Another method to prevent the spread of H1N1 virus. The International Copper Association Ltd. has provided the following details.
Copper touch surfaces have self-sterilizing properties that can prevent the spread of H1N1 virus
The recent threat of Swine flu has emerged as the most important health concern in India and has triggered the need to use the most protective and efficient measures to reduce its spread in public places. While we have been advised to be alert, wash our hands regularly, avoid crowded places like cinema halls, shopping complexes, malls etc. International Copper Promotion Council (India) would also like to educate the public about the capability of Copper to combat the spread of the H1N1 virus.
A recent UK study1 has found that copper touch surfaces can significantly reduce the concentration of Influenza A virus on them, raising hopes that it may also be effective against other strains of the virus. The research found that 75 percent of Influenza A are knocked out in 1 hour on a copper surface and almost completely in 6 hours. The work, which was led by Professor Bill Keevil from the University of Southhampton, was presented at the BIT Life Sciences’ 2nd Annual World Summit of Anti-virals in Beijing on July 18. The findings are timely given the current Influenza H1N1 ( more commonly known as Swine Flu ) pandemic currently sweeping the world. But even more common forms of flu are a major global health issue.
The role of surfaces in spreading influenza is now well known. In fact it has been shown that once surfaces are contaminated, fingers can transfer viral particles to up to seven other clean surfaces. Professor Keevil makes it clear that preventing the spread of any strain of Influenza is a very complex process and no one option is likely to be 100 percent successful. “There is no single answer to controlling the spread of pathogenic microorganisms,” Prof Keevil
et al state in the paper. The current study shows that copper surfaces may contribute to the number of control barriers able to reduce transmission of the virus.
H1N1 virus appears to be transmitted the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the registration of antimicrobial Copper alloys, with Public Health Claims acknowledging that Copper, Brass and Bronze are capable of killing harmful, potentially deadly bacteria. Copper and Copper alloy surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of (specific) bacteria within two hours, and continue to kill more than 99% of (these) bacteria even after repeated contamination. Therefore, it has been recognized that the use of Copper touch surfaces in hospitals, educational institutions, public buildings, public transport and food preparation areas can reduce the spread of harmful infections.
Copper and its alloys are available in a variety of forms like door handles, grab rails and bathroom fixtures etc. which are regular touch surfaces and can work to demonstrate reduced build-up and transfer of infectious pathogens.
Mr. Ajit Advani, Dy. Regional Director Asia, International Copper Association Ltd. & CEO, International Copper Promotion Council (India) said: “In India, we have known about the protective properties of Copper since the vedic ages. This has now been corroborated by modern Science. Use of this wonder metal in public touch surfaces can go a long way in reducing the spread of infections such as Influenza”.
Dr. Anu Kant Mital, Associate Professor & Head of Department, Rajiv Gandhi Medical College, and President Indian Association of Biological Psychiatry said, “Touch surfaces such as Taps, Door handles, Railings etc. are the first portals of entry for any infection into the pool of becoming “The Epidemic“. This is especially significant in our country as we have a large population and the numbers that would be involved in the touch and spread model are mind boggling. In this context “The Anti-Microbial“ or more descriptively put “Self Sterilizing (self cleansing)“ properties of COPPER, established scientifically and accepted by the authorities world over now,( that we have known since eons) would be heaven sent. All the surfaces that are touched by thousands daily, if made of copper would not be aiding the spread of any infection, especially like the H1N1.”
The use of a Copper alloy surface is a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices; users must continue to follow all current infection control (hygienic) practices including those practices related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.
Dr. Paula Goel is a practicing adolescent pediatrician with special interest in adolescent obesity and its influence on lifestyle diseases in teenagers and young Indians. She is currently the adolescent pediatrician and director of Fayth Clinic, Mumbai – the only clinic specializing in adolescent health services in Mumbai. I got the opportunity to interview Dr. Goel through email about obesity among adolescents, the effects, preventive measures, and the workshops and treatment offered by Fayth Clinic.
