Many people are complaining of fungal and bacterial ear infections, and the number has seen an uptrend during the rainy season. To avoid ear infections, keep your ears clean and manage red flags like reduced hearing, pain, and watery discharge, say experts.
Monsoon is pleasing, but it also brings a plethora of health problems with it. Ear infections are a common occurrence in monsoon. They can impact any part of the ear that is the inner, middle, or even the external ear. During monsoon, rain and contaminated water entering the ear invites fungal infections.
Likewise, increased humidity is the perfect condition for bacteria and fungus to grow. Moreover, debris in the ear and minor bruises from earbuds can also raise your risk of ear infections. Cotton buds, sticks may contain fungus, and once you put it in your ear, it starts growing there.
Dr. Purva Lunavat ENT Specialist, Apollo Spectra Pune says, "Those with ear infections may have symptoms like choked ears, inability to concentrate that affects productivity, irritation, and disorientation, itchiness, earache, decreased hearing, watery discharge, dizziness, severe headaches, and even fever. Compared to previous years, patients with ear infections are coming to the hospital for treatment even before the onset of rains this year. Generally, 7 to 8 new patients come to the outpatient department every day for treatment. The treatment for ear infections is cleaning of the wax buildup in which leads to infection, go to a doctor who will clean the ear. You will be asked to use ear drops to dissolve the ear wax and clean out the infection."
Dr. Lunavat added, "Do not put anything in your ears to clean them, as this may cause infections and injuries. Try to wipe your outer ears with a clean cloth to avoid fungal infection while swimming. Clean earphones when you get drenched in the rain. Don't put cotton swabs in the ear as they may trap bacteria in the ear. After a shower, dry your ears with a clean dry cloth. If you use headphones to listen to the music, use a disinfectant to clean it regularly. Get your ears checked by an ENT specialist after you notice ear pain. It may take around a week to clear out an ear infection, but if it still doesn't get better then consult a medical practitioner who may also advise surgery."
According to Dr Devyani Shinde, ENT specialist, Apollo Clinic, Pune, "Every year during the monsoons, there is an increase in the number of patients with ear fungus and infection. A fungal infection of the ear is called otomycosis, and this disease mainly affects the ear. Moisture in the ears during the rainy season increases the risk of fungal infections. Patients with the ear pain are currently coming for treatment in large numbers due to the fungal infection in the ears during the monsoon. About 100 patients come to me every month for treatment of ear problems, and around 50 of these patients have a fungus ear infection."
Dr Shinde adds, "Fungus is not so serious, but, it should not be ignored. Consult a doctor immediately, and who will prescribe medication and eardrops, and after five days, the ear is cleaned and the fungus is removed. In order to prevent ear fungus in the rainy season, keep the ears clean and dry after bathing. Avoid using earbuds to remove earwax. In addition, due to the humidity in the rain, excess consumption of cold drinks can affect the ears causing throat infection as the eustachian tube that connects the throat and the ear gets blocked. Therefore, the chances of getting ear infections are high. Cold and sour foods should not be eaten during the rainy season. In addition, if you have a throat infection, drinking tea, coffee or soup reduces the risk of ear infections. Many suffer from ear pain and ear blockages. However, ear infections can be different in each patient."
