All posts by Ancy Abraham

Blogger, Author & Editor of Consumer Issues, Nature Lover and Walking Enthusiast. Worked as a magazine assistant editor for a consumer magazine. Writes about lifestyle topics related to health, food, shopping, etc. Writing for LST for the past 6 years.

Latest Lifestyle News, Babies ingest micro plastic Everday…..

Scientist discover a new organ in throat

Scientists in the Netherlands accidentally discovered a new salivary gland in the neck, while researching prostate cancer. There are perhaps hundreds of salivary glands, and this particular gland might be responsible for lubricating the upper throat, behind the nose and mouth. During cancer treatments, patients complain of side effects. According to the scientist, the detection of this new set of the salivary gland will help in sparing this gland during some treatments thereby reducing the side effects. The scientist named the “Previously overlooked bilateral macroscopic salivary glands” as “tubarial glands” and said, “Sparing these glands in patients receiving RT may provide an opportunity to improve their quality of life.”

Babies ingest microplastics everday through plastic feeding bottles

According to a new study, scientist found that babies fed with milk bottles consume millions of microplastics each day. According to the study, 82 per cent of the babies were fed by using the polypropylene plastic feeding bottles, and only a very marginal number of glass feeding bottles were used. The microplastics were released when hot milk or any other liquid was poured into the bottles, and also when the bottles were sterilized in hot water. Similarly, microplastics are released from plastic kettles and food containers.

An apple saves a man from Heart Failure

Proving true the adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, the modern-day Apple Watch saved the life of a Heart patient in India. 61-year old R. Rajhans was gifted an Apple Watch Series 5, by his son who studies in Harvard. The Apple Watch includes a feature to monitor the ECG. When Mr Rajhans, a retired Pharmacist, felt uneasy, he checked the ECG. He was feeling the discomfort in the night too. They shared their concern with the doctor and he was diagnosed with a valve failure, which could lead to cardiac arrest and heart-related fatalities. Surgery was performed and the mitral valve was replaced. Siddharth Rajhans, who worked in various companies in Silicon Valley, including Apple, informed Apple CEO, Tim Cook, about how the App save his fatther. Mr Cook wished him a speedy recovery.

28 year old doctor, a covid vaccine trial volunteer, dies

28-year-old, Covid-19 Vaccine trial volunteer, died yesterday in Brazil. The news was reported by the Brazilian Health Authority, Anvisa, however the Vaccine trials will continue they said. On te other hand, AstraZeneca, says that their trial volunteer, a Frontline Doctor, was not administered the vaccine. But there are claims made by the media that the person was given a shot of placebo and not the trial vaccine.

Saif acquires Rs 800 Crore Pataudi Palace

Saif Ali Khan buys back Pataudi Palace for Rs 800Cr. The Palace initially built by his grandfather, for his grandmother, was leased out for a hotel, by his father Mansoor Ali Pataudi, to run a hotel. Saif, who currently owns the property, wanted to regain the family property as his father and grandparents are buried there. When the opportunity arose he wrapped up the lease and took the ownership of the ancestral property. Saif, along with Karina and Taimur spent one month at the palace. He said that he was eventually planning to stay at the Palace.

News Courtesy Google News

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indian nurse to speak at WORLD LUNG HEALTH CONFERENCE

With President Clinton and WHO Director General, she shares the dias, at the World Lung Health Conference. Divya Sojan is a three time TB survivor, and a fighter to the core. Furthermore, She works as a nursing officer at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.

A doctor took note of her fighting spirit, and, in fact, he did not have a second thought while recommending her name as speaker for the World Health Conference. On publishing the list of speakers, to the surprise of everyone, those joining Divya as opening speakers included President Bill Clinton, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Director General of WHO), Princess Dina Mired, and actress and Union Ambassador Claire Forlani.

World Lung Health Conference

WORLD LUNG HEALTH CONFERENCE

In the 51st Conference on Lung Health, from 20-24 October 2020, Divya will speak about the impact of Covid-19 on those suffering from TB in India. Besides, President Clintion will be giving the key note address.

Orginally planned in Seville, Spain, an estimate of around 4000 delegates will be participating in the 5 day conference to be held virtually, this year.

“Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires strong leadership and we are thrilled to have two global health leaders like President Clinton and Director-General Tedros commit to speaking to Union World Conference delegates at this critical time,” said José Luis Castro, Executive Director of The Union.

“We will ensure that this year’s Union World Conference is a key platform for scientists, community, policymakers and political leaders to both deliver and promote solutions that can contribute to getting us on the path to end the pandemic. Scientific integrity and evidence-based policy must be at the heart of everything we do.” said José Luis Castro, Executive Director of The Union

“COVID-19 is a stark reminder of the vital importance of breathing, and the devastating effects of anything that takes our breath away, including tobacco, air pollution and diseases such as TB,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “The pandemic is a wake-up call to do everything in our power to make sure everyone, everywhere can breathe freely and cleanly.”

Meet Molly: helping the needy

Recognising and helping the needy and reaching them with the right kind of support is the gift, which only a very few possess. Molly Varghese is one such person who helps in whichever way she could the needy that came to her notice.

“Social work is my passion and hobby. I love people smiling after a small service given to them – that makes my day”, says Molly who distributed more than 1400 free food kits, during lockdown, to the underprivileged not possessing a ration card. A former military nurse of lieutenant officer rank, she even visited the Tihar Jail, few years ago, to offer counselling sessions for the inmates.

Lockdown Food Kits

The very first day of lockdown she realized the hardships that the poor will undergo. “I could not sleep on March 24th the day of declaring lockdown because I knew them who will suffer and I realised they were in trouble.”