For the last 6 years, you have worked extensively in the field of adolescent medicine dealing with problems of obesity and its effects in teenagers and young Indians. How would you rate the adolescent obesity ratio in India as compared to other countries? Is it growing at an alarming rate in India?
The incidence of obesity in Indian adolescents is about 1/3 of the developed countries, but it is growing at an alarming rate.
What do you attribute as the main causes for obesity in adolescents and children in India?
- Lack of Exercise
- Increased sedentary activity with lack of exercise like TV viewing for more than 20 hrs per week with decreased physical activity
- Children exposed to food advertisements and increase in caloric intake
- Other screen time includes video games, internet use, telephone use, home viewing of movies
- Heredity factors which reduce basal metabolic rate
- Socio economic status: More obese in higher socio economic status in poorer countries and more obese in lower socioeconomic status in richer countries
- Insulin resistance leading to sugar build up causing obesity and diabetes
- Low leptin levels – does not allow brain to get signal that food intake is enough
- Endocrine and chromosomal abnormalities
What are the major complications that an obese adolescent can face during adolescence and as an adult
Following are the complications faced as young adults:
- Cardiovascular system: high blood pressure, heart attack, brain stroke
- Respiratory system: breathlessness, asthma, frequent sleep apnoea, hypoventilation. High amount of fat in chest wall / abdomen limits the respiratory excursions which lead to frequent awakening and resultant sleep deprivation leading to daytime somnolence
- Metabolic disorders: elevated cholesterol, diabetes, insulin resistance, menstrual irregularities
- Gastro intestinal system: fatty liver, cirrhosis, hemorrhoids, hernia, colorectal cancer , gall stones
- Malignancy: breast cancer, endometrial cancer, prostratic cancer , cervical cancer
- Musculoakeletal problems : back pain , joint pains, frequent strains, sprains, limp, groin pain leg bowing
- Poly cystic ovarian syndrome in young girls : dysmenorrhea, excess body hair ( hirsutism), acne, hair loss on scalp, central obesity, insulin resistance, infertility
- Behavioural complications: disordered eating ,depression ,negative body image, decreased school performance, social isolation ,decreased self esteem ,bullying, being bullied
- Metabolic syndrome in young adults characterized by central obesity, hypertension, DM, premature coronary artery disease
How much is the awareness for obesity in adolescents in India? What steps are being taken by you and your clinic to spread the awareness?
Awareness of obesity in India especially in the young population is increasing. Many adolescents suffer from BODY IMAGE PROBLEM and this also results in bulimia, anorexia nervosa and eating disorders which may lead to depression. We hold regular seminars, workshops, community camps and media awareness programs.
You have been conducting various workshops for rehabilitating adolescents. Are these workshops conducted only in Mumbai? Are the workshops also conducted in other parts of India? How successful have these workshops been?
We are holding these workshops only in Mumbai at present. The results have been rewarding with positive feedbacks from the participants. The take home message has been implemented.
Regarding treatment, what are the various plans that you provide to the patient? Who comprise the team (doctor, dietician, counsellor, etc.)? Could you tell us in brief what are the various steps in the treatment and rehabilitation process? In terms of percentage can you tell us how much of medication and counselling is involved?
The Medical Management of Obesity consists of a detailed plan comprising of medical examination to determine the cause of obesity, diet and exercise protocol as per individual needs, detailed history will include onset, progression of obesity, growth and development, family history of obesity and complications. Exploring diet practices, family structure and habits. Over weight child with less than 50th percentile for height are screened for endocrine or genetic conditions. Screening for complications is important. certain conditions like high blood pressure, asthma and orthopaedic problems may require treatment before exercise regimen can be prescribed treatment .Laboratory screening is also required for base line investigations and associated complications .The team comprises of doctor(adolescent paediatrician),dietician and counsellor and exercise therapist. Review is done on a periodic basis .However, medications are not provided for to lose weight. Medication is required as per the medical requirement and counselling is done for all patients.
Talking with an adolescent is definitely different from talking to a child or an adult. So do you have to use a different approach in the treatment and rehabilitation of adolescents? (By approach I mean the method of treatment, the counselling done afterwards, even any symptoms and side effects during diagnosis).
