PharmEasy Blog

Is It Advisable To Wear A Face Mask While Running Outdoors?

The rapid spike in the COVID-19 cases has made us more conscious about our health. People around the globe are taking precautionary steps to avoid themselves from getting infected from COVID-19 (SARS-COV-2). But those people who are eager to get back to fitness are sure to ask this most important question; shall I exercise with a face mask on?  

While social distancing and maintaining good health and hygiene is necessary; wearing a mask has been made compulsory in almost every public place. If you run outdoors, remember the importance of social distancing and avoiding others. It is essential to maintain at least 10 to 12 feet of separation during a run, because you’re breathing heavily as you work out. Runners’ “breath cloud” may contain more of the virus. (wearing a face mask protects us and others from droplet spread, even from asymptomatic spread).

Should I wear a Face Mask while running?  

You should wear a face mask when you’re running in an area where social distancing is hard to maintain. If you’re going to be passing people in and out of crowds, you’ll want to wear a mask. Keep in mind that wearing a face mask is not a substitute for physical distancing.

But if you’re running alone in your neighbourhood where you occasionally see another runner or a walker, it’s likely that you don’t need to wear a face covering. Instead, be mindful about crossing the street to avoid getting too close or give the other person at least six feet while passing.

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How will the face mask affect my run?

Running or jogging with a face mask is going to decrease your airflow, making it a little harder to breathe. It won’t  decrease your oxygen or retain carbon dioxide, but it will probably impact your performance or pace.

This means that you might have a harder time catching your breath if you’re running with a face mask. You might also feel more fatigued quicker than you normally would, even if you’re in pretty good shape, you might need to modify the intensity of your run.

It is most important that you should monitor how you feel or if you’re having any unusual symptoms.  

Be on the lookout for:  

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If you’re experiencing any difficulty, find a safe place off the trail or out of the way to distance yourself from others and remove your mask. Sit down or walk until you catch your breath and feel better. If you continue to experience any difficulty, call your doctor immediately.

Criteria to look for in a running mask

Running in a mask presents you with an unpleasant sensation of a damp piece of fabric rubbing against your face. A sweaty or wet mask is going to be less effective at filtering, breathing and more uncomfortable.

Look for workout masks that are made with a moisture-wicking fabric but be mindful that it’s not too thick or restrictive. Most running specific face masks come as a traditional shaped mask with strings or elastic that goes around your head.

It’s also important to keep your running mask clean and remember when wearing a mask, always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before removing it. A properly fitted mask will reduce the need for you to fuss around with it and touch your face.

When wearing a mask, remember the following points:

  1. Do not touch the mask.
  2. Dispose of single-use masks after use and wash reusable masks regularly.
  3. Ensure your mask is well fitted, so exhaled air does not reach your eyes.

If you are concerned about your health and do not want to work-out with mask outdoors, then here are a few tips that you must keep in mind –

1. Underlying health condition: If you are suffering from some underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, it is highly not recommended to wear a mask during exercise.

2. Do not push your limit: Do not go overboard when exercising. If you start feeling weak or tired, then stop immediately.

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3. The next best thing is to simply listen to your body – If you experience light-headedness, dizziness, extreme shortness of breath or numbness, you need to sit down and take a break.

4. Pick times and routes that are less likely to be busy. Try running earlier in the morning or during your lunch break to avoid the crowds. Also, try to avoid running in a busy park or sidewalk. This will allow you more open space, a change of scenery and less frustration trying to dodge others.

5. Don’t run directly behind anyone: Whether you are running with a mask on or off, it is best to avoid running directly behind anyone even if you are more than 6 feet away. Since you will be running into the person’s slipstream it is more likely for you to come into contact with their exhaled air and droplets. For those practising in a group, it is recommended that everyone in the group wears a mask and maintains enough distance from each other.  

Conclusion:  

To conclude, it is better to indulge in low-intensity exercises such as walking, brisk walking or slow jogging as it will put less strain on their breathing. So, keep following the regular guidelines & stay safe.  

Obviously, it is better for you and everyone around you if more people are vaccinated. Vaccinations lower your risk of severe symptoms, hospitalisation and death. They may help to cut down on the spread of Covid-19 and it is our only hope for getting out of this pandemic finally. Get vaccinated as soon as you can if you are eligible.  

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Away From Home? 5 Tips To Support Your Parents During Lockdown!

Worried about your parent’s health during a lockdown? Indeed, the people who have been the hardest hit during the lockdown are senior citizens who live alone. Since it was announced suddenly, air and train services were called off abruptly. Many people living away from home have not been able to return to take care of their elderly parents.

If you are living in another city or state, you must be worried sick about how well your parents are coping with the lockdown. Here’s a list of things you need to do to make things easier for your parents who are home alone during the lockdown.

