Almost a year ago, one of the busiest airports in the world- Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi had a deserted look brought about by the coronavirus. A year later, the airport has terminated operations on terminal 2 as a result of the reduced number of flights due to the second wave, which is turning out to be more deadly than the previous one.
The air travel industry has witnessed significant changes since the pandemic, even as two things remain constant - the threat from the virus and the effort to ensure a safer surrounding. While leisure travel has taken a halt, air travel still remains unavoidable for some - many people are returning home amid the second wave-to be with their families during these times or for other personal or family health emergencies
Cases reported on air travel spread have been minimal due to which flights are being considered as a safer travelling option, however, it is always good for travellers to be extra cautious and look out for their own safety and practice precautions while boarding a flight. While it is imperative to mask up, regularly sanitise and avoid unnecessary contact with people and surfaces, there are other things as well to keep in mind while taking a flight.
With the current safety concerns set to stay for the foreseeable future, EaseMyTrip.com shares with IANSlife list of precautions that a passenger should keep in mind while travelling by air.
Double Mask up for Maximum Protection
With the second wave of coronavirus spreading ferociously, people have realised the importance of doubling up the protection. Is double mask safer than a single mask? Indeed, studies done by Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that double masking can reduce one's exposure to the virus by up to 95 per cent. The CDC recommends layering a cloth mask over a surgical mask. Avoid combinations such as two surgical masks, or a K95/N95 and any other mask.
Also, Read► Caring for your liver during Covid-19
Minimal Contact Clothing
Such testing times require cautious approach even while choosing your outfit for air travel. It is advisable to cover your body as much as possible, so track suits are a good option. Travellers should also avoid wearing open toed shoes to ensure minimal contact. Wearing goggles can also add a protective layer for your eyes. It is also advisable to wear socks so that your bare feet don't touch the airport floor during security check.
Reduce, Disinfect Your Baggage
The more the merrier? This saying has gone for a toss, at least while travelling during the Covid crisis. Despite safety protocols in place, your bag will pass through several channels and people from check-in to the final destination. It is advisable to check-in fewer bags. In the event that reducing the baggage is unavoidable, it should be thoroughly cleaned using disinfectant wipes after the journey. Apply sanitizing gel to a tissue and make sure to wipe the handles and bottom of the luggage.
Edging Towards the Window Seat
A window seat could come with an extra jab of protection owing to the less exposure and movement of passengers, and thus avoiding unnecessary contact. A person sitting in the window seat will essentially reduce the number of people within your 6-foot exposure radius by half. An aisle seat should be avoided as travellers tend to visit washrooms, touch surfaces and walk by, increasing one's exposure to the virus. So make sure that you book your ticket and seat way in advance from a travel portal such as EaseMyTrip.com.
Maintaining Distance and Hygiene Over the Course of The Journey
It is difficult to give up on a sip or two of water throughout the course of the journey. With Covid around, it is advisable to carry your own bottle to minimise contact with people, which is a possibility at the point of sale. While there is very little you can do on the plane to maintain distance, ensure that you keep your distance from people in the terminal. Walk around the terminal while you're waiting for your flight as the seating area could be a point of infection. It is also advisable to clean and use disinfectant wipes for surfaces such as the tray table or in-flight entertainment systems that you will be using in the flight. Similarly, precautions should be taken while accessing washrooms at airports and on flights, including using elbows to open the doors. It is advisable to stay away from washrooms that are crowded.
While it may not be possible to avoid all points of contact, the current global crisis merits a heightened sense of caution, and it is important for travellers to be aware of their surroundings and take all possible necessary precautions from their end to ensure a safe journey. It is also advisable to look up state wise air travel guidelines and notifications listed on https://www.easemytrip.com/covid19-help.html to ensure that one is up to date with all necessary travel and airline information.
Read More► Can Gardening Be An Effective Way to Fight Depression?
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year and now its resurgence in the second wave we have been left unprepared in true sense to fight this biggest threat to human race in recent times. There are different aspects that need to be seen which in general can help us understand and plan better for future as this disease is here to stay and may not be gone so soon.