The girl donated her piggy bank savings on her birthday to Molly Aunty to help the needy

“So I called social work partner Sonu Suhail and explained everything to him. With Rs 5000 donated by my daughter and Rs 5000 by another friend, on March 25th we distributed 20 food kits worth Rs 700 among slum dwellers, the place where we earlier conducted classes for the beggar children.” The food kit contained essential items like rice, wheat flour, oil and dals.

Numbers increased, until June 8th, daily 30-40 food kits amounting to Rs 4.5 lakh got distributed. Taking notice of her efforts, ChildLine provided a vehicle to distribute the food kits. Even now a few families are being supported until they become stable.

helping the needy
A little child wrapped in warm cloth inspiration behind the name Care & Share

First instance of helping the needy

Her first experience with social work began when a lady with two small children, a boy and a girl and a drunkard husband approached her. Molly helped the children get admission in renowned schools and now the boy graduated from DU and the girl is pursuing a nursing degree. “Since the children got daily guidance without fail they did not go astray. A help which later I understood was kind of social service.”

Finding a passion at 50

She became involved in social work at the age of 50, after fulfilling the duties of nurturing her only daughter. “At 50 years I had a conversation with Lord and I wanted to give back as I continued receiving blessings from Lord. ‘I said Lord “I am 50 now, all these years I spent time for my daughter and family. Give me something to do.”

helping the needy
The elderly lady lost is a mela (Village fair), later reunited with her family

Tihar Jail Visit

The first opportunity was the visit to the Tihar jail “Two years I heard their cries (some have convicted crimes too) and some yet to prove their innocence. After two years it was too much for me to take. It was too heavy to handle as they all prisoners waited for us as solace and to call their families. Prisoners’ family are the most affected because of the earning member and they get no support.”

How do you recognize the needy?

Finding the needy is very easy. It is my promise and a plea to Lord that no day should go without helping someone; even a smile will do. As I get the money I will find the needy. If we look around there are hundreds of needy. Guards, maids, beggars, women exploited by husbands and so on. People approach me not in big numbers, one or two in a month. People give money through the what app group called Care & share.

helping the needy
The million dollar smile on receiving warm clothes

Family Support

The family supports. Husband, who works with a private firm, takes care of the accounting and daughter gives the financial support to help the needy.

What message do you convey to the readers on Gandhi Jayanthi?

Gandhiji said ‘be the change what you want to see in the world. So BE THE CHANGE unless we change nothing happens it is futile to expect others to change. Nothing is impossible if you have a passion.

Age is not a bar to study. If we study after a lot of experience in life it is a different feeling. In adult education, we study for the sake of learning. The real learning is real acquiring of knowledge.

Gandhi,a superhuman being, embraced everyone with his love irrespective of cast creed and class, and his used non-violence and peaceful approach. The teaching of Jesus Christ inspired him. Love, compassion, kindness and mercy are the virtues we need like Gandhi to see the human being as the children of one God.

is there a difference between appam and aappam ?

Does there exist a difference between appam and aappam? When a chef presented appam, I could make out from the texture that it was aappam (ɑːpam) and not appam (əˈpam).

The chef agreed that it was aappam (‘a’ as in ‘part’) and not appam (‘a’ as in ‘America’). To my friends, this was new information as they said that they never knew that appam was different from aappam.

Besides, on browsing, no such article or video existed clarifying the difference between Appam and AAppam.

What is appam?

If bread means any baked item made with flour, yeast and water; in Malayalam appam refers to any baked, steamed, fried or pancaked item made with flour. Appam can be vattayappam, unniyappam, Nei appam, idiyappam, Vella appam, palappam and so on.

When you add yeast to the rice batter and make pancakes on a flat pan, then we get velleyappam. So, when you add urad dal to the rice batter and ferment, as in idli, and prepare pancakes, then that is dosa.

Here we are discussing the appams prepared in appachetty (small hopper pans shaped like a deep frying wok).

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN APPAM AND AAPPAM

What is palappam?

The appams prepared in appachetty traditionally called Palappam prepared by adding pal (Milk) to loosen the batter. But, in recent times, appam generally means palappam.

Palappam is when coconut milk is used instead of water to grind the rice and yeast used for fermentation. And once the batter rises, nice wafer-like, basket-shaped hoppers are prepared with a thick, soft and fluffy inner core. Nowadays in restaurants and parties, these palappams, globally known as appams and curry has become a favourite cuisine.

Being a Malayalee I prepare appam using yeast or coconut water. But, my Tamilian friends use urad dal – one or two spoonfuls of urad dal, as a larger quantity of urad dal will mean dosa.

What is AAppam?

The appam that I had that day contained urad dal instead of yeast for fermentation. The chef was Tamilian, like my friends, therefore he called the hoppers as AAppam.

Difference between appam and aappam

The difference between appam and aappam differs in three aspects. While yeast ferment the appams, urad dal (black gram) ferments aappam. The texture and taste of both differ as the fermentation agents differ. And while the Malayalees call their rice-yeast hoopers as appam, the Tamilians call their rice-urad dal hoppers as aappam.

Isn’t so much differentiation enough to prove that appam is different from aappam? What do you say?

celebrity psychologist DR PM mathew passes away

Celebrity Psychologist Dr PM Mathew Vellore, passed away yesterday at the age of 87. He was suffering from age related ailments for the past few years. He was also an actor, writer, tv personality and cartoonist

Dr PM Mathew Vellore, worked as clinical psychologist, at Vellore Christian College, after earning a Doctorate in Psychology from Kerala University. He added Vellore in his name, as a rememberence of his working at Vellore.

Hailing from a small village Karipuzha, in Mavelikara, Dr Matthews carved a niche for himself in the field of Psychology and Sexology. Owing to his nstursl talents in writing skills, he could answer the complicated queries regarding marital and related issued.

