The rise in air pollution, coupled with lousy lifestyle habits, is causing a spike in respiratory diseases. According to a Lancet report, the contribution of chronic respiratory diseases in India increased from 4.5 per cent in 1990 to 6.4 per cent in 2016. With respiratory issues on the rise, there is an increased demand for natural solutions to treat such issues. Instead of conventional medicine, people are turning to alternative medical therapies to find cures for ailments.
Common Lung Disorders
Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. This leads to narrowing of the air pathways and excess mucus causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. It is a chronic condition that interferes seriously with daily life.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs the airflow to the lungs. Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, mucus (sputum) production, coughing, and wheezing. It can result from long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. Those affected by COPD are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other conditions.
This is another variation of COPD. Bronchitis causes a similar build-up of mucus that can cause inflammation and coughing. The lungs' airways are constantly inflamed as chronic bronchitis often lasts for months on end. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include incessant coughing, whistling sounds while breathing, wheezing and a tightening of the chest.
It is said that the cure for all ailments is available the natural way. Here are some of the alternative medicine approaches to treat respiratory disorders.
Alternative Medicinal Approaches to Treat Respiratory Disorders
Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases. One of the primary causes of asthma is allergies, which often result from the food consumed. It is crucial, therefore, to first prepare a diet that is suitable for an individual. Often, dairy products, meats, and certain nuts can increase the production of mucus.
Foods like these must be avoided. Also, antioxidants can prevent damage resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Diet is important in this regard, as fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A, C, and E can improve the condition of COPD patients.
Yoga and Exercise
Treatment of lung disorders often involves the use of the lungs to promote healthy breathing habits. Exercises like cycling, swimming, yoga etc. that create a need for full capacity breathing are of great importance. Exercising the diaphragm is important and simple activities can go a long way in the treatment of the same.
Pranayama, the practise of controlled breathing, is an integral part of alternative treatment for people suffering from respiratory issues. This extensive breathing practice helps to expand the lungs and improve the capacity of the lungs, which helps an individual breathe more freely.
Nasal irrigation systems like JalNeti using a Neti pot can help to rinse the sinuses, which may provide some relief from symptoms of respiratory allergies.
The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate certain parts of the body. According to a study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people with allergic rhinitis who were given acupuncture treatments twice a week for eight weeks had fewer symptoms than those administered placebo.
It is important to remember that no one complementary or alternative therapy works well for everyone with respiratory issues. Therefore, a proper assessment is done before deciding on the approach to the treatment plan. For those considering alternative medicine for their respiratory problems, it is recommended to speak to an expert first and discuss the approach that may work best. (Vinoda Kumary, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute)
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Menstrual health comprises the physical, social and mental aspects related to menstruation or periods. In India, women's health has been given secondary importance due to a male dominant society, illiteracy, low socio-economic conditions and ignorance.
The most common causes of menstrual problems are PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), and abnormal or heavy menstrual bleeding. Menstruation or monthly periods have been associated with a lot of social and cultural taboos in India.
Many young girls and women do not have facilities to manage their menses hygienically, maintaining their privacy, dignity and gender equality at home, schools and workplaces.
So, what are normal periods? A normal menstrual period lasts from 2-7 days and comes at an interval of 21-35 days. It is difficult to quantify the actual menstrual flow. In general, use of three to four XL or regular size sanitary pads per day (since they need to be changed every six to eight hours) can be considered normal on an average, but it may vary depending on the individual.
Common Menstrual Problems
1. Menstrual hygiene
2. Menstrual flow
3. Menstrual cycle
4. Menstrual hormones
Menstrual Hygiene Related Problems: Use of unclean sanitary pads or clothes can give rise to genital tract infections, anaemia and urinary tract Infection. This can be prevented by social awareness and easy availability of affordable sanitary products. It is also important to have the right knowledge about menstrual hygiene to avoid such issues from taking place.
Menstrual Flow Related Problems: One can experience excess or scanty flow during periods. Usually heavy menstrual flow can be for 1-2 days but if it continues for more than 5-7 days, it can lead to low haemoglobin and anaemia. This definitely needs to be investigated and treated along with oral iron replacement therapy. The less flow or change in flow over years can be due to hormonal imbalance. This can occur mostly after completion of family in perimenopausal age.