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Guwahati, June 17 (IANS) The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19, may have the ability to reactivate dormant tuberculosis (TB), according to study that is an alarming news for countries like India, which accounts for an estimated 40 per cent of the population with dormant or latent TB.The study, led by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, and University of Massachusetts, showed that infection with a specific coronavirus strain reactivated dormant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in mice.The results, detailed in the The American Journal of Pathology, may pave the way for new vaccines against the infectious disease and avoid a potential global TB epidemic."The finding of TB reactivation in a stem cell-mediated Mtb dormancy mouse model during MHV-1 coronavirus infection indicates that in the long-term, post-pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 virus might activate dormant bacterial infections. This is a significant finding considering the current coronavirus pandemic, where many individuals in India and other developing countries with dormant TB infection may see an increase in active TB cases post Covid-19," explained lead investigator Bikul Das, from Department of Stem Cell and Infectious Diseases, KaviKrishna Laboratory, IIT-Guwahati."There is an urgent need to study the association of Covid-19 with dormant TB reactivation to avoid a potential global TB pandemic," Das added.For the study, the team studied the coronavirus strain murine hepatitis virus-1 (MHV-1) infection in the lung in a mouse model (dMtb) of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-mediated MTB dormancy. This showed 20-fold lower viral loads than the dMtb-free control mice by the third week of viral infection and a six-fold increase of altruistic stem cells (ASCs), thereby enhancing the defense.TB was reactivated in the dMtb mice, suggesting that dormant TB bacteria hijack these ASCs to replicate in the lung to cause pulmonary TB. Results suggest that these ASCs are transient (they expand for two weeks and then undergo apoptosis or cellular suicide) and exhibit antiviral activities against MHV-1 by secreting soluble factors."It is important to understand the host defence mechanism against this disease to develop a better vaccine and/or treatment. We therefore postulated that, similar to bacteria, adult stem cells may also exhibit an altruistic defence mechanism to protect their niche against external threat," Das said.--IANSrvt/in
New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) National lockdowns and public health campaigns introduced at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic have reduced the transmission of deadly invasive bacteria that cause respiratory infections -- potentially saving thousands of lives, according to a large study published in The Lancet Digital Health on Friday.Diseases caused by invasive bacteria, including pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis, are leading causes of illness and death worldwide, especially among children and older adults. These pathogens are typically transmitted person-to-person via the respiratory route.The rapid spread of Covid-19 forced many countries to lockdown and create national containment policies leading to a significant reduction in people's movements in all countries.The study led by Oxford University researchers showed that all countries saw a significant and sustained reduction in invasive bacterial infections between January and May 2020 (around 6,000 fewer cases of invasive disease than expected), compared with the previous two years.For Streptococcus pneumoniae, infections decreased by 68 per cent at four weeks after Covid-19 containment measures were imposed, and by 82 per cent at eight weeks."These results clearly demonstrate that Covid-19 containment measures reduce the transmission of other respiratory pathogens and associated diseases, but they also impose a heavy burden on society that must be carefully considered. Therefore, ongoing microbiological surveillance, such as that shown in this study, is essential," said lead author Angela Brueggemann, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the varsity's Nuffield Department of Population Health."Public health efforts must also remain focused on protecting against life-threatening diseases caused by these bacterial pathogens, by implementing the safe and effective vaccines that are already available and in use in many parts of the world," she added.For the study, the team compared the number of infections reported for three bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Neisseria meningitidis, during the Covid-19 pandemic with the rates from previous years. Together, these bacterial species are the most common causes of meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis.Data were sourced from national laboratories and surveillance programmes from 26 countries and territories, spanning six continents.--IANSrvt/in
<br>This new study is published in EBioMedicine, a journal that publishes research works of translational biomedical research world over.According to this journal, the researchers have developed a test using patient blood transcriptomes and sophisticated computational modelling. A transcriptome is a full set of mRNA molecules expressed by a biological cell, and measured using Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies. During an infection, specific genes get turned on and these, in turn, lead to higher amounts of specific mRNAs and ultimately, higher amounts of the corresponding proteins."These biomarkers are different messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules found in the blood; differences in their levels can detect and predict with high probability if an infection is viral or bacterial," the study revealed.It also stated that the current Covid-19 pandemic is a grim testimony to the damage an infectious disease can cause to human health and welfare."A major challenge in treating such diseases is misdiagnosis, which can lead to trial-and-error treatments, and improper use of antibiotics. Identifying the correct type of infection is, therefore, critical," the researchers argued.The researchers elucidated that the human body responds to bacterial and viral infections differently and it produces different types of molecules -- such as proteins and RNA -- in the blood, depending on the type of infection."While antibiotics can treat bacterial infections, they are ineffective against viral infections. However, indiscriminate use of antibiotics to treat any kind of infection has given rise to bacterial strains that are now resistant to our entire arsenal of antibiotics. Antibiotics