Communications, examines for the first time how the presence of these T-cells at the time of SARS-CoV-2 exposure influences whether someone becomes infected.
The researchers also stated their findings provide a blueprint for a second-generation, universal vaccine that could prevent infection from current and future SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron.
"Being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus doesn't always result in infection, and we've been keen to understand why. We found that high levels of pre-existing T cells, created by the body when infected with other human coronaviruses like the common cold, can protect against Covid-19 infection," said Dr Rhia Kundu, from Imperial's National Heart and Lung Institute.
"While this is an important discovery, it is only one form of protection, and I would stress that no one should rely on this alone. Instead, the best way to protect yourself against Covid-19 is to be fully vaccinated, including getting your booster dose," she added.
The study included 52 people who lived with someone with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and who had therefore been exposed to the virus. The participants did PCR tests at the outset and 4 and 7 days later, to determine if they developed an infection.
Blood samples from the 52 participants were taken within 1-6 days of them being exposed to the virus. This enabled the researchers to analyse the levels of pre-existing T-cells induced by previous common cold coronavirus infections that also cross-recognise proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The researchers found that there were significantly higher levels of these cross-reactive T-cells in the 26 people who did not become infected, compared to the 26 people who did become infected. These T-cells targeted internal proteins within the SARS-CoV-2 virus, rather than the spike protein on the surface of the virus, to protect against infection.
Current vaccines do not induce an immune response to these internal proteins. The researchers said that - alongside our existing effective spike protein-targeting vaccines - these internal proteins offer a new vaccine target that could provide long-lasting protection because T-cell responses persist longer than antibody responses which wane within a few months of vaccination.
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The Omicron variant of coronavirus is not a common cold and should not be underestimated, NITI Aayog's Member, Health, Dr V.K. Paul said on Wednesday, noting it is the reseaon behind the collapse of health infrastructure in several countries.
"Omicron is not a common cold, it is society's responsibility to slow it down with vaccination and masks," he said. If we are seeing less hospitalisation, it is because of mass vaccination, he added.
"Vaccination is a critical pillar of India's Covid-19 response. Let's Mask Up and get vaccinated, whoever is due. It's fact that the vaccines are helpful to an extent," he said.
Dr Paul also said that the government is concerned about 'overuse and misuse' of drugs in home isolation. "There should be a rational approach for medicine use. We are concerned about the overuse & misuse of drugs. Don't overuse, it will have aftermath. Have warm water, do gargles in home care," he underlined.
About the new ICMR guidelines on Covid testing, Indian Council of Medical Research Director General, Dr Balram Bhargava, said that all symptomatic individuals need to be tested including all high-risk case contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases. Asymptomatic cases are not required to get tested unless they are at high risk.
Meanwhile, Joint Secretary, Health, Lav Agarwal, said that a sharp rise in Covid infections has been noted with the case positivity climbing to 11.05 per cent on Wednesday from 1.1 per cent on December 30.
Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Gujarat have emerged as states of concern, he said.
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