1. Order their groceries online

Why are the elderly more vulnerable to COVID-19 than youngsters? Because their immune system is weaker. That is why your parents shouldn’t go out at all during the pandemic. If they go to grocery stores, they might be exposed to the virus.

But they need their food supplies. What should you do? Order online of course. Ask your parents to make a list of foods they need. Make sure they put in vegetables, fruits and dairy because these foods are necessary for strong immunity.

Now place the order on any online delivery platform and add the address of your parent’s home. This way your parents will be able to stock up fresh supplies as and when necessary.

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2. You can order medicines online too

If your parents are on medication, they must not miss out on a single dose, especially if they have health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, kidney disorders and heart problems.

Procure a copy of your parent’s medical prescription and order the medicines online. Place a fresh order at least a few weeks before the current stock of medicines runs out. Please remember that like you, thousands are ordering online and there could be slight delays in deliveries during the lockdown.

Ensure that they have basic medicines with them for fever, headache, joint pain, acidity, constipation, antiseptic lotion, nutritional supplements and lots of band-aids.  

3. Purchase other household essentials

It’s not just foods and medicines that your parents will need. They also require-

Purchase these items online in bulk so that they last longer.

4. Cooking gas and bills

You can also place an order for cooking gas cylinders for your parents online.

Many seniors pay bills (electricity, cable) offline. They also go out to get their phones recharged.

But fortunately, thanks to technological advances, all of these can be done remotely and online. So, go ahead and pay the monthly bills for them through mobile apps and recharge their phones online as well.

5. Get in touch with volunteer groups

Other than online shopping, is there anything else you can do?

In almost every city, NGOs and volunteer groups are willingly shopping necessities for seniors. If you know of such a group in your parents’ neighbourhood, contact them and give them the list of things your parents need.

If there are essentials you can’t purchase for your parents, these groups may be able to help you.

What else can you do for your parents?

Now that the essentials are taken care of, you need to think about how you can uplift their spirits.

Your parents, who are alone, would be anxious and worried right now. Stress and anxiety can have negative consequences on their health. So what should you do to cheer them up?

  1. Call them multiple times a day. They should know that you are thinking of them always. Enquire if they are eating healthily, taking their medicines and exercising at home.
  2. If they are familiar with the technology, call them on Skype. Let them know, you will be with them soon.

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3. Transfer money to your parents online for emergencies.

4. Ask your neighbour to visit your parents to check on them.

5. Consult with your family physician to ensure that they are available during emergencies and keep their contact numbers handy.

6. Make a list of all the emergency contact numbers such as the family physician’s number, the ambulance, the fire station number and the local police station number and send a copy to your parents so that they can easily access them in times of need. It is a great way of taking care of your parents.

7. Maintaining good relations with your neighbours since they live the closest to your parents and can come to help if they are in some kind of a problem.

8. Encourage them to adopt a pet if they are up for it. Lockdowns can be testing times when a companion is greatly treasured. Spending time with a four-legged friend improves mood and keeps thoughts of loneliness at bay.

Your parents need your help now. It’s time to be responsible adults and do everything we can for our parents.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.    

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The Fourth Wave – When Is It Coming And What Can We Expect?

Introduction 

Towards the beginning of 2022, India has steadily been increasing the number of vaccinations it is deploying, with around 70% of the population having received at least 1 dose. As time goes by, we have heard time and again that the virus (like all viruses) will evolve and lead to possible new variants.

During the pandemic, countries around the world have seen surges in cases and deaths during certain periods, these are typically called waves. Omicron was the cause of the third wave in India and overtook most previous variants to become the dominant strain. Now the question remains, when is the fourth wave coming?

What experts say about the fourth wave?

There isn’t a clear consensus on when or how the fourth wave of Covid-19 is likely to play out in India. We have seen that although Omicron was much more contagious than previous variants, the peak numbers of positive cases during the third wave have not been drastically higher than the second wave. This may be due to several factors such as increased vaccination and fewer people getting tested (since Omicron may only show mild symptoms in most people). 

But some experts think that just because we have been lucky with the Omicron variant, we cannot rely on luck going forward. There may be future coronavirus variants that evolve from the Alpha or Delta lineages, resulting in a deadlier and more contagious variant down the line. This could easily become the dominant strain and overtake Omicron, should it occur. 

Others believe it is impossible to say with any accuracy what the effect will be since there are many factors to consider. The transmission rate and fatality rate are two important factors that will need to be analysed before we’re able to see how a new variant will spread and affect the population. 

The role of vaccines in the fourth wave 

More and more evidence is mounting that vaccinations (whether 1st dose, 2nd or booster) have been able to suppress the fatality and hospitalisation rate in the general populations. It remains our key defensive measure on the largest scales, as well as our hope of exiting the pandemic. 