are given even for viral infections in some cases because of misdiagnosis. With current methods, it can take a lot of time to test for bacterial or viral infections," said study author Sathyabaarathi Ravichandran, a Research Associate with Nagasuma Chandra, Professor at the Department of Biochemistry.The research team added that a quick method to detect acute viral and bacterial infections and distinguish between them can be immensely useful in the clinic, as accurate diagnosis will win half the battle and guide the clinician towards the optimal treatment path."It will also prevent the rise of such antimicrobial resistance," the journal said.The scientists analysed transcriptomic data of patients (from publicly available databases, and samples collected from the Ramaiah Medical College in collaboration with a clinical team) and discovered a ten-gene RNA signature in the patients' blood that is produced in varying quantities for viral and bacterial infections.To make it useful in the clinic, the researchers devised a standalone score called VB10, which could be used for diagnosis, monitoring the stage of recovery after infection, and estimating the severity of the infection. VB10 accurately indicated whether a given blood sample had a bacterial or viral infection, across different bacteria and viruses and across different age groups.The authors suggest that the test could be useful for differentiating Covid-19 infection from bacterial infections as well.In the study, they looked at various viral infections for which transcriptomic data is publicly available. This allowed them to develop a generic VB10 test score for viral infections. As soon as transcriptomic data became available for Covid-19, the team tested their approach and found that the test scores could differentiate between SARS-CoV-2 infection and common bacterial respiratory infections.This work was done in collaboration with clinicians at the Ramaiah Medical College and researchers Amit Singh, Dipshikha Chakravorty, and K. N. Balaji, the Professor, Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology at IISc. The team hopes to begin a trial study to translate their research from the lab to the clinic."This test can be done using RT-PCR. Given how common RT-PCR has become due to the pandemic, getting this test off the ground should not pose a major challenge," says Chandra. The researchers expect it to be useful early on during the infection, and work against any strain. This can supplement the current Covid-19 diagnosis tests, they said.--IANS<br>nbh/vd
Bengaluru, April 20 (IANS) Ending the speculation regarding the examination, Karnataka Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar, after chairing a high-level meeting here on Tuesday, said that the Class 10 (Secondary School Leaving Certificate - SSLC) board examination won't be cancelled or postponed and would be held as per already fixed schedule from June 21, 2021.The minister appealed to all the students to keep studying. "The examinations will be conducted in June and July as decided earlier. There is no change in schedule for Karnataka PUC Examinations 2021," he said.The education department circular also stated that Class 10 board examinations for state board students (SSLC exams) will be held as per schedule from June 21 to July 5.Kumar's announcement assumes significance in the wake of speculations were rife at the possibility of cancellation of SSLC Examinations 2021 after Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) decided to cancel Class 10 board examinations 2021 last week and on Tuesday morning the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) announced its decision to cancel the ICSE or class 10 board examinations.Annually about 8.5 lakh students appear for the SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate or Class 10) examination that is organised by the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board (KSEEB) - state's education board.The KSEEB which generally conducts examinations in March/April of every year but due to prolonged lockout in 2020, this year's annual examinations are held in June. The Board also needs to reconduct the same examination in the month of June for the benefit of the students who fail in main examinations. Nearly 2.20 lakh students take the supplementary examination.--IANSnbh/rt
Mandi, April 19 (IANS) Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi have developed a novel virus-filtering, self-cleaning and antibacterial material that can be used to make and reuse face masks and other PPE equipment.The new masks can kill microbes, and are solar light-cleanable. It can also filter more than 96 per cent of particles that are in the size range of the Covid Virus (120 nanometres), without compromising on the breathability of the fabric, and could thus be a powerful tool to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other microbial infections, according to the study, published in the journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.The researchers have developed prototypes of a 4-layered face mask using the molybdenum sulphide (MoS2) modified fabric. The team used a material that is hundred thousand times smaller than the width of the human hair to confer antimicrobial properties to polycotton fabric. They incorporated nanometre sized sheets of MoS2 at the sharp edges and corners, which act as tiny knives that pierce bacterial and viral membranes, thus killing them."Keeping the urgency of the pandemic situation and cost-effectiveness in mind, we have developed a strategy to repurpose existing PPEs, especially face masks, by providing an antimicrobial coating to these protective clothing/textiles," said lead researcher Amit Jaiswal, Assistant Professor, at the varsity's School of Basic Sciences."The ananoknife'-modified fabrics demonstrated excellent antibacterial activity even after 60 cycles of washing," Jaiswal said. It also makes this an excellent way to reuse masks and reduce biological waste generation. The reusability of the fabric will also enable it to be integrated with homemade masks, Jaiswal said.In addition, when exposed to light MoS2exhibits photothermal properties, that is, it absorbs solar light and converts it into heat, which kills the microbes."Within 5 minutes of solar irradiation, all the MoS2-modified fabrics showed 100 per cent killing of both Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus," said the researchers in the study. Thus, merely hanging out the masks in bright sunlight can clean the mask and make it ready to wear again.The proposed materials can also be used to fabricate screens/sheets for creation of makeshift isolation wards, containment cells and quarantines for holding individuals who come in contact with pathogens.--IANSrvt/sdr/