Issues with COVID Pandemic
COVID infection has posed a recent threat to mankind especially considering its intensity of spread and also severity and increased mortality in cases with comorbidities or older age. The best of the countries too have failed in providing adequate attention to ailing cases because of a simple reason of sudden rise in total number of cases in society surpassing limits that healthcare infrastructure can accommodate at any given time. Secondly, being totally new viral disease, assured and complete treatment and prevention will take time to develop by researchers. So to limit the spread and halt the rate of spread is the best way forward as of date.
COVID and Cancer
In the last one year, we have seen COVID infecting mostly older age group, but now even the young and children are getting infected in the second wave probably due to the new mutant variant. Although complications can arise in almost any case, mostly people with co-morbidities and immune-compromised state have been found to be infected earlier and also have more complicated clinical course with mortalities. Cancer being a known immuno-compromised state thus poses a risk factor. Moreover, issue with cancer is unawareness, late presentation and lack of timely treatment which has made cancer as one of the most dreaded diseases. With COVID scare in public - restrictions due to lockdown and prevention protocols, it has posed as a major roadblock in active management in needy cancer patients. This has left common public and also the care giver confused about the right approach in cancer care in this pandemic era.
Also, Read► Poor sleep may up dementia, early death risk among older
Effect of Covid on Cancer Management
Cancer is a disease that is known of stage progression if left untreated. Also, cure from cancer treatment largely depends on the stage that the patient presents. Thus cancer is a disease where we cannot hold treatment fearing a possible infection which may or may not affect the individual depending on exposure risk and on the contrary may also not be symptomatic or life threating even if infected, in all cases. At the same time in an already infected case, individual's capacity to fight infection in immune-compromised state created with cancer therapy and the risk of cancer progression outcome on survival if treatment delayed , is something that has to be weighed with caution.
Effect on Infrastructure and Care Givers
Apart from effect of COVID on individuals, the effect on infrastructure and care givers also decides the management in cancer cases. With sudden rise of Covid cases, as per government policies a big share of infrastructure (beds, ICUs, oxygen, medications, staff) is being diverted to COVID emergencies, which is logical too. However, this poses a serious threat to our capabilities of providing adequate care to non Covid oncological emergencies and timely intervention in needy patients. Although the priority between a COVID or an oncological malignancy is something that cannot be decided so easily, at least treatment related known morbidities and emergencies in cancer cases ï¿½is something that really needs to be looked into.
Lessons Learnt and Precautions for Future
To summarise, it should be known that COVID is here to stay. State, care givers and individuals in public have their own important role to play. First and the foremost role is of an individual to take all steps to avoid spread of Covid infection by social distancing, face masks and frequent hand-washing. Specific to cancer patients do understand that cancer growth will not stop so we cannot neglect this disease, be it a pandemic or no pandemic. Timely detection of symptoms, consultation by specialists be it physical with all Covid precautions or better by a virtual mode can atleast help detect urgency, stage and then prioritize treatment to see if it can be delayed or needs urgent start. Once diagnosed, care givers take all due precaution to decide appropriate treatments where routine management can be slightly modified with non invasive and less toxic therapies given priority.
Truncated iso-effective therapies needing lesser visits and monitoring if possible are preferred. More emphasis of preparing the patient for treatment with adequate nutrition, timely immunization prevention and preventive treatments to spare cases landing into severe treatment related complications and admission are advocated. Understanding limited resources especially as seen in this second wave, it will be prudent to choose alternatives where chances of medical emergencies and need of special care like oxygen and ICUs are reduced as far as possible.
Lastly there is a huge demand and need for the authorities from state health departments to understand the ardent need of expansion of our health care system, timely pre-planning of improving infrastructure and establish disaster management protocols where we are well prepared to fight such unpredicted emergencies and we have ample preparedness to support our ailing population in the time of need and none of them suffer due to lack of healthcare facilities at least. It's a ongoing battle, which we sure are going to win with patience, understanding, cooperation and collaboration.
