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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Menopause symptoms are well known, however most women are unaware of a stage prior to menopause known as perimenopause. The condition and related symptoms are not common knowledge.
Perimenopause- The term means "around menopause" when a woman's body prepares for menopause. There is a depletion of estrogen or female hormone levels and women may not have monthly menstruation and thus cannot ovulate.
Dr Kavya Krishnakumar, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Motherhood Hospital, Chennai says that perimenopausal symptoms typically appear in women in their mid-forties. It is also possible that a woman would skip this stage entirely and go straight to menopause.
It's likely that your cycles are heavier because the lining of your uterus is thicker before being shed, says the expert. "A reduction in the hormone progesterone triggers this. It can also worsen other problems, such as fibroids (uterine wall growths). If oestrogen production is abnormal, small quantities of the uterine lining or endometrium can be shed, resulting in irregular vaginal bleeding. The time between ovulatory events can grow longer. The endometrium begins to grow throughout this period and can become very dense."
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Changes in Your Cycle
The first symptoms of menopause are typically shifts in one's period. Your time, for example, may begin to occur every six to eight weeks. You may have to wait a few months before it reappears. From time to time, you can experience a heavier or lighter flow. It's important to note, however, that you can still become pregnant during perimenopause, the doctor points out.
"As a result, continue to use birth control as normal in the months leading up to menopause. Also, if you haven't had your period in a while and aren't sure if perimenopause has begun, a pregnancy test is a good place to start."
You become flushed and begin to sweat for 5 to 10 minutes. Some women become slightly wet, while others become absolutely saturated in sweat. When you are awakened in the early hours of the morning, you can experience night sweats, she says.
Dr Krishnakumar suggests: "Deep breathing exercises can be helpful. It's also a good idea to stay away from things like hot weather, hot drinks, and spicy foods. As a natural source of oestrogen, try black cohosh or add soy to your diet. For moderate-to-severe symptoms, consult your doctor about drugs."
The vaginal canal is an estrogen-responsive organ. The vaginal lining is usually made up of cells that contain water, allowing it to expand properly. Therefore, it leads to the vaginal walls becoming flexible and expandable thus facilitating intercourse.
"However, with estrogen levels falling the condition is reversed where the tissues become thinner thus causing dryness. This can result in itchiness, soreness, and discomfort during sex, all of which can make you feel less ecstatic. Standard sex can help preserve the tone and health of the tissue. Other drug choices should be explored with your doctor."
Sleep Problems and Decreased Fertility
Perimenopause is known to disrupt natural sleeping patterns; depriving women of the deep restorative sleep they require to face the day. It can make you feel exhausted and exacerbate the other perimenopause symptoms. Hormonal shifts and night sweats will wreak havoc on your sleep. Good habits like maintaining a daily schedule and having enough time to fall asleep will help. Consult your doctor about medical options if your symptoms are serious. Since the ovulation is not regular conception can be nearly impossible.
Loss of Bone Density
Estrogen plays an important role in bone metabolism. Calcium in the bones is normally in a state of equilibrium, with calcium leaving the bone being replaced by calcium entering the bone at any given time. "This equilibrium is disrupted as oestrogen production declines and becomes more erratic, resulting in a net calcium outflow from bone. Osteoporosis, or reduced bone density, is a common disorder caused by a significant loss of bone calcium over time."
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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.
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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.
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Washington, June 16 (IANS) Among all patients infected with the coronavirus disease, more than 23 per cent continued to suffer from one or more health issues even a month after being diagnosed with Covid-19, according to a large study.Many patients recover from Covid-19 within a few weeks, but some exhibit persistent or new symptoms more than four weeks after first being diagnosed. Patients with such post-Covid conditions are variously referred to as having long-haul Covid, long Covid or post-acute sequelae of Covid-19 (PASC).The study by health care nonprofit FAIR Health analysed private health care claim records for nearly 2 million people diagnosed with Covid in 2020. The people in the study ranged in age from babies to the elderly; some 53 per cent were female and 47 per cent were male. The study has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.The five most common post-Covid conditions across all ages were pain, breathing difficulties, hyperlipidemia, malaise and fatigue, and hypertension. Pain, breathing difficulties and intestinal issues were the top conditions among the paediatric population (0-18). More than 25 per cent young individuals aged between 19 and 29 showed cardiac inflammation post Covid.Fifty per cent patients hospitalised with Covid-19 developed a post-Covid condition, while among the symptomatic patients not hospitalised, 27.5 per cent developed long Covid. However, post-Covid symptoms were also present among 19 per cent patients who remained asymptomatic.Most of the post-Covid conditions that were evaluated were associated more with females than males.Further, anxiety was associated with the highest percentage of patients after Covid-19 in all age groups. It was followed by depression, adjustment and tic disorders.The odds of death 30 days or more after initial diagnosis with Covid-19 were 46 times higher for patients who were hospitalised with Covid-19 and discharged than patients who had not been hospitalised. Among Covid-19 patients with preexisting conditions, intellectual disabilities were associated with the highest odds of death 30 days or more after initial Covid-19 diagnosis, the study showed.--IANSrvt/vd
Moscow, June 16 (IANS) Scientists at Russia's Gamaleya National Center claim to have identified a new variant of the coronavirus, dubbed "Moscow" strain as cases surge across the country.Scientists that designed the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine are studying the jab's effectiveness against the new strain, Gamaleya Center head Alexander Gintsburg was quoted as saying to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency, the Moscow Times reported."We think that the vaccine will be effective, but we must wait for the study results," Gintsburg said.While epidemiologists have confirmed mutated coronavirus strains originating from Russia, information about these strains remains limited.New strains emerging in Moscow couldn't be ruled out, Gamaleya's deputy head Denis Logunov was quoted as saying.The chief doctor of Moscow's main Covid-19 hospital Denis Protsenko said last week that hospital patients were not responding to treatments that were previously effective, indicating that mutated Covid-19 strains were present in the capital, the report said.Russia has seen a spike in infections of the deadly virus. On Wednesday, the country confirmed 13,397 new coronavirus cases and 396 deaths. Of these, 5,782 cases are in Moscow.To curb the dramatic rise in infections, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced a "non-working week" from June 15 to 19.Sobyanin has also introduced mandatory vaccinations for service sector workers in Moscow. Only 12 per cent of the country's population has received at least one dose of a Covid jab so far.--IANSrvt/vd