Menstrual Cycle Related Problems: Irregular periods, skipping or not getting periods for more than six months (also known as secondary amenorrhoea) and bleeding in between periods (called inter menstrual bleeding) are a few problems under this type of problem. The most common cause for this is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), stress, anxiety and depression. Investigations in the form of pelvic sonography and hormonal investigations are necessary to make a diagnosis. Regular exercise, a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle changes are important.
Menstrual Hormone Related Problems: This usually gives rise to psychomotor issues. They can be symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) at any age group or peri/postmenopausal vasomotor symptoms after the age of 45. Bloating, breast tenderness, irritability and depression which occur premenstrually and disappear with onset of periods are classical symptoms of PMS. If they are affecting day to day family life, then it needs to be treated.
Every woman experiences menopausal symptoms in varying severity, starting usually 4-5 years before menopause. The night sweats, hot flushes, low moods, anxiety, irritability, joint and muscle pain, loss of interest in having sex, and weight gain are typical menopausal symptoms due to deficiency of oestorgen hormones.
No matter which type of menstrual problem you're facing, it is always advisable to visit a gynaecologist who will be able to identify all your queries after making the right diagnosis.
Nua, a new-age brand transforming the women's wellness space in India with holistic and personalised solutions that addresses real problems faced by women in managing their menstrual health and personal hygiene, provides an innovative range of products and services, including India's first customizable pack of sanitary pads and self-heating menstrual cramp patches, also available on a subscription basis. (Vaishali Joshi, #NuaExpert on Gynaecology, is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai)
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It is very common during the winter and monsoon seasons for us to be more susceptible to various infections. According to Ayurveda, a year is divided into 2 kaalas i.e., Uttaryana and Dakshinayana. Each kaala consists of 3 seasons, and so 6 seasons per year with each season persisting for about 2 months.
Uttaryana Kaala (14 January to 14 July)
Shishir Ritu (Winter) Mid- January to Mid- March
Vasant Ritu (Spring) Mid- March to Mid-May
Grishma Ritu (Summer) Mid- May to Mid- July
Dakshinayana Kaala (14 July to 14 January)
Varsha Ritu (Monsoon) Mid- July to Mid- September
Sharad Ritu (Autumn/ Fall) Mid- September to Mid- November
Hemant Ritu (Late Autumn/Pre-Winter) Mid- November to Mid- January
Out of these 6 seasons, Shishir Ritu (winter) extending from Mid-January to Mid-March is a period that remains cold and windy.
Ritusandhi: 'Ritu' means season and 'Sandhi' means junction. It Is a junctional period consisting of the last 7 days of the previous season and the first 7 days of the next season. During this period, our body is prone to infections.
The common ailments which occur during the winter season are:
Common Cold: A common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused mainly by viruses. It mainly affects children, old aged people and other immune-compromised individuals. The symptoms include throat irritation, cough with or without phlegm, running nose, sneezing, watery eyes, headache and a low-grade fever.
Stomach Flu: Stomach flu can spread rapidly during the winter season and is caused by the Norovirus. In this condition, there is an ongoing inflammation of the mucosal lining of the stomach. It can be easily transmitted through food and drinks and through feco-oral contamination. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhoea and stomach cramps. The person may also feel chills, headaches, fatigue and muscle aches.
Extreme Dry Skin: Dry skin also known as winter skin, is usually worsened during the winter season when the environmental humidity is very low. This is because of the cold and dry air which evaporates the water content of the skin very quickly, making it dry and tight. Skin can be prone to inflammations during this period.
Asthma: Asthma is a condition in which the airway becomes narrow and inflamed, leading to difficulty in breathing, cough and wheezing. For some Individuals, these symptoms may flare up during the winter season. The cold dry air can irritate the airways, producing more mucus and increasing the symptoms. Also, the cold environment can worsen airway constriction.
Flu: Flu is commonly mistaken for a common cold but both are different. It is a common viral infection that can be even life-threatening in highly vulnerable groups. It affects the lungs, throat and nose. Flu commonly affects younger and older populations and also people who have reduced immunity or other underlying chronic conditions. Symptoms include high fever, chills, sore throat, nausea, swollen lymph nodes and headache.
Wellness Tips for Winter Ailments
Practice Good Personal Hygiene: Practising good personal hygiene is one of the most important ways to protect yourself from getting infectious diseases such as stomach flu, common cold and flu. It also helps to prevent the spread of infection from yourself to the next person.