CELEBRITY PSYCHOLOGIST DR PM MATHEW

His answers were blunt and to the point, be it in the question and answer section in the magzines, or the Psychology question hours on televisions. The first cosultant in Kerala to discuss sexology and marital isuses in open forum, he earned a place in the heart of the common public. Therefore he was the most sought after go to person for Psychological issues in Kerala.

After his stint at Vellore, he opened a Clinic in 1970 at his home in Thiruvananthapuram. At home became a popular psychological counselling centre. In addition to his flouring practice, he grew in stature as a writer and actor. He has written 20 book and columns in popular magazines were a run away success.

The movies he acted include Rathri Mazha, Nizhalkuthu and Ee Kanni Koodi. He tried his hands in Politics, by contesting in state election.

Dr mathews suffered from age related ailments for the last few years and passed away yesterday. He is survived by his wife Susy, and Children Dr Sojan, Dr Reba and Lola.

Life at an old Age home during covid-19

Studies show that life at an old age home, for those above 60 years of age are vulnerable to succumb to Coronavirus. It is not possible to visit old age homes because of the risk to the senior citizens during lockdown. We had visited an Old Age home 4 years ago, so we called the concerned person to know if we could visit the facility, as soon as the lockdown ends.

Thanks to Stanley Johnson, who runs Johns Day Care and Boarding for Senior Citizens in Delhi. We visited an Old age Home, four months after the lockdown began, to find the physical, mental and emotional state of the elderly during the pandemic.

He and the inmates agreed to film a day’s activities at the facility during the lockdown. Inmates at the home have Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson Disease or mentally unsound. No inmates had any severe health issues during the pandemic. Here is a peep into how the elderly remain healthy, happy and active during this lockdown days.

LIFE AT AN OLD AGE HOME

How do they Spend time during COVID?

They wake up a little late after having their bed tea. Those who can bath take a bath. Others we help. Most of them stay indoors, or they walk around. They watch television, read newspapers and interact with each other. Physical and mentally alert ones do exercises and small types of yogas in their rooms. Physical activities help them remain active. Once a week, there are recreational activities. They sing, they speak and mingle with one another.

What is done to protect them from the virus?

They had various briefing section about the pandemic, wearing masks and social distancing. All have to wear a mask. It is a must. Sometimes they complain. But we make them understand. They spit from the mouth. So we take the precaution since we do not know who can be the career.

For meals, there are separate sections in the dining room or room service. Nobody is allowed to go outside. Indoor, they are safe. But they maintain social distancing. Nobody sits close together anywhere. Even in the recreation room, they keep social distancing. Since the outbreak of the pandemic relatives and friends are banned from bringing food and delicacy.

How immunity is boosted?

In the Morning they get hot piping bed tea. Because taking warm water is essential again, along with breakfast, tea is provided. We tell them not to drink cold water. Enough amount of ORS (Oral rehydration solutions), made with salt, sugar, water and lime, prevents Dehydration.

Protein wise food is given to everyone. Fish, chicken or meats are not provided as some of them are vegetarians. Eggs are permitted. Some take egg daily and some on alternate days.

How are the Elderly with comorbidities taken care?

For those who take heart and BP medicines, we give timely food, medicine and exercises. Outside food or oily food are not allowed. Every medication is checked and given.

Do the elderly feel lonely because they cannot meet their loved ones?

There is not a question of isolation or loneliness. Our caretakers are there 24X7, so nobody feels lonely. They keep in touch with their relatives through their mobile phones. Once in a while, some of the relatives share videos over the phone.

They understand the situation, and we keep briefing the relatives about the situation. One 89-year-old gentleman is habitual of taking non-veg daily. His daughter sends over the food daily. We collect the parcel at the gate and deliver it to him.

What about COVID sanitization?

Every third or fourth day we have COVID sanitization. Disinfectanting the door, windows, knobs, exposed to the outer environment shields the home from the virus.

Their reaction to the pandemic?

They have a TV in their room. So they can understand the situation, and they keep discussing among themselves. Besides, we sit and talk to them daily about the situation outside.

Recent studies found the elderly resist the pandemic and Lockdown better than the youngster. The study proved to be true when we look at the lockdown lifestyle of the elderly of the old age home.

Tailormade Western Suits and Jeans in Delhi

Want some tailormade western suits and jeans, because readymades dont fit well? Then why not get one stitched here. These stitched jeans and formal suits looks as perfect as the readymade and that too at a price that will not burn a hole in the pocket. These shops in Mohan Place are the hot shopping spot for college students because they can get a perfect fitting Denim Jeans at less than 1000 Rupees.

TAILORMADE WESTERN SUITS AND JEANS

These stitching shops mastering in tailormade Western formal suits and Jean have been functioning for over 40 years. There are over 100 shops in the entire building. We had come to visit the Coffee House on the fourth floor when we chanced upon these unique stitching shops.

tailormade western suits and jeans

The material for stitching the suits can be purchased from the shops itself. The stitching time is one to two days, and the price of the suit is around 5000 Rs. If you bring the suit material, then the stitching price is 3500. The tailors will be too happy if you get a picture of the suit design that you prefer. That will make their work easier.

tailormade western suits and jeans

They stitch formal shirts that look like readymade shirts.  The material for which is available at the shops. For those who prefer to get sewed all their clothes, these shops will make sure that your wardrobe is full of customised, stitched, clothes, right from jeans to western formal suits.

The material for the made to order jeans can be purchased from the shops itself and the stitching time is one to one and a half hours. So while you cool the heels for the stitched jean, refresh yourself with some hot coffee from the iconic Coffee House on the fourth floor.

