Monday December 17, 2018

Shun the health myths this monsoon

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New Delhi: The monsoon brings respite from the sweltering heat but also triggers a lot of health-related issues, most of which are plain myths that have persisted over time, says an expert.

Richa Mattu, nutrition and health manager, South Asia, Hindustan Unilever Limited, shares tips to help wade through the rains:

Myth 1: One should not eat seafood/fish during monsoon

fisheryFact: The primary reason behind this myth is that in monsoon, due to the rough seas and bad weather fishermen avoid going out to sea. Also, it is breeding season for these beings. So availability of fresh fish is scarce and a majority of the stock comes from frozen fish. Eating frozen fish or seafood that is not hygienically stored may end up giving you a stomach infection or even worse, food poisoning. But if you have access to fresh fish, don’t worry and indulge by all means.

Myth 2: Eating curd in the rain makes you fall sick

Rain-in-Jammu-Cropped

Fact: Many believe, having curd in the monsoon season could prove to be harmful for the body because of the cool nature of the food. It is believed that foods that are warm in nature (for example: turmeric milk) work best for the immune system in the monsoon months. But curd contains ‘good bacteria’ which helps in improving the digestive system, absorbing nutrients and improving the gut immunity. Curd helps to soothe stomach infections which make it a popular home remedy for diarrhea or food poisoning, a common complaint in the rains.

Myth 3: Chicken soup will speed up recovery from a cold

chicken-tikka-masalaFact: Hot soup is the perfect comfort food in the chilling rains. Hot soup also helps soothe a sore throat. Reducing inflammation with healthy food or liquids like soup will quickly reduce your symptoms and thus speeds up your recovery process.

Myth 4: Eating ice cream in the monsoon causes cold and cough

Photo credit: snowy.co.in
Photo credit: snowy.co.in

Fact: Cough and cold are mainly caused by viral or bacterial infection. Most ice creams undergo pasteurization, which stops the formation of illness-causing bacteria. Ice cream made or processed in unhygienic conditions may contain some infection causing micro-organisms. Products like Paddle Pop manufactured in hygienic condition which involves low temperature storage under -18 degree celsius and pasteurization does not allow any microbial growth.

Consuming cold food products do not lead to such problems unless they contain the germs responsible for causing these. Ice creams in the rain may be fun; but if you are not cautious you could fall sick. Avoid ice creams sold at open stalls and go for branded packaged ice cream. Make sure to check the expiry date.

(IANS)

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The Young Miracle: Baby In Congo Suffering From Ebola Recovers

The latest WHO assessment, released Thursday, simply calls the circumstances "unforgiving."

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Ebola, baby
- In this photograph taken Dec. 3, 2018, and released by UNICEF, an Ebola survivor cares for one-week-old Benedicte who was infected at birth with the Ebola virus by her mother, at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo. VOA

They call her the “young miracle.” A baby who was admitted to an Ebola treatment center just six days after birth has now recovered from the virus.

Congo’s health ministry calls the baby the youngest survivor in what is now the world’s second-deadliest Ebola outbreak.

The ministry late Thursday tweeted a photo of the infant, swaddled and with her tiny mouth open in yawn or squall, surrounded by caregivers who watched over her 24 hours a day for weeks.

The baby’s mother, who had Ebola, died in childbirth, the ministry said.

The infant was discharged Wednesday from the treatment center in Beni. “She went home in the arms of her father and her aunt,” the ministry said.

 

Ebola, baby
Health workers treat an unconfirmed Ebola patient, inside a MSF (Doctors Without Borders) supported Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Butembo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nov. 3, 2018. VOA

 

Experts have reported high numbers of children with Ebola in this outbreak, which Congo’s health ministry says has 515 cases, 467 of them confirmed, including 255 confirmed deaths.

 

The tiny survivor is named Benedicte. In video footage shared by UNICEF, she is shown in an isolated treatment area, cradled in the arms of health workers in protective gear or cuddled by Ebola survivors, called “nounous,” who can go without certain gear such as masks. The survivors are crucial with their reassuring presence, the health ministry said.

“This is my first child,” her father, Thomas, said. “I truly don’t want to lose her. She is my hope.” He gazed at his baby daughter through the clear protective plastic.

Infected children

Children now account for more than one-third of all cases in this outbreak, UNICEF said earlier this week. One in 10 Ebola cases is in a child under 5 years old, it said, and children who contract the hemorrhagic fever are at greater risk of dying than adults.

Ebola, Baby
A health care worker carries a cross next to a coffin with a baby suspected of dying of Ebola in Beni, North Kivu Province of Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec. 13, 2018. VOA

While Ebola typically infects adults, as they are most likely to be exposed to the lethal virus, children have been known in some instances to catch the disease when they act as caregivers.

Few cases of Ebola in babies have historically been reported, but experts suspect transmission might happen via breast milk or close contact with infected parents. Ebola is typically spread by infected bodily fluids.

The World Health Organization also has noted that health centers have been identified as a source of Ebola transmission in this outbreak, with injections of medications “a notable cause.”

Dangerous conditions

So far, more than 400 children have been left orphaned or unaccompanied in this outbreak as patients can spend weeks in treatment centers, UNICEF said. A kindergarten has opened next to one treatment center in Beni “to assist the youngest children whose parents are isolated” there, it said.

Congo, Ebola, Women, Baby
Marie-Roseline Darnycka Belizaire, World Health Organization (WHO) Epidemiology Team Lead, talks to women as part of Ebola contact tracing, in Mangina, Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

Health experts have said this Ebola outbreak, the 10th in Congo, is like no other as they face the threat of attack from armed groups and resistance from a wary population in a region that had never faced an Ebola outbreak before. Tracking suspected contacts of Ebola victims remains a challenge in areas controlled by rebels.

Also Read: Women Hit Especially Hard In Congo’s Worst Ebola Outbreak

The latest WHO assessment, released Thursday, simply calls the circumstances “unforgiving.”

And now, Congo is set to hold a presidential election Dec. 23, with unrest already brewing. (VOA)