Yogic Kriyas: Practising yogic kriyas such as Jala neti will help to remove the excess mucous from the upper respiratory tract and help in the proper airflow without any obstruction. Thus it also helps in asthmatic conditions and alleviates congestion, allergies and cold. It should be practised under the guidance of a proper Yoga trainer. Care should be taken to blow the nostril properly after the practice to avoid headaches.
Basil: Basil has good antiseptic and antiviral properties and is recommended for viral infections like the common cold and flu. It also helps to liquefy the phlegm and is effective for cough and Asthma. It can be added as a topping to soups and sauces
Turmeric: Turmeric has a great antiviral property and acts effectively against the influenza virus. It is also rich in antioxidants and has an anti-inflammatory property.
Vitamin C Rich Foods: Taking Vitamin C rich food is essential for the repair of the tissues. It helps to improve the production of white blood cells and fights against infection. Vitamin C rich foods include Amla, strawberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, pepper, citrus fruits like lemon, orange.
Probiotics: Probiotics reduces the possibility of getting upper respiratory tract infections. They help to keep the immune system healthy. It includes buttermilk, fermented rice water, pickled vegetables, kefir etc.
Stay Hydrated: Having a sufficient amount of warm water will help to maintain the moisture content of the skin.
Hot Soups: Soups are a great diet to be added to our winter menu. This can be further enhanced by using various herbs and spices which are good for winters such as rosemary, oregano, ginger, garlic, pepper, cumin etc.
Exercise: Moderate exercise is extremely important to keep our metabolism high. We can get into cardio or yoga practices that help to elevate the body heat and to improve heart functions so that the circulation can be improved to different parts of the body. (Dr Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Director, Atmantan Wellness Centre)
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We live in a world where we take care of our skin more than we spend time healing our hearts, but who said we can't look good while doing both. Tanning is one of the most common beauty problems. With India's climate and scorching heat, we tend to get a suntan, no matter how hard we try.
Try the best sunscreen, or even wear full-sleeved clothes chances are that you may still get a tan. Besides, if you love to groom, getting rid of a suntan would be on top of your list.
So, let's dive deep into all you can do to treat a tan with these quick home remedies and/or products that would work best for your skin:
Coconut Oil: This is the first and most common choice. Coconut oil is packed with skin healing properties, from inflammation to soothing the skin, its the go-to for improving skin health. However, one should note that it is recommended that you use coconut oil during the night and not during the day -- especially in the sun; as coconut oil is made of 90 per cent saturated fats and is thick in nature, allowing it to capture unwanted heat which might damage the skin further, instead of making it better.
Scrub Grit: A fine scrub-like mixture of products like coffee, walnut, rock salt, and coconut oil have proven to be a great way to exfoliate and remove a suntan, especially from your arms, elbows, neck, and face. Several products are available in the market which offer amazing results when used 2-3 times a week.
Gram flour + Curd + Honey Homemade mask: When used together in a mask, these 3 ingredients consist of antioxidants, natural acids, and enzymes that help lower inflammation in the skin caused due to sun exposure, fight bacteria, heal skin and reduce pigmentation.
How can you make this mask?
Take 2 spoons of fine gram powder
Add 2 spoons of honey and add 2 spoons of fresh curd
Mix thoroughly and keep aside
Wash your face with a mild face wash
Dab your face with a towel
Now, gently apply the mask to your face and neck. (You can apply the same mask on your arms or legs.) After applying the mask, let it sit and dry for over 10-15 mins
Once it is about to dry, use cold water and scrub your face with the mixture on your face. After massaging your face, wash it with cold water, and pat dry with a soft towel. For best results, use this mask at least 2 times a week
Moringa Oil: Rich in Vitamin E, antioxidants, and behenic acid, moringa oil is age-old healing and beautifying oil that helps in reducing stubborn blemishes, scar marks, and suntan. You can apply moringa oil before you go to bed to allow your skin to absorb the oil as much as possible and do its magic. Take a couple of oil droplets and massage them on your face, arms, neck, and wherever you feel you have got tan. You'll see the result in a couple of days.
In the end, we want you to know why it is essential for you to take care of your skin from the sun in the first place. Why is protecting skin important from sunlight?
Sun is the most excellent source of Vitamin D however, even mild exposure to UV rays can affect our skin in more ways than we even know. If we spend excessive time under the sun, it can lead to temporary or permanent skin issues like sunburn or even skin cancer.