Story of Indian Coffee house: timeless and Iconic

The post Independence history of India will be incomplete without a mention of the story of Indian Coffee House, in Connaught Place Delhi. The Indian coffee house, in Mohan Singh Place, is one of the 400 coffee houses, run by the Indian Coffee Worker’s Cooperative Society, in several parts of the country. Waiters in white uniform, headgears and matching bandanas, the piping hot coffee is symbolic of every coffee house.

An Old-timers testimony

“I have been coming in this Coffee House for 50 years, since 1971. This is one of the best places in whole world.” Says Mr Rajan, an Advocate. “And many dignitaries used to come here like Inder Kumar Gujral, Vishnu Prabhakar. Many celebrities used to come here, and they used to gain inspiration from this place only. In 1971 there were two places. One was at the Palika Kendra and other was this one. When market was erected in 1977, all the people came to this place. “

The entire Palika Bazaar that we know now was once The Indian Coffee house frequented by intellectuals, writers, journalists and politicians discussing hot topics. Nine Prime Ministers visited here.

The stalwart customers

The story of the Indian Coffee House is incomplete without the metion of the stalwarts who associated with this iconic place. The Staff say Indira Gandhi’s breakfast went from here after inspection by a doctor. And one the former Staff used to go to her house to prepare the Filter coffee decoction.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Coffee at the Indian Coffee house arouses the intellect and creativity.  Stalwarts like Rabindranath Tagore, Manna Dey and Sathyajith Ray used to frequent the Indian Coffee House in Kolkata. Manna Dey even wrote a song about his nostalgic days at the Indian Coffee House.

STORY OF THE INDIAN COFFEE HOUSE: TIMELESS AND ICONIC

In this age of high-end coffees outlets, patronized by the younger generation, the Indian Coffee house still has a large number of young customers. Youngsters from nearby colleges find Coffee house pocket friendly.

Some of them come here to brainstorm, to write books, scripts and blogs. Others are marketing and sales executives who come here to discuss their plans.

The Den of thinkers

One unique feature of the Coffee house is the no-hurry attitude of the waiters. “This hall”, the Staff say pointing towards a hall full of tables and chairs, is the den of the Journalists, writers and thinkers. They come and sit and talk for hours.

“When you ask them to leave they will order another coffee, in this way they will have 7-8 coffees in a day”, he said with a smile. “And some of the old-timers they will leave when we prepare to close”. That is the emotional connect between the Staff and loyal customers of the coffee house.

History of Coffee House

The COFFEE BOARD founded the ‘India Coffee House’ in the early 1940s, during the British rule. In the mid-1950s, the Board closed down several Coffee Houses in different cities throughout India. A large number of employees lost their jobs.

The well known great communist leader A K Gopalan organized Societies all over India in various states forming the “INDIA COFFEE BOARD WORKER’S CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY”. The first Society was formed in Bangalore in August 1957.

Coffee House is just everywhere….

Now there are various Coffee House societies. In Kerala, there are two, Thrissur and Kannur Coffee boards. The most flourishing Coffee boards in the one in Jabalpur with 200 coffee houses and almost 40 in Jabalpur Itself.

The famous Shimla and Chandigarh Coffee Houses come under the Delhi Coffee Board. The first Coffee House was opened in Delhi in 1957. The Staff say that at one time there more than 25 Coffee Houses in Delhi. In every Bhavan, there was Coffee Houses.  Mandi House, Vikas Bhavan, IT Bhavan, Delhi School of Economics, Kamla Nagar Coffee House near Head Office, to name a few.

The Beetroot story of the indian coffee house

When one thinks of Coffee, the first thing that comes to mind is that of the Beetroot Cutlets. Google’ Coffee House Cutlet” and there are several videos by food vloggers on Coffee house style Cutlet, with the inevitable ingredient being the beetroots.

It is said during the time Coffee House was first founded in 1940, food and clothing were in the ration for the public. The country was facing a financial crisis due to the two world wars. So Coffee House used the cheapest ingredient available in their recipes, which were beetroots.

Beetroot Online trolls

Few  years ago, Coffee House was trolled on twitter for using beetroot in every recipe except water. So they removed beetroot from their recipes; but, within four days, beetroots were reinstated due to public demand.

The story of this Coffee House in Delhi is a cut about the 399 other Coffee Houses. Afterall stalwarts frequented this Coffee House. Many new ideas might have germinated in these rooms. The Staff say they never used beetroots their recipes, and cutlets are the least popular items. The fast-moving food items are the Masala Dosas and the Coffees.

A day in the park and yoga

Well-Kept with a diversity of flora and fauna, the District Park of Janakpuri is one of the best parks for morning routines in Delhi. Therefore the best place for beginning the day in the park and yoga

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA

Hence, from the break of dawn, people staying in the neighbourhood come to this Sprawling Park.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA

Not only the leafy foliage acts as the oxygen chamber but also the shady trees provide relief from the sweltering heat in summer.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA

As a result, in the green expanse people walk, jog, exercise, gym, play team sports and meditate.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA
1.25 Km longs tails for walks and jogs

Moreover, even on the most crowded day, this idyllic park provides quietness and solitude.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA
Fragrant and Medicinal Eucyalyptus

The Fragrance of the Eucalyptus fills the air throughout year. The intoxicating smell of the Saptaparani in the autumn evenings harbingers the winter.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA

Now that the pandemics slowed the lifestyle, the park repaired by itself. The monsoon made the park even prettier.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA

The grassy lawns are greener, and the flowers are in full bloom, unhindered by humans.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA
Walking barefoot

The paved paths make walking and jogging smoother. You don’t need shoes; you can walk barefoot unhurt on the 1.25 km long trail.