During the first and second waves in India, virtually nobody was vaccinated. While during the third wave, the country was still undergoing its massive effort to vaccinate its huge population. As it stands in the first few months of 2022, India has given at least 1 dose to 70% of its population, with around 58% getting at least 2 doses. These factors may affect how the fourth wave unfolds. It also needs to be accounted for whenever statisticians and epidemiologists are trying to model what a potential fourth wave looks like in the future. 

Vaccinations and booster shots may or may not help to curb a rapid spread of a new variant, this is yet to be seen.

Is a fourth wave inevitable?

While a fourth wave is not inevitable, new variants of the coronavirus are inevitable. The WHO and many medical bodies around the world have repeatedly stated that Omicron is not the final variant, nor will it be the most contagious. Viruses are naturally evolving organisms, every time they spread there is a chance of a new variant evolving. But not all variants evolve to become deadlier, not all evolve to become more contagious. 

There is a possibility of a deadlier variant evolving, but there is also a possibility that this won’t happen. Regardless of this, we need to be more vigilant and ensure that we use whatever tools and protocols we have to halt the progress of the virus. 

Some experts have suggested that the fourth wave (if it occurs) could happen as early as June 2022 and peak during August. Until we know the details of the new variant, it’s hard to accurately say whether this prediction will come true.

Conclusion

Newer variants are almost a sure thing when dealing with viruses, but a fourth wave is something we cannot predict. We can’t really know the scale of a fourth wave spread, nor its effects on the population. All we can do for now is remain calm, follow the protocols and keep vaccinating as many people as possible. If you are eligible for a booster shot, go ahead and book your slot. Till then, let’s hope for the best and follow the usual precautions like mask-wearing and regular hand washing.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

Will The B117 Virus Trigger Another Lockdown In India?

Just when we thought that the COVID-19 pandemic was receding, we received some gloomy news. There’s a new COVID strain doing the rounds. Our coronavirus vaccine drive is almost underway and at this point, news of a new COVID strain, the B117 virus has got everyone asking the question- does this mean a new lockdown? 

Here’s what you need to know.

What do scientists know about the B117 virus?

The B117 virus originated as a mutation of the coronavirus in the eastern and southern UK in September and by the end of the year, scientists everywhere had started studying the B117 virus. Why did it cause so much concern when other COVID strains did not?

Experts have found that the B117 virus is much more contagious than other COVID strains. It is almost 70% more transmissible. 

The good news is, despite being more contagious than the regular coronavirus, the B117 virus is definitely not more dangerous than the other strains. 

The situation in the UK

The news of the increasing numbers of infections associated with the mutated coronavirus spread like a wildfire. Since this virus broke out in the UK and spread like wildfire, it did not come as a surprise when PM Boris Johnson declared the second lockdown in the country that lasted for the last two months of 2020 and going by the most recent reports, it may continue until February 2021.

India along with many countries had suspended flights to Britain over fears that international travel will expedite the spread of the new virus in India.

Is lockdown necessary in India? 

Despite the suspension of flights, the B117 virus has reached India. As per December reports, more than 5 people who arrived in India from Britain tested positive for this new strain. They have exposed others to the virus as well.

How likely is a new lockdown in India? Not very at this moment. The threats to the economy posed by a new lockdown are numerous and so far the B117 virus has not reached dangerous levels. Besides, preparations to roll out the coronavirus vaccine are in full swing.

B117 in India: Is B117 more infectious?

Scientists are yet not aware of the fact whether this variant is more infectious or resistant to vaccines. Dr Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University, says one of its mutations is similar to those seen in variants identified in South Africa and Brazil. This mutation may help the virus evade antibodies in the immune system that can fight coronavirus based on experience from prior infection or a vaccine.

But what appears to be more worrying at the moment is a variant identified in the UK, which is dominant in Britain and has spread to more than 50 countries. “I doubt whether the Indian variant is more infectious than the UK variant – and we must not panic,” Dr Kamil says.

Hence, keeping a safe distance and maintaining all COVID-19 norms is important to keep yourself and the people around you safe and healthy. The following paragraph lists the measures to be taken.

Keep yourself safe

The same measures that prevent the spread of other COVID strains are effective against the B117 virus-

Let us try our best to follow protocols and keep each other safe.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

Do Existing Vaccines Work Against Omicron?

This article has been medically reviewed and fact-checked by Dr. Nikita Toshi

Most of the current COVID-19 vaccines have been found effective against the previous variants so far. However, over 30 mutations have been reported in the new Omicron variant. Mutations are responsible for bringing about the changes in the nature of the virus hence the question of the effectiveness of existing COVID-19 vaccines against the new variant- Omicron has arisen.