Read More► Telangana decides to lift Covid lockdown completely
New York, June 19 (IAS) An analysis of brain scans from people once infected with Covid-19 suggest a consistent pattern in loss of grey matter over time, say researchers.The researchers affiliated with the University of Oxford posted findings ahead of peer review to medRxiv, drawing on data from the UK Biobank."Our findings thus consistently relate to loss of grey matter in limbic cortical areas directly linked to the primary olfactory and gustatory system," or areas in the brain related to the perception of smell and taste, the authors wrote.The team compared brain scans taken pre-pandemic to scans taken about three years later among 394 Covid-19 patients and 388 matched controls, reports Fox News.Further analysis included 15 hospitalised patients compared with 379 people who had not been hospitalised.The initial set of scans taken before the pandemic strengthens the findings, the researchers said, because they help differentiate the effects of Covid-19 disease from patients' preexisting health conditions.The team said the three areas revealing a "significant loss" in thickness and volume of grey matter among Covid-19 patients was the "parahippocampal gyrus, the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the superior insula," later adding that the "strongest deleterious effects of Covid-19 could be seen predominantly in the left hemisphere".The results from the comparison of hospitalised patients "were not significant," but authors noted "comparatively similar" findings to the larger group of Covid-19 patients, "with, in addition, a greater loss of grey matter in the cingulate cortex, central nucleus of the amygdala and hippocampal cornu ammonia".The team stopped short of pinning a causal relationship due to the study design, yet still expressed confidence in the results."By using automated, objective and quantitative methods, we were able to uncover a consistent spatial pattern of loss of grey matter in limbic brain regions forming an olfactory and gustatory network," the team said."Whether these abnormal changes are the hallmark of the spread of the disease (or the virus itself) in the brain, which may prefigure a future vulnerability of the limbic system, including memory, for these patients, remains to be investigated," they added.--IANSvc/in
Along with physical and mental health, sexual health problems are also aggravated by the ongoing pandemic, a primary reason being increasing stress due to factors such as job, work life balance, financial challenges, lack of socialising and strained relationships. A recent study has revealed that Covid-19 increases the risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED) by nearly six times.
Sexual health and wellness is defined as a state of physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual dimensions in relation to sexuality. Sexual intimacy is a highly stigmatised and taboo topic in India, and people are usually unwilling to talk openly about their sexuality and sexual health.
Stress directly affects our hormones and mood and can take away a person's libido, thereby affecting quality time of a couple. It can also cause one to indulge in smoking or alcohol consumption which in turn can adversely affect sexual performance. These can lead to problems such as premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, reduced libido, and male fertility.
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a common condition that can make sexual activity difficult. It may lead to a loss of intimacy in a marriage or long-term relationship, affecting the mental well-being of both partners. Some leading Indian andrologists share their thoughts on the recent study and the co-relation between the coronavirus and erectile dysfunction.
Also, Read► Plasma therapy boosts survival in Covid patients with blood cancers
Pramod Krishnappa, Consultant Andrologist, NU Hospitals, Bangalore tells IANSlife: "The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on humans causing both physical and mental illness. Although the lung is the most prominent organ affected, a recent research paper from Miami has revealed the presence of Covid-19 viral particles in the most sensitive organ, penis. The authors have also hypothesised that this widespread endothelial dysfunction could lead to erectile dysfunction. An Italian survey led by Sansone also revealed that the erectile dysfunction was common among those who had Covid-19 infection in the past and very aptly commented that "Mask up to keep IT up"."
Raman Tanwar, MBBS, MS, FMAS, MCh (Urology) Gold Medallist, Department of Urology and Andrology at Uro centre, Jyoti Hospital, Gurugram adds, "Covid-19 infection leads to widespread endothelial dysfunction which means that the linings of blood vessels do not function properly once infected. For erection the optimal function of blood vessel lining is needed and many studies across the world are finding an increased incidence of erectile dysfunction in patients who are positive. Studies have also pointed that those who have ED are more likely to have Covid-19 infection."
If an individual is diagnosed with ED, the first step is to reach out to a doctor as it can be a sign of underlying health problem. Heart diseases, clogged blood vessels, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, stress, depression and lifestyle habits like smoking and alcohol consumption are a few of the main causes of erectile dysfunction.