MORNING PARK WORKOUT
MORNINGOpen Gym

People of all age groups come here. Some come to relax and chatter, while others come to tone up their body and mind.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA

Some of them have been coming to the park for 40 years. They share a special bonding with the trees and the park dogs.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA
A permanent resident of the park and a friend of reqular visitors. Pampered with food.

Mynah, Crows, Sparrows, Pigeons and Squirrels are some of the permanent residents of this park.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA

Now that the traffic is less, you can listen to the birds chirping.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA
The leafty foliage to heal writers block

In addition, If you experience writer’s block, you can get healed when you walk through the shady paths covered by the canopy of tall, leafy Eucalyptus, Ashoka and peepal trees.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA

Besides the colourful foliage of the Amaltas, Gulmohar and Bougainville on the vast expanse of the parks provide a visual treat.

MORNNG PARK GAMES

When you walk through the park, some people get noticed because of their unique mannerism in walking, jogging and meditating.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA
Padma Mayurasana/Lotus Peacock Pose

Mr Krishnan is one such regular visitor where for beginning the day in the park and yoga. He walks on the trails and does yoga on the grassy lawns.

A DAY IN THE PARK AND YOGA
Mayurasana/Male Peacock pose

Yoga is one way to remain healthy and maintain mental equilibrium in this pandemic.

 YOGA POSTURE
Halasana/Plough pose

When we approached Mr Krishnan, he agreed to show us yoga asanas that will be beneficial for various diseases.

YOGA ASAN
upta Konasana/Reclining Angle Pose

As a matter of fact, he said he never he allowed a video shoot of his daily yoga practice.

WALKING IN THE PARK AND YOGA
Matsyasana / Fish pose

Meanwhile as he demonstrated the yoga postures, we watched and listened to him with silence and concentration.  

Watch the Video:

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19: Dr. Mathew, a public health expert, answers

The more the questions answered, the more the number of doubts about Covid-19 during the pandemic. The readers of Lifestyletodaynews.com had a plethora of essential questions about COVID-19 ranging from precautions, medication, and the long term impact of the virus. Dr. Mathew Varghese, a Public Health expert and orthopedic surgeon featured as a real-life hero by Bill Gates, was kind enough to answer the question in the mind of the readers. He spared time for an in-depth video interview about almost every issue relevant to a common man in the present scenarios.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19

Read on to find the informative answers which are educative in nature:

According to experts, the pandemic is not going to end in July, will it end?

The experts are basing their information on facts of previous epidemics and the behavior of Coronaviruses. You had SARS1; we had Middle Eastern Respiratory Disease. These are the experiences that help to guide us in our understanding of this disease.

By Mathematical models, they show that possibly by July, or maybe even August, the epidemic will reach a peak, and gradually settle.

A definite time? Difficult to answer

Historically if you look at epidemics, they have all been like this. Including the Spanish flu, which came, lasted for quite some time, and then eventually disappeared. So it is not that these pandemics will be there forever.

They will eventually be overcome by human immunity and resistance to fight against viruses. Therefore it is difficult to answer when this pandemic will end.

How long will it last?

We do not know. But usually, pandemics have a history of infecting a certain number of people and then petering out.

So there is a growth curve, which may be steep or slow, reaches a peak, and goes down.

When a large number of people have herd immunity

That growth curve starts going down, only when a certain proportion of the population gets infected, which then has the resistance to fight against it. This resistance to fight the virus is called herd immunity.

When the infection has immunized a large number of people in a community, they have herd immunity.

What is the percentage of people that need to be infected to get herd immunity?

There are experts that, until recently, have been saying 60%. But some recent reports say that even on infection reaching up to 20-30% of people gives sufficient herd immunity for the pandemic to end.

Somewhere between 20-60%

Anyone who says that this is going to end in 10 days or 15 days is all guesswork. We do not know, hopefully on reaching herd immunity of a certain proportion somewhere between 20-60%, overcome the pandemic.

Will the virus be eradicated?

In Coronavirus, we do not have a vaccine as yet. It will take about one, one and a half years at least before a vaccine comes.

Even then, if you look at the few vaccines available today, they do not provide you with permanent immunity like smallpox or oral polio vaccine.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19

They give you a limited period of immunity. Flu vaccines need to be given every year to protect the elderly from the effects of flu-related pneumonia.

We do not know how effective will the vaccine be for Coronavirus. We have to wait and see. Until then, we cannot answer this question, can we eradicate it or not? But looking at the past behavior of flu unlikely we can eradicate it forever. 

Is there any possibility of home testing for Coronaviruses, and is that legal?

As yet, there is no home testing available, so the question of legality does not come. We do not have such a test.

At this point, we do not have any home testing

In the future, there may be, and it may be useful to test that. But at the same time, at this point, we do not have any home testing available with us.

IMMUNITY

Is immunity the biggest weapon against Coronavirus?  

Yes, you know what the first virus identified was? It was a plant virus, Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV), in 1891. The first human disease-producing virus, you know when it was identified? 1901, it was a yellow fever virus. Remember, till today, 120 years down the line, we do not have a drug to cure virus illness.

When somebody says that I am immune, it could be because they had an infection or they have been vaccinated and become immune.

We overcome virus illnesses by the body producing antibodies that fight the viruses, kill the viruses, and we win. Those antibodies that the body produces are what give us the immunity.

When somebody says that I am immune, it could be because they had an infection, or they have been vaccinated and become immune.

We overcome virus illnesses by the body producing antibodies that fight the viruses, kill the viruses, and we win. Those antibodies that the body produces are what give us the immunity.

So is this natural immunity?