The World Health Organization has designated omicron as a “variant of concern,” adding that it can pose a very high global risk. [1]
In this article, we will see what existing vaccination options we have available at the moment and how effective, if at all, will they be against Omicron, the latest variant of COVID-19.

Omicron and Covishield

Adar Poonawala, CEO of Serum Institute of India (maker of Covishield vaccine), mentioned that studies are underway at the moment and the effectiveness of the Covishield vaccine with the Omicron variant can only be studied properly during the next 2-3 weeks. He further added that it’s too early to draw conclusions about the extent of the seriousness of the newly discovered Omicron, a variant that the WHO has designated with the Variant of Concern title.

In an interview with NDTV, Poonawala mentioned that a booster dose is possible specifically for the Omicron variant, however, the priority should be to get every citizen double vaccinated first.

Is Covishield Effective Against Omicron?

In a research, AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine Covishield was effective against the Omicron coronavirus variation after the third treatment, with neutralising levels similar to those shown after a conventional two-dose course against the Delta variant.

Omicron and Covaxin

Experts suggest that Covaxin could possibly be highly effective against the Omicron variant as it is a ‘whole virion inactivated coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). However, we need to wait for some more time to get concrete evidence to support this.

How Effective is Covaxin Against Omicron Variant?

According to an official with the Indian Council of Medical Research, Covaxin is anticipated to be more effective against the highly mutating Omicron form than other COVID-19 vaccinations (ICMR).
“Covaxin is an inactivated whole virion vaccine. “It covers the full virus,” the official explained, “so it can operate against this highly modified new form”. “It was previously discovered that Covaxin was effective against all variations, including Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. As a result, we expect it to work against the new variety as well,” added another ICMR official.

BioNTech and Pfizer on Omicron

The Pfizer vaccine will offer strong protection against any severe symptom caused by Omicron, Reuters quoted BioNTech’s, Chief Executive Officer. Speaking to the BBC recently, Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s CEO, said he is of the view getting vaccinated every year may be the way to offer a “very high level of protection” against the deadly disease that has reportedly caused upwards of five million casualties across the world.

The company is said to be updating their jab in response to Omicron, which could be ready in a short time, possibly 100 days. At the end of this year, Pfizer is expected to have supplied about three billion doses of their mRNA vaccine. The plan for next year stands at 4 billion. 

Omicron Vs Other Variants

We’ve seen five different types of concerns in the last two years: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron. While the first four VOCs were discovered in different regions of the world in 2020, Omicron was discovered in November 2021 in South Africa.

A recent article by Nature pointed out four possible scenarios of how the virus can evolve in the future. 

Scenarios 1: SARS-best CoV-2’s hope – but also the least likely – is to follow in the footsteps of measles. Infection or immunisation confers lifetime immunity and the virus spreads mostly through new births.

Scenarios 2: SARS-CoV-2 following the path of the respiratory syncytial virus is a more realistic, but still hopeful, option (RSV). The majority of persons become infected within the first two years of their lives. RSV is a leading cause of infant hospitalisation, however, most occurrences in children are minor.

Scenarios 3:  The third is coronavirus imitating the influenza A virus and is responsible for global seasonal influenza epidemics each year. New variants are able to evade the immunity elicited by previous strains due to rapid evolution. Seasonal epidemics emerge, as a result, fueled mostly by the transmission of the disease among adults, who can still acquire severe symptoms. The flu vaccine helps to lessen the severity of the illness.

Scenarios 4: But if SARS-CoV-2 evolves to evade immunity more sluggishly, it might come to resemble influenza B. That virus’s slower rate of change, compared with influenza A, means that its transmission is driven largely by infections in children, who have less immunity than adults.

What WHO has said about the next variant?

Last week, a WHO official stated that the next strain of concern will be more fit, i.e., more transmissible because it will have to outcompete the existing strain. “The main question is whether future versions will be more or less severe,” says the author. Although hypotheses abound, there is no guarantee that the following variants will be gentler than the prior ones.

According to the official, the future version of Covid may dodge vaccine safeguards, even more, making existing vaccines for coronavirus even less effective.

Sputnik and Omicron

The Gamaleya Institute believes both versions, Sputnik V and Sputnik Light, will be effective at neutralising the Omicron variant. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), made a statement recently about the same, the RDIF was a key supporter of the vaccine development at the state-run Gamaleya Center. In the statement, they said that the centre “has already begun developing the new version of Sputnik vaccine adapted to Omicron.”

