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The past year has been extremely difficult for people. While the covid-19 pandemic brought much-needed focus on health and hygiene, it also created a lot of confusion among people about what is good for health and what is not. A steep rise in demand for immunity-boosting supplements like Kadhas and alternate medicines, which apparently strengthened the immune system, was seen.
From vitamin C and zinc to protein supplements, most companies touted their version of a cure as best to protect people. WhatsApp group chats, social media platforms, and family discussions were flooded with home remedies, recipes, and Kadhas to boost immunity! The most googled health topic in 2020 was “how to increase immunity”, a clear indication of people wanting to adopt any and everything that would give them protection from Covid-19!
With the growing number of cases, the number of variants, and double mutations being found, it is certain that no supplements and kadhas can protect us from the virus. We have to understand that our immune system is very finely tuned.
Kirti Sabnis, Infectious Disease Specialist, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan and Mulund, says: “There is a balance between an immune system that is effective at limiting the ability of bacteria, viruses, and parasites to cause infection and a hyperactive immune system that can cause such problems as allergies, diabetes, and other types of auto-inflammatory and auto-immune disorders.”
Can home remedies really harm us?
The answer lies in the fact that there is no proper evidence that says a particular remedy can be adopted in one way or the other. “While there will be some science attached to it, the scientific value is never measured. Also, nobody knows which remedy may suit one person or the other. Therefore, the most dangerous aspect of a home remedy is that it is undertaken without expert monitoring, and without knowing the right dosage/ frequency, as it is never prescribed by a doctor!”, says the doctor.
Sabnis shares some remedies that adopted fervently can do more harm than good:
Drinking kadha’s: Common ingredients used to make kadha include black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, giloy, ashwagandha, cardamom, and ginger. While these are good stimulants during winters, these items create immense heat in the body. Excessive consumption of these can be harmful and cause problems like nose bleed, persistent acidity, lead to mouth ulcers and black stools. While making kadhas, one has to be extremely careful about the number of herbs and spices that are being used to make it, these can cause long-term effects too!
Excessive intake of zinc and Vitamin D & C supplements: Zinc was commonly consumed in the past year. There is some evidence that zinc can help curb the virus, but again, we do not have enough evidence to verify the quantity of supplement consumption. High levels of zinc, can lead to a depressed, rather than a strengthened immune system. FDA has also warned consumers that zinc nasal sprays can lead to loss of smell! Vitamin-D toxicity is developed when there is excess intake! A high amount of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia) can cause nausea, vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination.
Overconsumption of Ayurvedic health supplements: While these are powerful herbal remedies used to bolster immunity and enhance the longevity of a person; these cannot be the only shield against Covid-19. Also, they cannot be consumed disproportionately. These time-tested supplements should be taken as prescribed; overuse may cause persistent digestive issues and erratic bowel movement.
Camphor use: Camphor when used the right way and in the right quantity, that is small quantities during steam inhalation or as an ointment, it is helpful. But we witnessed misuse of camphor in the past year; here are its hazards — oral consumption of camphor can cause breathing issues, seizures, and even death. Children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding moms should not use camphor at all!
Blind consumption of Arsenicum Album: WhatsApp university pushed the consumption of Arsenicum Album to prevent Covid-19, and people blindly began self-dosaging. However, no studies were found that researched the effect of Arsenicum Album for coronavirus in humans or animals. Importantly, no studies were found that linked the efficacy of any homeopathy drug in coronavirus infections!
Untested immunity-boosting powders: Most immunity-boosting powders available in the market may have steroids. Excessive steroid intake can weaken your immune system, leading to more sickness and an increased risk of serious health problems!
Steam inhalation: While steam inhalation is said to be an age-old home remedy for the common cold, it can’t help in fighting a virus-like Covid-19. Moreover, steam can cause swelling of the eyes, redness of the eye, dry eye, continuous watering of the eye, etc. It can also affect the skin, and may even burn it when overexposed to steam. It also causes the skin on the face and neck to become dry, leading to fungal or bacterial skin infections.
Saltwater gargling: Most experts recommend saltwater gargles twice a day for people having sore throat but too much salt water can also have health risks, such as calcium deficiency and high blood pressure. Also, over-gargling with hot water can cause mouth ulcers, and repeated drinking of hot water can cause stomach ulcers.
Bathing with disinfectants: As soon as the pandemic hit us, people began to wash food with bleach, applied household cleaning or disinfectant products to bare skin, and intentionally inhaled or ingested the cleaners. Some even started bathing with disinfectants. There is enough evidence that states that inappropriate use of disinfectants can cause poisoning!
He suggests what you can do to build natural immunity:
*Eat a healthy diet with fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
*Avoid processed foods.
*Drink eight glasses of water a day.
*Include physical activities in your regular regime.
*Get 8-10 hours of good sleep.
*Have a stress-free home environment.
*Try to have a good amount of exposure to sunlight every day.
*Stay hygienic and wash your hands.
*Get vaccinated. (IANS/JC)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)
Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.
Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.
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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin
Sirisha flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.IANS
Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, and other passengers are set to liftoff from west Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space on July 20. Blue Origin announced this week that Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high school graduate from the Netherlands, would join the crew.
Oliver is the son of millionaire Joe Daemen, Founder, and CEO of the Dutch investment company Somerset Capital Partners. Blue Origin, however, did not reveal how much Daemen paid for his son's trip to space. Bezos chose July 20 as the launch date to honor the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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The launch site for Blue Origin's first human flight will be in a remote location north of Van Horn, Texas, from where the firm had launched New Shepard for previous flights. Blue Origin has received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space.
On July 12, Bandla touched the edge of space with three others, including Virgin Galactic's billionaire CEO Richard Branson. Bandla vaulted into space onboard VSS Unity 22. After the successful spaceflight, Branson carried the Indian-American on his shoulders while celebrating their flight to space, at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (IANS/KB)