No, it is a healthy individual who can raise antibodies in sufficient numbers and strengths to fight the virus. When you say you have excellent resistance, you are saying you are a healthy person without any malnutrition, without any other illness, which may be lifestyle diseases or other diseases that make you vulnerable and immune-compromised. Therefore you are susceptible to get the infection.

It is a healthy individual who can raise antibodies in sufficient numbers and strengths to fight the virus.

How to increase immunity?

Your health is based on a balance of things—a Balance of what you eat. You have to have a balanced diet, which means a proportion of food has to be carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Labourers need to take a large number of carbohydrates. At the same time, inactive people take fewer carbohydrates, less fat, and more protein. Besides, you need to have a balance of physical activities also.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19

But that’s not sufficient.

You need to have minerals, Minerals like Zinc, Copper, various other minor elements required for your enzymes in your body for fighting and producing cells for fighting viruses. We get these elements from natural food that we take, like the vegetables, nuts, and the pulses.

We need to take a balanced diet; stay healthy and physical activity keeps our body fit. Intellectual pursuits keep our mind fit.

Physical health, mental health, well-balanced nutrition are foundations for good immunity.

So we need to have good physical health, good mental health, and proper nutrition-balanced to maintain our body health. That is the baseline foundation for good immunity.

PREVENTION

Most people have to venture out for work, essential, medical emergency, so how do we protect ourselves from being infected?

This is basic. Everyone has to remember. First, we have to understand how the virus spreads. The virus spreads from one person’s breath to another person’s breath.

The virus spreads from one person’s breath to another person’s breath.

If you are close to each other and breathing into each other’s nostrils or mouth, you are infecting each other. If a person is within your breath air distance, you are likely to get infected if the other person is infected.

How do we prevent this?

We can’t stop breathing. You continue to breathe. So we need to wear a mask.

1. The first safety step is a mask, a good mask.

A cloth mask with porous layers in it doesn’t work. It has to be a mask with multiple layers that prevent the virus. Remember, viruses are tiny particles. It can go through the pores of your cloth mask.

Therefore you need to have a mask that has a filtration capacity to filter the viruses.

Mask to protect you from the other person’s breath.

Remember, any mask is better than no mask.

So if you don’t have any masks, then use a multilayered cloth mask. At least two or three layers so that the probability of the virus entering your airway is less than normal.

2. The second safety step is to keep a safe distance.

It is debatable, whether you say one meter or two-meter or whatever.

Generally, a minimum of 1-meter distance should be kept. That is important to prevent you from getting infected from the other person’s aerosol. It is the droplets that come out of his breathe when he breathes.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19

Remember if you are shouting, or you are singing you bring out more aerosols. So if you are standing opposite somebody who is singing and is likely to send the aerosol down the line further, maybe 3 meters, 4 meters also, be careful. So it is essential to have the mask.

Sometimes these aerosols, small droplets, fine droplets, containing virus particles, land on your hands. And any human being touches their face at least 20 times in an hour. So from our mouth, from our nose, from our eyes, we get the viruses on to our hands. When we touch an object, we transfer the virus from the hands to the article.

When we cough without a mask, we put those aerosols on the objects around us. The objects around us are contaminated, and if somebody comes and touches those objects, we transfer the virus to the hand.

3. The third most important safety step is Hand Washing.

Regular hand washing, especially if you have touched foreign objects outside your house. Unless you are in your home where somebody is infected, and home quarantined, don’t touch any article that he has touched.

Don’t go to him closer than one meter. Don’t go to him without the mask. You have to be very careful. Any object from outside that you have touched wash your hands.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19

Any unknown person bringing you an object, wash your hands. Anybody giving you some items through courier, wash your hands soon after you have touched. If you have a doubt, leave the object untouched for 5-6 hours, and that is sufficient enough to be sure there are no viruses on the packet.

How to wash our hands?

I say that soap and water are enough to wash hands.

Soap and water is the best.

Why do you say that?

Washing hands with soap and water are the best way. The virus has a coating. That coating is easily washed away by soap because it has got a lipid content.

What are Lipids?

Lipids are fat-related substances. You know oils are washed only very effectively with soap. Therefore soap is more efficient than plain water or even sanitizer.

Are you not happy with sanitizers? Why?

  • It is expensive.
  • It is difficult for poor people to get sanitizers.
  • They finish off in no time.
  • Because you want to conserve the amount of sanitizer you use a small amount. You put a little bit on your palm and rub. That is not sufficient.

Use it liberally. Back, between your fingers, your thumb all have to be. And that is the same technique for washing also.

Do liberal, not thrifty use of sanitizer. 

So the steps for cleaning your hands with sanitizer, washing your hand with soap and water, remain the same—every finger, front, back, thumb separately. Palms everything has to be adequately cleaned.

Soap and water are the best. But in the absence of that, you can use a sanitizer. Make a liberal use, not of a thrifty use of sanitizer.

Should we also use soaps for washing vegetables and fruits and packed groceries?

No, you don’t have to do that. We cook and eat Vegetables. Washing them with plenty of running water is sufficient. On top of that, you are cooking it. However, if you have salads that you are consuming, make sure that you have washed it thoroughly with running water.

You don’t have to use soap. I have seen people using Soda bicarb, washing soda, detergents. No. Some of the detergents will soak into these vegetables; some of these may be toxic.

Washing vegetables in plenty of running water is sufficient.

Especially washing soap, you don’t want to intake them into your body. So running water is good enough.

If you are too anxious, you may use warm water and wash these vegetables that you are going to consume raw. Or the fruits that you are going to eat, clean them thoroughly with water. Running water is good enough for you.

There is a recent report that sunlight will help you fight the virus. How useful is sunlight to fight the virus?