So, it's best you apply sunscreen before you step out, and also indulge in some skin healing therapies in case you spend too much time outdoors.
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London, Aug 9 (IANS) Pre-existing antibodies against human cold coronaviruses (HCoV) can likely confer cross-protection against Covid-19 infection, suggests a study.The study, led by researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), found that people who were infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, had lower levels of HCoV antibodies.Moreover, asymptomatic individuals had higher levels of anti-HCoV IgG and IgA than those with symptomatic infections.The study, published in Nature Communications, also showed that the levels of IgG antibodies against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 remain stable, or even increase, seven months after infection."Although cross-protection by pre-existing immunity to common cold coronaviruses remains to be confirmed, this could help explain the big differences in susceptibility to the disease within the population," ISGlobal researcher Carlota Dobano said.For the study, the team analysed blood samples from 578 participants, taken at four different timepoints between March and October 2020.They used the Luminex technology to measure, in the same sample, the level and type of IgA, IgM or IgG antibodies to six SARS-CoV-2 antigens as well as the presence of antibodies against the four coronaviruses that cause common colds in humans. They also analysed the neutralising activity of antibodies.The results show that the majority of infections among healthcare workers occurred during the first pandemic wave -- the percentage of participants with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies increased only slightly between March and October-from 13.5 per cent to 16.4 per cent.With the exception of IgM and IgG antibodies against the nucleocapsid (N), the rest of IgG antibodies (including those with neutralising activity) remained stable over time, confirming results from other recent studies."Rather surprisingly, we even saw an increase of IgG anti-Spike antibodies in 75 per cent of the participants from month five onwards, without any evidence of re-exposure to the virus," the study's senior co-author Gemma Moncunill said. No reinfections were observed in the cohort.--IANSrvt/vd
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 5 (IANS) The Kerala government has taken a lot of flak over its new Covid guidelines but the most stinging remark came from a bishop, who sought to know whether those took the decisions had taken a dose of "common sense vaccine".State Health Minister Veena George on Wednesday announced the new guidelines, which say that those who enter shops, banks and other establishments, should have got at least one dose of vaccine administered or produce an RT-PCR certificate not older than 72 hours.The issue surfaced in the Kerala Assembly too on Thursday and Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan led a walkout of the House in protest after George categorically said there would be no change in the norms.Soon after George's remarks, the Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church's Niranam Diocese Metropolitan, Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, in a Facebook post, asked if no one in the Covid Expert Committee taken the dose of "common sense" vaccine."The new decisions appear to be irrational as the new guidelines appears that those who go to buy their stock of liquor need not observe the rules what a person needs to observe when he goes to buy rice. It's really 'commendable' and we must accept the 'expertise' of the expert committee," he wrote.Before walking out of the Assembly, Satheesan said: "It's strange that to buy 2 kg of rice, one has to be either vaccinated or carry RT-PCR certificate. Fail to understand what sort of rationale and logic is being used."Incidentally, the relaxed new lockdown norms came hours after Kerala recorded 50 per cent of the daily new Covid cases in the country, and on Wednesday, 22,414 new Covid cases were reported.Meanwhile, social media was flush with activity, trolling the Kerala government's new guidelines. Many termed it as illogical as only around 50 per cent of the state population has received their first dose, thus forcing the remaining 50 per cent to remain indoors.And, adding insult to the injury came a fresh Central government guideline which has asked states like Kerala having a high Covid spread to ensure that strict adherence to Covid protocols and festivals should not see any sort of crowding.With Onam, Kerala's traditional harvest festival, coming soon, the new set of guidelines are going to create a lot of confusion.According to the new guidelines, all shops, tourism centres and other establishments should display the status of vaccination of employees and the number of customers permitted at a time. It shall be the responsibility of the owner of such establishments to avoid crowding inside and outside the shop. Enforcement agencies will conduct checks and take action to ensure the above.All establishments in the public sector, including government offices, PSUs, companies, autonomous organisations, and commissions will function from Monday to Friday.But was irked people was the stipulation that only those who have taken at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine two weeks prior, or who are in possession of RT-PCR negative certificate taken 72 hours before, or who is in possession of Covid-19 positive results more than a month old will be allowed inside shops, markets, banks, public and private offices, financial institutions, factories, industrial establishments, open tourist spaces and other establishments.--IANSsg/vd