Johnson & Johnson and Omicron

Johnson & Johnson mentioned on their website that it is pursuing an Omicron-specific variant vaccine and will continue to work if need be. ”The new Omicron variant highlights the importance of continued surveillance, testing and vaccination to prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19,” said Dr Mathai Mammen, global head for Janssen Research & Development LLC, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

“We remain confident in the robust humoral and cell-mediated immune responses elicited by the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated by the durability and breadth of protection against variants to date in clinical studies.” [2]

Also Read: Omicron Variant: Latest News & Updates

Conclusion

As of now, there is no evidence to support the thought that existing vaccines will be ineffective or less effective against the Omicron variant. As the WHO recommends, we need to continue to use vaccination as our best bet against severe illness and lower the risk of death due to COVID-19. With enough people vaccinated, the virus that is causing this pandemic will have fewer hosts. Fewer hosts mean not only fewer people getting sick, but also fewer opportunities for the virus to evolve and change. Let’s all work together to keep following the pandemic safety measures and we can eventually be safe from the virus once and for all. We need to be vigilant, but not only due to the Omicron variant. Simple actions like wearing a mask in public, maintaining social distance and regularly washing hands will help us to meaningfully lower our risk of catching this disease. 

Also Read:

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

References

[1]-https://www.who.int/news/item/26-11-2021-classification-of-omicron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern
[2]-https://www.jnj.com/johnson-johnson-to-evaluate-its-covid-19-vaccine-against-new-omicron-covid-19-variant

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Coronavirus: Is There A Way To Know If You Are An Asymptomatic COVID Carrier?

Covid appropriate behaviour has become a part of our lives since March 2020, and with the passage of time, the COVID-19 virus has transformed and transmuted to different versions. The threat and anxiety that covid posed in its earlier stages have reduced substantially, but it is still playing quite a large role in our lives. We have seen the covid cases go down and then go up again several times, and we have somehow become accustomed to it. But now, even though the covid cases numbers are known to fall, there lies a bigger and more importantly undetected issue. The asymptomatic carriers of covid.  

Asymptomatic covid carriers are people who have contracted covid but do not exhibit the known symptoms of the disease. They may not show any symptoms but can transmit the infection to others unknowingly. The number of asymptomatic people is on the rise, but due to the reduced power of the virus, the situation isn’t as serious as before. 

Why Are Certain People Symptomatic Whereas Others Are Asymptomatic?

We have been aware of asymptomatic carriers of covid since the dawn of the disease, though most affected were symptomatic. That was mostly because of the early covid variants-they were not only powerful and potent but also we had no vaccines. But over time, we have achieved good vaccination coverage, have learnt to adapt to all safety precautions meant to reduce the risk of exposure. This is one of the primary reasons why most people are asymptomatic these days.  

Another contributing factor here is the innate immune system in people. The innate immune system is the first line of defence that we are born with, which protects us against the first attack of diseases. People with a stronger innate immune system are less likely to show symptoms than the ones with a compromised immune system. In the former case, the virus isn’t able to reach the adaptive immune system to trigger the common symptoms. If someone is fully vaccinated, that too increases their immunity considerably. 

But even then, asymptomatic covid carriers can transmit the disease just as well as the symptomatic ones. That is why proper precaution is needed.  

Can Asymptomatic People Be in The Way of Harm?

Yes, asymptomatic covid carriers can be in the way of harm, but the risks are considerably lower than symptomatic people. Researchers in Wuhan, China has published a paper that confirmed that even asymptomatic people can get lung diseases, as the virus keeps multiplying inside their bodies. But on a positive note, they may also have a higher chance of recovery, especially if treated early. 

How To Know If You Are Asymptomatic?

There is no distinct way of knowing if you are asymptomatic other than testing for it. If you show mild symptoms or if you have been in contact with a symptomatic covid carrier, then it is best to quarantine yourself for at least 7 days, at least as a precaution. It is not mandatory to be tested if you have been in contact with a covid positive person unless you are exhibiting symptoms or belong to a high-risk group (age more than 60 years, comorbidities like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, cancer, weak immunity, etc).  

What Measures Can Be Taken to Keep Yourselves and Others From Contacting Covid?

There are certain precautionary steps that one can take to keep themselves and the people around them safe from Covid. Some of them are:

  1. Mask-up – Use a well-fitting, good quality face mask when stepping out of the home. It can help you stay protected not only against the virus but also from dust and allergens.  
  2. Maintain distancing – Covid is still to leave so you can be safer if you avoid closed spaces and crowded areas as much as possible.  
  3. Hand Hygiene – Washing your hands for 40 seconds as often as possible can reduce your risk of infection.
  4. Sanitize – Make sure to sanitize your edibles, parcels and packaged items when they arrive at your home.  
  5. Stay home – Do not go out if it is not necessary. Try to stay at home if you can during these uncertain times and reduce going out as much as possible.  
  6. Healthy Habits – Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, adding Vitamin C to your diet, staying hydrated, sleeping well and staying happy can help you attain good health. If you experience any signs of illness, consult a doctor immediately.    