Sunlight has a spectrum of rays, from the very narrow spectrum to the very long spectrum – infrared to ultraviolet. Ultraviolet rays do kill viruses, but they need to lay exposed for a specific time.

 If you are thinking of getting yourself sunbathed, remember Ultraviolet rays are also harmful to your skin. We do not recommend it as a method to protect yourself from the virus.

Drying and keeping objects in the sunlight for 5-6 hours may be good enough.

However, if you are thinking of keeping objects in the sunlight, which have possibly contaminated, you may keep them out in the sun, leave it. Just drying and remaining in the sunlight for 5-6 hours may be good enough.

One essential item which you may use the sunlight is for your masks. Reuse any surgical mask, which you buy, provided you dry it sufficiently.

Any surgical mask can be reused, provided you dry it sufficiently.

You take four masks, number them 1,2,3,4.

1st day wear Mask No. 1.

2nd-day mask No. 1 goes on the washing line. Leave it in sunlight and use mask No. 2.

3rd day the second-day mask goes up the washing line, and then you wear mask No. 3.

4th day, mask No. 3 goes on the washing line, and you wear mask No. 4.

5th day, Mask No. 1 comes back, and you recycle it to a maximum of about 28 days.

You can use one set of four masks for 28 days. This method is found sufficient for the recycling of your mask. And that is the only area where I would use sunlight to sanitize the mask.

QUERIES

Curiously, some of the coronavirus positive cases have never ventured out of their houses, for six months, and followed all the precautions at home, how could that happen that they got infected?

Highly improbable that they have had no contact, and yet they got infected. The virus did not come out of thin air. It arrived through a source that was infected.

It has to be they handled some object or met somebody, coming to their house, who was infected and became positive. The chain of infection does not continue without any interaction.

The virus did not come out of thin air.

There has to be some interaction from some infected person, either directly or indirectly through objects of exchange. Maybe notes, handling notes. Perhaps some package that was given by a courier.

There have been reports of Pizzas delivered by pizza delivery boys who were infected, and they infected people.

It could be from anything that the virus landed on your body.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19

There is a doubt in everyone’s mind that we are already infected and healed from Coronavirus in these three months.

Yes, it is possible. Many of us had mild flu, cold, cough, and no other symptoms, and we became all right.

It is possible that you are infected, and you got cured.

That is what happened in the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt where tests showed 60% of the young, healthy men were infected but asymptomatic. So you may be infected, and you got cured.

In such cases, will we be able to find out if we were infected?

Yes, there is a way to find out, and that is by testing for antibodies.

The problem with this test is that the antibody tests are not as reliable as the antigen test that we call the real-time PCR. Those are far more sensitive and far more specific. At the same time, the antibody tests are non-specific and not so reliable. The testing for antibodies will help us identify these cases.

The testing for antibodies will help us identify these cases.

What is an antibody?

The antibody, a body substance created by our cells to fight the virus, protects you from infection from the future. So if you have an infection, initially, there is no antibody because the virus is an entirely new organism that has entered your body.

The antibody is a body substance created by our cells to fight the virus.

As it enters, the body recognizes it as a foreigner and starts fighting it. As it fights, the antibody level increases until it reaches a peak, and the body wins, or sometimes the virus wins, and the body dies. Usually, the body wins. 99.5% of cases the body wins. And we can eliminate the virus. So testing for antibodies will help us identify these cases.

Are there any long term side effects for a Coronavirus patient?

Since being identified, the virus has been only six months old, causing its symptoms and the disease. It is too early for us to say if any complications are long term.

In the short term, we know what is happening. However, long term, we do not know. Only time will tell. Most viruses do not leave long term effects except for diseases like poliomyelitis, and a few other viruses that cause long term damage to the body.

Most viruses do not leave long term effects

But by and large, coronaviruses do not belong to that category, and therefore we do not expect there will be any long term effect. But time will tell. At this point, I can’t answer that question.

When primarily the elderly and those with comorbidities have succumbed to Coronavirus, some young, healthy people with no health issues died due to Coronavirus, what could be the reason?

Again difficult to answer. But in my hospital, I have been keeping track. In the 200-bed Corona ward in our hospital, we regularly treat Coronavirus patients right from the beginning of the epidemic.

What we have found is 90% plus of those patients that have died, whether they were young or they were old, were diabetics. We don’t know what happens in them. For some reason, people with diabetes have been vulnerable.

For some reason, people with diabetes have been more vulnerable.

And those that have died have shown significant changes in their lungs. Described in the lungs, earlier thought to be pneumonia, later on found to be not pneumonia, but clotting in the lungs’ vessels.

What do lungs do in our body? They oxygenate the blood. This oxygenation happens because blood is flowing through the alveoli in the lungs.

Some have what is known as ‘Cytokine Storm.’

And when the blood vessels are clotted blood flow cannot happen. Oxygenation cannot occur, and the patient dies in the absence of oxygen, because of the tissues not getting oxygen for survival. That is what happens. Some of the patients, young and dying, are described to have what is known as ‘Cytokine Storm.’

What is a Cytokine Storm?

It is a reaction committed by the body to fight the virus, but the response is an overwhelming reaction, and that causes side effects to the patient, and the patient dies from it.

The younger people dying are usually ones who had a cytokine storm, and mostly, these are the ones with diabetics or some other major illness.

What is the precaution to be taken by pregnant women, especially while going to the hospital for checkups?

The precautions remain the same—Mask, distancing, hand wash.

Remember when you are pregnant; a pregnant mother is two lives; the mother and the child. So there is a double reason to be as cautious as possible keeping away from

  • Crowded outpatient areas.
  • Closed and poorly ventilated areas.
  • Poorly ventilated doctor’s chambers.

Make sure that when you go, you should have seen the clinic earlier. It should be well ventilated. The number of air chambers should be good so that your probability of getting the infection is low.