Vineet Malhotra, Clinical Director, Diyos Men's Health Centre shares: "The recent study conducted at the Miller School of medicine, Miami, USA notes the presence of Covid-19 in the penis even 7 months post infection. The increased risk of endothelial dysfunction can lead to a risk of erectile dysfunction in affected men."
Sanjay Pandey, Head of Uro-Andrology at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai tells IANSlife: "Covid-19 affects different men in different ways. There is a possibility that some men might develop ED after suffering from Covid-19. So particularly for young and healthy people who abruptly develop erectile dysfunction, and especially after having Covid-19, this can be a sign of something more serious going on. This could last for long term or short term. ED is usually a symptom of another medical condition. If your health isn't great to begin with, you're more likely to have severe or unwanted symptoms from Covid-19, such as ED."
Doctors suggest that with the number of cases increasing every day and multiple studies indicating that men are more prone to Covid-19, this study makes it more imperative that men must be extra cautious in their everyday life ignoring which could affect various aspects of their lives.
Read More► Covid: Common diabetes drug may help treat lung inflammation
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
Hyderabad, June 16 (IANS) A post vaccination study by Apollo Hospitals among healthcare workers at its units across India has revealed that Covid vaccines provided protection in more than 95 per cent of the healthcare workers.The results of the study, released on Wednesday, showed that post-vaccination infection (PVI) occurred in only 4.28 per cent of healthcare workers with no incidence of severe infection and no deaths.The study to evaluate the incidence of PVIs covered over 30,000 healthcare workers from 43 units of the Apollo Hospitals group across 24 cities in the countryThe study took place over four and a half months, from January 16 to May 30, 2021, and covered 31,621 healthcare workers who had received either both doses or the first dose only of the Covishield and Covaxin."This study reiterates the fact that our mainstay against Covid-19 is mass vaccination. Vaccines are not only safe, but they also help prevent severe manifestations of Covid-19 and will help save lives. The results of this large study across India make for a compelling case for citizens above the age of 18 to come forth and get vaccinated in order for us as a country to tide over the Covid-19 crisis," Apollo Hospitals Group Founder-Chairman, Dr Prathap C. Reddy, said."With greater availability of the vaccines in the coming weeks, the number of vaccines administered each day should increase. We should aim, to vaccinate 5 million Indians per day consistently. The main conclusions from the study are that post-vaccination infections are usually minor and vaccination helps to prevent severe infection, ICU admissions, and death," Dr Reddy added."This is one of the largest cohorts of vaccinated healthcare workers (HCWs) analysed in the country, so far. The 31,621 HCWs covered under the study were from 43 units of the Apollo Hospitals Group across 24 cities in the country. The HCWs covered various categories including doctors, nursing, paramedical as well as support and administrative staff. We thank them for participating in this study, which has helped highlight the role of vaccines in our fight against Covid19," Apollo Hospitals Group's President, Hospitals Division, Dr K. Hariprasad said."While the study emphasises the fact that Covid-19 vaccines are effective, it is important to continue with Covid safe behaviour even when fully vaccinated such as wearing a mask, sanitising hands, maintaining appropriate social distance, and avoiding crowds," he added.Group Medical Director and Senior Paediatric Gastroenterologist, Dr Anupam Sibal, said the results showed that PVI occurred in only 4.28 per cent (1,355/31,621) of the vaccinated healthcare workers. The finding also showed only 90 cases or 0.28 per cent (90/31,621) of cases required hospitalisation, with only three cases or 0.009 per cent (3/31,621) requiring ICU admission. The most important finding of the study was that there were no deaths in case of Covid infection after vaccination."Covishield was administered to 28,918 HCWs (91.45 per cent), while 2,703 (8.55 per cent) received Covaxin. 25,907 or 81.9 per cent HCWs were fully vaccinated, having received both doses of the vaccine, while 5,714 or 18.1 per cent had received only the first dose. Out of the fully vaccinated workers, 1,061 or 4.09 per cent reported post-vaccination infections, while 2,94 or 5.14 per cent of the partly vaccinated workers tested positive," Dr Sibal added.--IANSms/vd