Final Thoughts

Covid might have wreaked havoc in the world, but with the passage of time, we are seeing a tinge of hope in our future. We have come a long way in our battle with Covid, and if we just take the right steps for a bit longer, we are surely going to emerge victoriously. 

Everything You Must Know About A Delta And Omicron Infection At Once.

We will always remember the second wave of COVID that was triggered by the Delta variant. But the worst is behind us. We have survived.

The potent Delta variant of COVID-19 was first identified in late 2020. It was a threatening variant that spread across countries and wreaked havoc. The virus was twice as contagious as the previous variants and affected many people. 

During late November 2021, as the cases began to decrease, we noticed the emergence of another mutant, better known as the Omicron variant. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the B.1.1.529 variant of COVID-19 a “variant of concern”.  

There was initially a steep rise in infections in South Africa which later spread rapidly across countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, and Mexico. In India, towards the end of January, we began to see a decline of Omicron as well.

In the wake of the two waves, scientists said that there is a possibility of people being affected by both variants. 

Who is more vulnerable to co-infection from Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19? The answer is older people with comorbidities, people with a weaker immune system, and the ones who have multiple comorbidities. But the good news is, with proper caution, everyone can be safe.

Omicron and Delta: The differences

Symptoms

Firstly, we must remember that both Delta and Omicron are variants of the same SARS-CoV-2 virus. There is a wide range of symptoms and certain symptoms may be more prominent in one strain than the other but more or less remains similar.

The common symptoms include fever or chills, breathing troubles, fatigue, body and headache, throat pain, diarrhoea and more. If you are infected with the Delta variant, you may experience more severe headaches, sore throats, high-grade fever, cough, breathing difficulties and loss of taste and smell may be seen less. In case you are infected with Omicron, you are more likely to experience cold-like symptoms accompanied by sore throat and weakness. Fever may or may not be present. It is also considered milder than Delta in terms of disease severity and has less risk of hospitalization and death. People usually do not experience loss of taste or smell if they have been infected with the Omicron variant.

It is important to note that both delta and Omicron variants can cause a full spectrum of diseases ranging from asymptomatic, mild, moderate or even severe cases and deaths. The proportion of the population getting a severe illness or mild is definitely different for both variants.

It is not possible to confirm whether a person is infected by Delta variant or Omicron just by their symptoms. Genome sequencing is the only way to confirm the variant.

Transmissibility

When Delta was the dominant variant it was believed that it is highly contagious and unvaccinated people were at high risk. With Omicron we figured that it spreads more quickly than Delta due to the variant’s ability to evade immunity. It may have increased transmissibility owing to its shortened incubation period and its apparent ability to stay in the upper respiratory tract and multiply quicker there.  

Can you be infected with Omicron and Delta at the same time?

Yes, a co-infection with both Omicron and Delta at the same time may happen. While it is not common, there are a few instances under research.

How can you get a coinfection of Omicron and Delta?

If a group of people gather at a place and some of them are infected with the Omicron variant and others have the Delta variant, you may be exposed to both variants through droplets.

As the Omicron variant will infect some cells, the Delta variant will infect others and that leads to higher chances of a coinfection. Not only that, but you may also contract both the Covid new strains one after the other in close succession.

How can you tell if you have an Omicron and Delta coinfection?

Both rapid Covid tests and RT PCR tests cannot identify which variant of the virus someone has. Hence, it is not easy to tell if you have a coinfection without genomic sequencing. The symptoms will not help you determine a coinfection, either. 

Can an Omicron and Delta coinfection be treated?

A coinfection can particularly make your body really weak and it is important to consult a doctor and take utmost care. If you neglect the infection and consider it just the flu, you may put yourself at risk of sudden complications. Proper treatment, medications, good nutrition, hydration, rest and routine monitoring of vitals can reduce the chances of hospitalizations to a great extent. 

Conclusion: The first and foremost thing to note here is that a fully vaccinated person has a significantly lower risk of a serious illness due to Covid. While having a coinfection of Omicron and Delta COVID-19 variants seems worrisome, with medication and proper care you can recover well. To stay protected against Delmicron, you must continue to wear a mask, follow covid appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated.

5 Easy-To-Do Exercises To Stay Strong During Lockdown!

We all know that lockdown is essential to flatten the curve of COVID-19. But it has forced us to change our daily routine. We are not going outside for work, to meet with our loved ones or go to the movies and restaurants.

Do you miss going to the gym or jogging in a park? We can’t do a lot of activities that we liked, like going for a swim, walk or cycling around the neighbourhood. And if these are your modes of exercising, then you’ve been forced to give them up.

Does that mean you should forgo exercise? 

Not exercising for the whole duration can have an adverse effect on your health.

Luckily, there are plenty of exercises that can be done from the safety of your home and you don’t even need gym equipment. Even if you don’t exercise, now is a good time to acquire this life-saving habit because we have so much time on our hands.