Can we accompany our child along with us?

I would not recommend that. Except in a dire situation, where no one else is at home to protect the child, to be with the child, you may carry the child.

Remember, children may be impulsive. They suddenly go and touch things, they may suddenly interact with people, and they may also pull off their mask.

Take children with you only in a dire situation, where no one else is at home to protect the child.

Therefore, because of the impulsiveness and unpredictability of children’s behavior, we do not recommend that children be accompanying pregnant mothers for antenatal care.

ADVICE TO MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

You have directly handled patients during prime times, be it HIV+ve or Coronavirus patients, what is your advice to the medical service professionals who are directly dealing with Coronavirus patients?

My advice remains the same. If you protect yourself, you will be able to take care of your patients better. While I have seen so many patients who are Coronavirus positive, frankly infected, I have dealt with them without fear.

For the last 31/2 months now, I have been dealing with patients every day. But I take my precautions. My job as a physician is primarily a responsibility for patient care.

If you protect yourself, you will be able to take care of your patients better.

I have taken the Hippocratic Oath, and I will care for my patients, come what may. During the HIV epidemic lot of judgemental issues happened like, huge stigma against those people with HIV, and coming up with innocent victims of HIV.

We should not be judging people for an infection. We should not be stigmatizing people for their disease. Our job as professionals is to take care of these patients. We do it to the best of our ability, without any stigma. However, while we do it, we protect the patient, and we shield ourselves.

How do you do that?

  • Make sure that you wear a surgical mask. If it is close contact, it has to an N95 mask that you need to wear.
  • If you are going to do an invasive procedure, you must wear gloves.
  • Or you must wash your hands before and after you touch the patient.
  • As far as possible, keep away from the breathing area of the patient.

How do you assume that you have not got an infection from somebody? Possibly, you dont exhibit any symptoms, yet you need to wash your hands before you touch the patient. And after touching the patient, you protect yourself by rewashing your hands.

If you have to touch the face, the eyes, the nose, mouth of the patient, or any other invasive examination, make sure that you are wearing gloves. Do not do it without gloves.

Maintain distance. After using an object on a patient, sanitize before using again. Like the Stethoscope that I used for seeing the last patient with a backache, I sanitized it with sanitizer.

I am an orthopedic surgeon; you will wonder how the corona patients come to me. Yes, they come to me with a backache. Body aches are usual in viral infections.

The protocols are the same: Protecting yourself and protecting the patient.

They came to me with backaches. Neither did they know that they had corona, nor did I know that they had corona. I examined them, suspected based on some of the questions that I asked and sent them for further examination confirming them to be coronavirus patients.

We need to be careful. The protocols are the same: Protecting yourself and protecting the patient.

Hydroxychloroquine, used to treat lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and malaria, does that mean that those with these conditions can kill two birds with one?

Don’t get wrong impressions.   The diseases of Lupus and Rheumatoid, these are autoimmune diseases.

What are autoimmune diseases?

These are diseases that the body’s immune system fights its cells. Usually, our immune system fights foreign cells, viruses, bacteria, allergens. But in this type of condition, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or Rheumatoid Arthritis is Autoimmune diseases where the body fights its cells and causes illness.

You are not winning two wars at one time.

So the body’s immune system is busy fighting its cells, therefore when an invader comes, you are vulnerable. So even if you are taking Hydroxychloroquine, your invader will have the upper hand. It is just like internal strife is the right moment for an external enemy to fight and win over you.

Similarly, malaria is an external infection because of a parasite. So there is a fight between the body and the malaria parasite. So you are fighting one war inside your body. When another invader comes, even if you are taking Hydroxychloroquine, that invader has the upper hand. So that kind of cross-protection does not happen. So you are not winning two wars at one time.

Some people still believe that Coronavirus is a myth or a conspiracy. What do you have to say?

As yet, no evidence to show the creation of Coronavirus as part of bioterrorism. We do not have any reasons for that. There are hypotheses, but it has not been proven anywhere. We do not have any basis for saying that.

Coronaviruses ordinarily seen in bats, around 500 species, and some of the animals, is the only proof we have of the virus.   They are a real storehouse of Coronaviruses, without any disease in them.

Bats are a real storehouse of Coronaviruses, without any disease in them.

But when it jumps from bats to human beings, you have the disease coming. Had there been an intermediary? We do not know. 

Remember, when we tinker with nature too much, when we tinker with the animal kingdom’s natural habitat, in the animal kingdom, we are likely to have an interaction between the viruses in the animal kingdom and the human interface. And that is when we have diseases jumping from animal kingdom to humankind.

When we tinker with the natural habitat of these animals, that is when we have diseases that jump from animal kingdom to humankind.

So the key message in this pandemic is that we should not ruin our environment, we should not destroy our forests, and we should not unnecessarily damage our animal kingdom. Being part of an ecosystem; we need to act resposibly to protect the ecosystem for staying safe.

Concluding Message

The virus is here, it will have a natural peak, and they die down naturally. The vaccine is the way to protect it for the longer-term. But a vaccine will take a minimum of 11/2 years to come by.

Until then, the only way to protect from the virus is by preventing the spread of the infection from one human being to another.

  • Wearing a mask
  • Keeping a safe distance
  • Washing your hands regularly.

Stay away from places that people gather as we canoot differentiate between the infected and the not infected.

Thank you so much! Keep safe! All the best!

Dr. Mathew Varghese is a Public Health expert and Orthopaedic Surgeon. He is currently the Head of the Department of Orthopaedics, St Stephen’s Hospital, New Delhi. His work with polio patients caught the attention of Bill Gates, who named him a real-life hero who inspired him in his blog.