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Deadly fungal infection found among COVID-19 patients in Hyderabad

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Doctors at a leading healthcare facility in Hyderabad have come across Covid-19 positive patients who are suffering from mucormycosis, a deadly fungal infection, and a silent killer.

In the past 3-4 weeks, a total of five patients have been reported with this infection at Continental Hospitals, indicating rise in the condition among the Covid-hit, the hospital said on Monday.

According to doctors, prolonged hospitalisation and continuous use of corticosteroids, which has become standard for Covid-19 treatment, is resulting in lowering immune system. This could lead to susceptibility to infections like mucormycosis causing irreversible damage to organs and threatening life of infected patients.

“Swelling around the eyes, one-sided facial or eye pain, decreased sensation over cheeks, blood-stained nasal discharge, among others are symptoms of mucormycosis infection and such cases should be reported immediately for medical attention. Such patients will be administered with certain antifungal drugs or a surgical debridement will be performed depending on the condition to reduce the disease burden,” said Dr Dushyanth Ganesuni, Consultant, ENT, Head & Neck Surgeon and Laryngologist, Continental Hospitals.

“Unjustified and self-prescribed use of antibiotics and steroids to treat Covid-19 symptoms is dangerous. Such a practice will affect the immune system and could lead to secondary to infections like mucormycosis. Hence, even for conditions like fevers, cold, cough, it is suggested one seeks medical advice before resorting to any form of self-medication,” added Dr. Dushyanth Ganesuni.

Several studies from around the world have indicated that secondary fungal infections among critically ill Covid-19 positive patients are in the range of 5-23 per cent while mortality rate among these fungus infected patients increases to 53 per cent from 31 per cent in non-infected Covid-19 positive patients.

In India, at least 40 cases of mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, have been reported from Gujarat’s Surat among those who have recovered from Covid-19. Of the 40 patients identified, eight have lost their eyesight, and it is being attributed to this secondary infection.

The treating doctors and ICU specialists should be aware of this condition and a high degree of suspicion is needed particularly in patients with severe Covid-19 infection with other associated risk factors. This entity is particularly evident in the middle and later stages of the disease. Rational use of steroids, strict control of blood sugars, maintaining nasal hygiene by using saline isotonic nasal spray and to use 0.5 per cent Betadine nasal drops, two drops in both nostrils twice/thrice daily as a prophylactic treatment in these patients is recommended only under medical supervision.

source: The Statesman

Books & Authors

Fiction flourishes in contradiction: Pak author Mira Sethi

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In a country where assertive self-expression can be frowned upon, how to be yourself? Maybe through sneaky networks of solidarity, by improvising identities as one navigates life…

While many of the characters in author Mira Sethi’s debut story collection ‘Are you Enjoying?’ (Bloomsbury India) are professional performers, even those who are not, can be skilled chameleons.

“To live in a society with strong views about what constitutes ‘virtue’ and ‘vice’, means, as a citizen, having to alter and contort one’s authentic self in order to survive. Roshan, the queer chai-boy on the set of ‘Breezy Blessings’ says to Mehak, the actress: ‘About drama, you know nothing.’ She may be the actress, but as a queer person navigating middle-class Pakistani society, he understands everything about drama, and how to communicate effectively via code, innuendo, signal,” Mira Sethi tells IANS.

As the characters in the stories strive for personal freedom, the author asserts that they are in fact trying to throw off the straitjacket imposed by society — how does one negotiate personal freedom in a traditional society?

“I wanted to show both the resilience of my characters, but also the vulnerability of people caught between the pull of the past, and the lure of modernity. Family – the imperatives of fathers and mothers – is a major theme in the book; there was a desire to portray how the burdensome pressures of family (the past) interact with (modern) aspirations of young, urban people,” she says.

Taking around six years to write the book, ‘Breezy Blessings’ was the first story she wrote.

“I would email myself snippets, thoughts and observations. It was only after I wrote the first draft of ‘Breezy Blessings’ (in my gmail inbox!) that I opened a Word document, and began taking myself seriously as a writer,” the writer-actor says with a smile.

Stressing that she draws from the sights and sounds encountered in life – the power dynamics on the set of a show, the ways in which Urdu and English are mixed and her lived experience as an observer and participant in Pakistani life, Sethi works best in the mornings, before she has interacted with anyone, the space when her mind is blank slate.

“I sometimes won’t shower until 5 or 6 pm until I’ve had four good hours of writing. Flow-state writing is hard to achieve, but I find I’m able to do it if I start first thing in the morning. Of course, then getting up to make breakfast is an interruption.”

Talk to her about the brilliant fiction in English from Pakistani origin writers in the past two decades, and she feels that fiction flourishes in contradiction.

Adding that Pakistan is a society in transition, and there is a lot of tension to be harnessed in the space between the laws of the state, not to mention the ways in which they interact with individual desire and autonomy, the author adds, “Young people get their news – and their aspirations – from social media and television. Their desires are secular, but the frameworks into which these people are born are traditionalist.”