The importance of exercise during COVID-19

WHO has advised us all to stay physically active during lockdown and isolation. Exercise and health are linked. The more active you are, the less likely you are to fall ill.

In fact, it is believed that exercise reduces the possibility of contracting communicable diseases (like COVID-19, flu) and even non-communicable diseases (like cancer, heart diseases, hypertension or diabetes).

Does exercise make our immunity stronger? Yes. Blood supply to all parts of the body increases. Cells get more oxygen and nutrients, which make them stronger and more capable of handling pathogens. And through exercise, you can also ward off illnesses like heart diseases or diabetes, which make COVID-19 fatal.

Exercise also releases endorphins or happy hormones that make us feel relaxed and calm. These hormones also help us cope with stress and anxiety- something we desperately need during this global health crisis.

What exercises will keep you healthy?

We are going to discuss a few whole-body exercises that will put different parts of your body to use to keep them strong and flexible. Do as many repetitions as you are comfortable with.

Your strength and endurance will increase gradually and you will be able to work out for longer. Pushing yourself too hard right from the start may cause cramps and injuries.

  1. Lunges

Lunges are an all-time favourite. There are many versions of it and you can pack them all into your work-out session. Here are a few you must try-

Benefits of lunges

2. Planks

Planks may look simple but they are truly challenging. It works your entire body. Try both the regular plank and the side plank. Once you get used to planks, incorporate leg lifts in your plank routine. Here are a few benefits of the plank-

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3.  Squats

Mix up your lunges with squats as they work really well together. Like lunges, there are different types of squats and you can pick the ones your body is comfortable with. Beginners should opt for the conventional two-leg squats.

Squats will

4. Jump rope

You can base your whole exercise routine on a jumping rope or skipping because this cardio exercise is simply amazing.

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5. Burpees

The goodness of burpees extends to all parts of the body. Burpees are difficult. So start with a simple non-pushup variation of burpees and do just a few.  

Burpees will-

Bonus!

For good luck, we’ll throw in just one more exercise into the mix. This one is called power walking. Yes, good old walking can be one of the best exercises for strength and power. If done in a brisk manner accompanied by swift arm movements, this exercise can help you lose some weight amongst other great benefits.

Since we all are stuck in this Covid-19 world, make sure you take all safety precautions before venturing out. Keep a safe distance from others while walking. Otherwise, a 10-15 minute walk in your terrace or garden can do the trick just as well. Partaking in this short workout will better the strength of cardiac muscles, and also prevent severe joint pain in later years of your life.

Tips to keep yourself motivated

In the current situation, it can be tough to keep yourself motivated to do anything, let alone exercise! Hence, here are some simple tips you can follow to bring out the workout clothes which have been collecting dust for quite some time now:

Try different forms of exercise every day and allow yourself one rest day to let your body heal. Stay home at all times, eat healthily and exercise. We will emerge from the crisis as stronger individuals.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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Precaution Dose For 60+ With Comorbidities In Mumbai And Delhi

The third wave of COVID-19 has recently brought the Omicron variant into India. Medical professionals report that this variant is far more contagious than the previous Delta variant. Therefore, the Government of India has issued the administration of a precautionary/booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine from 10th January 2022.

PharmEasy has been actively involved with vaccinations since the first drive. Therefore once again, PharmEasy has sought to open vaccination camps in Mumbai and Delhi to support the Government’s endeavour towards securing public health. According to the governmental guidelines, people aged 60 years or more with any comorbidities can take the precaution dose with a doctor’s advice.

The third dose i.e the precaution dose of the vaccine should be the same as the previous two doses. Eg. If a person took the first two doses of Covishield, the third/precaution dose should also be of Covishield. 

Why the Precaution Dose?

Scientists have found the immunity created by the first two doses is gradually fading away in most people. This is especially true for senior citizens with co-morbidities and compromised immune systems. The third dose can amp up a person’s immunity.

The price of the covishield vaccine is as per govt norms issued for private hospitals.

Eligibility Criteria of Precaution Dose

Vaccine Available: Covishield

The list of hospitals given below are within the PharmEasy network in Delhi and Mumbai and will be hosting these vaccination camps.

Hospital NameAddressCitySlot TimeDays OperationalNavigation Link
Surana Sethia HospitalSion – Trombay Rd, Suman Nagar, Chembur, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400071Mumbai10 am to 4 pmMON-SAThttps://maps.app.goo.gl/qbMy7PXN1EWC9Nve7
Surana Hospital and Research Centre.End of, Tank Road, Shankar Lane, Orlem, Church, Malad West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400064Mumbai10 am to 4 pmMON-SAThttps://maps.app.goo.gl/geN7UZqngQoPT6EC7
MPCT HospitalC7, Budhyadev Mandir Marg, Sector 4, Sanpada, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra 400705Mumbai10 am to 4 pmMON-SAThttps://maps.app.goo.gl/WYKuL13oMorCivVR9
Apex HospitalE-22, Goswami Girdhari Lal Marg, Block E, Naraina Vihar, Naraina, New Delhi, Delhi 110028Delhi10 am to 2 pmMON-SAThttps://maps.app.goo.gl/XmK5JbBRQLkckore8

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

Omicron: How Can Diabetics Protect Themselves?