Ask her about the experience of growing up in a progressive family in a religious country, and Sethi, daughter of well-known journalists Najam Sethi and Jugnu Mohsin, who has also been seen in Pakistani serials including ‘Silvatein’ and ‘Mohabat Subh Ka Sitara Hai’, says, “Identity politics play out in unusual ways in a country like Pakistan, where labels like ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ can mean different things depending on their context. I’m happy my book has been able to navigate the dignity of people who often don’t fit in.”

But has she felt the ‘burden’ of being born to famous parents? “Not when it comes to writing fiction,” she smiles.

For someone who feels that she would be a poorer writer if it weren’t for acting, there is another book brewing, “I believe so, but I’ll find out when there are words, stumbles and fumbles on the page.”

source: The Statesman

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Lifestyle

From weight loss to strong bones, health benefits of millets

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When you ask people about the most common food in India, they usually respond with wheat, rice and pulses. Food grains are ingrained in our culture, but there are better alternatives. Did you know, humans require more than 20 mineral elements for the body to function properly?

Calcium (Ca), one of the essential macro minerals, is needed in relatively large quantities in the diet to maintain good overall health. There is one ingredient which is not only simple to prepare, but also entails many health benefits — Millets.

Prabhu Gandhikumar Co-Founder TABP Snacks and Beverages shares simple ways prepare and use millets :

Boosts Immunity Level

Millets are high source of antioxidants and therefore are considered as an immunity booster to flush out harmful radicals from the body. It aids your body’s detoxification by supplying antioxidants such as quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid, and other useful catechins, which aid in the elimination of toxins and the neutralization of enzymes in your organs. Thus, preventing variety of health issues.

Aids and manages weight loss in humans

Millets help you lose weight since they are low in calories and gluten-free. They’re high in complex carbohydrates and can help health-conscious people reach their fitness goals easily. Millets also help to lower your cholesterol levels and keep your weight in check.

Helps in Digestion

Millets have a high fiber content, which helps with digestion and prevents constipation, bloating, and acidity. Good digestion avoids digestive complaints which humans generally makes, like gastrointestinal cancer and kidney/liver complaints.

Reduces Cardiovascular Risks

Millets are high in essential fats, which provide our bodies with their own natural fats. It prevents us from storing excess fat in our bodies, lowering our risk of high cholesterol, paralysis, and other heart problems. Millets contain potassium, which helps to control blood pressure and increase circulation.

Millets fight back Type-2 diabetes

Millets, as you might have noticed, are high in magnesium, a mineral that is critical for starch digestion. Magnesium is needed for the production of many carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, including those that regulate insulin action. Researchers discovered that eating magnesium-rich whole grains can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, it can help to prevent osteoporosis and bone damage.

When embarking on a journey of healthy living or attempting to lose weight, you do not deprive yourself by refusing to eat; rather, you substitute those foods that do not help in weight loss with healthier foods that promote good health. Millets will keep you fit and strong for the rest of your life. It provides a significant amount of nutrients for our human diet. Millets should be a part of your diet for solid, healthy bones!

source: The Statesman

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Lifestyle

Remembering the goodness of walnuts

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Despite three months of scorching heat, summer is full of reasons to invest in well-being, from seasonal fruits and vegetables, long days and international and national food days to keep reminding you of your promise of good health to your mind and body.

On the National Walnut Day, that falls on May 17 every year, let’s remember the goodness of these crunchy ol’ nuts:

Packs a nutritional punch

Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and offer other heart-healthy fats, protein, fibre, and vitamins (including vitamin B6), among others. Munching on these on a daily basis may reduce the risk of heart disease, improve brain health, ensure a healthy gut, and help in weight management. Infact, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)’s Eat Right During Covid-19 guidelines mention foods with omega-3, zinc, selenium, protein and vitamin B to help maintain a healthy immune system and play a role in our body’s healing and recovery. And each of these nutrients is present in walnuts. Now, while no single food can prevent or treat illness, it is important to eat a balanced diet.

Easy to incorporate in meals

Munching on a handful of walnuts isn’t the only way to reap the health benefits of this nutritious food. They are incredibly delicious and crunchy, and boast great potential on the cooking front because of their ability to absorb flavours and work equally well in both sweet and savoury dishes. To add some much-needed excitement to your daily meals, you can pair these with a variety of food groups, including fruits and veggies, dairy, and breads and cereals, to name a few. Toss it into your salad, cake, or ice cream, blend it with fruits and veggies for your morning smoothie or grind it into a paste to use in dips or gravy, or simply make a trail mix — there are so many creative ways to work them into your diet.

Easy to store

Contrary to popular belief, walnuts can easily remain fresh at home provided you store them away from moisture, light, and warmth. Shelled or unshelled, put the walnuts into a resealable bag or an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator or freezer based on the period of use. If you’re going to use them within a month, keep them in the refrigerator or move them to the freezer.

Making everyday healthy is not an easy task, but with walnuts in your daily meals, you may get a few steps closer.

source: The Statesman

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