Introduction

Amidst the ambiguity regarding the latest Omicron variant of COVID-19, there may be several myths and rumours. Instead of worrying about these, it is better to follow certain specific guidelines to keep yourself and your family safe. Especially if you are a person with Diabetes, you will need to consider some additional precautions.

Precautions to reduce the risk

COVID-19 appropriate behaviour- Wear an N-95 mask with a good fit or double mask, avoid crowds, follow hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Satinise the frequently touched surfaces at home and handle anything that comes from outside with care.  

  1. Monitor your blood sugar- Keep a check on your blood sugar levels more frequently than before. Keep a record of your readings. HbA1C test done every three months can give a good picture of blood sugar levels over 3 months. Make sure your levels are in the healthy range as advised by your doctor because uncontrolled levels of blood sugar bring a risk of many other health complications and can be a reason for severe illness due to Covid.  
  2. Medicines- Take all your prescribed medicines regularly. If you are deficient in vitamin D  and (or) vitamin B12 ask your doctor for the necessary supplements and maintain your lab reports in the normal range.
  3. Diet- Take a balanced and nutritious diet that is low in sugars and unhealthy fats. Avoid deep fried, processed, packaged food and beverages. Freshly prepared homemade food, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts should be consumed as per your health needs. Do not over consume nutraceuticals, herbal remedies, etc. without consulting your doctor.
  4. Daily Physical Activity– Do not make Covid an excuse to skip your daily walk and exercises. Rather, you should move your activities indoors and improvise. For example, you can practice different Asanas of Yoga that can be performed indoors, practice moderate to high energy dance forms or even spot sprinting and static jogging.
  5. Vaccination- While exercise can help you boost your immunity, there’s no better alternative to getting vaccinated. If your turn has arrived, you should definitely get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and a precaution dose (3rd dose if eligible).  

Must-have equipments

To take the necessary precautions, you will need to have certain equipment and paraphernalia available at home. 

If you haven’t consulted a doctor in the last couple of months, you should also take a follow-up consultation.

Watch out for the following symptoms of Omicron

One may experience some or even none of the above-mentioned symptoms and still be Covid positive. There are people with no symtoms, mild symtoms and even severe symtoms.  

What to do if you think you have Omicron symptoms?

Do not panic if you have all the aforementioned symptoms of Omicron. The first thing you need to do in such a situation is to be alert and decisive. You also need to prevent the infection from spreading to your family and loved ones. Here’s what you should do

Immediately consult your doctor or go to a hospital if

Sick day guidelines for diabetes

Use of insulin

If you experience a sudden fall in insulin levels (which can lead to a sudden increase in blood sugar levels), consult a doctor immediately. Some oral medicines for diabetes may not be well tolerated during severe illness. Your doctor can adjust the dosage of your ongoing diabetes medication and start insulin as well. The most important thing is to not panic because once you have recovered there are high chances that your doses of medication will be adjusted again and recently added insulin injections can be discontinued then.

Dietary tips

Finally, one of the most important things to keep in mind is to maintain a healthy diet. It is advisable to consume small frequent meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism regular. You should eat food that is low in sugar and easy to digest. Hence, avoid eating too many fried foods and food that is extremely high in fibre. It is best to opt for fresh fruits, a balanced salad, sprouts or even easy to digest food like Upma and Idli.

For breakfast, you can have oatmeal or daliya, while for lunch you can go for fresh green vegetables, paneer, soybeans, dal, etc. For dinner, you can have light soup and some vegetables, whole wheat flatbreads like roti/chapati, khichdi. Moreover, you should also drink enough water to keep your electrolyte levels steady. 

FAQs

1. Do people with diabetes have a higher chance of Omicron infection?
Ans
: There is currently not enough data to suggest the same. However, having diabetes can increase the chance of an Omicron infection becoming severe.

2. Are the risks of Omicron infection different for people with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
Ans
: There is not enough data to show the difference, but people with either kind of diabetes have been suggested to have a higher risk of complications in the case of Omicron infection.

3. Do I need to worry about DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis)?
Ans
: DKA can happen to people with persistent uncontrolled high blood sugars ie above 300 mg/dL. Watch for symptoms like:

4. Does Omicron cause diabetes?
Ans
: No, there is no evidence that supports this.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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