Approach definitely has to be different. Understanding and gaining trust of the adolescent is very important to maintain compliance during the treatment. Vast majority suffer from problems of body image and also early depression. They are also very sceptical and have their own set of value system which is as per the peer group. So gaining the trust is most important. Once they are comfortable, they open up and counselling is then easier. Diet also has to be looked into carefully as this is a growing phase and severe restriction of diet is not possible as this will hamper growth and development. Moreover, adolescents if put on to a strict diet will always binge and will never comply with the diet plan. Certain weight training exercises are also not recommended as it damages the growth plate which is at the end of the bones and this will also affect the final height of the adolescent. Moreover, if there is any muscle injury, it is more dangerous than bone injury as bone injury is picked up by X-rays while muscle injury cannot be picked up and it takes a longer time to heal. Hence complete physical and medical examination is mandatory before starting exercise protocol.
Today we lead a fast pace lifestyle and stress accompanied with studies, competition among peers, peer pressure, etc. What are your suggestions to prevent adolescence obesity in India?
- Lead a disciplined lifestyle
- Breakfast provides food for the brain and should never be missed
- A balanced diet with fruits and vegetables
- Prevent obesity at an early stage of life
- No child should be forced to complete the portion left behind on the plate in pre adolescent phase as it leads to obesity
- Should not be given energy-dense foods: chocolates, ice-creams, chips, as rewards for good behavior
- Fast foods/cold drinks be avoided
- Life style modification -walking, cycling, playing outdoor games rather than video-games, outings- trekking/walking on the beaches instead of malls every week ends
- Television viewing-a sedentary activity must be restricted. Snacking during TV viewing be condemned
- May have medical reasons-evaluation required
- Positive peer pressure through friends and peer educators may also be used to motivate to lose weight and to cope with body image problem, emotional taunts and emotional blackmail
How many workshops have you conducted on adolescence obesity? When is the next workshop scheduled to take place?
We have conducted about 4 to 5 workshops. The next workshop is due in January 2011.
How does one register for attending the workshop?
After a sabbatical of one year, I am back. This news would be of interest and a blessing to those who advised to go for hip and knee replacement surgery. Last month on August 11th 2010, Manipal Hospital performed hip replacement surgery along with bilateral knee replacement surgery and soft tissue release surgeries on a single patient – 10 surgeries in one single sitting
For the first time in India and the world, The Department of Orthopaedics at Bangalore based Manipal Hospital performed 10 surgeries on a patient in the same sitting with minimal blood loss with excellent results. The patient was stable throughout the intra-operative period and did not require post-operative ICU care. Patient recovered and took her first steps on the second post-operative day.
Mrs. Nagamma, 59 years old, complained of pain in both her hips and knees since 15 years and was unable to walk or sit for the past 6 months. The pains were gradual in onset and progressed with time. It was associated with gradually progressive Flexion Deformity; i.e. Bent hips and knees. She was able to move at home with the aid of a walker for the past 2 years and since the last 6 months, she was completely bedridden. She is a known case of Rheumatoid Arthritis but has no other illnesses. On examination, she was found to have Fixed Flexion Deformities of 50 degrees in both the hips and 60 degrees in the Right Knee and 50 degrees in the Left Knee. After thorough investigations and evaluation along with Medical and Rheumatology clearance she was
taken up for surgery on 11th August, 2010, wherein ten surgeries were performed on her viz. Bilateral Hip Replacement surgery along with Bilateral Knee Replacement surgery and 6 soft tissue release surgeries.
Fig: Mrs. Nagamma with the doctors of Department of Orthopaedics at Bangalore based Manipal Hospital
According to Dr. R.D Chakravarty, HOD, Orthopaedic Department, Manipal Hospital who spearheaded the surgical team, “First, she was placed flat on her back and Adductor Tenotomies were carried out on both her Hips, to correct the Hip Adductor deformities. Later, she was turned over to prone position and Hamstring Release procedure was done on both her Knees to correct the Knee Flexion deformities. Next, she was placed in a Right Lateral Position, i.e. on her right side with left side up and a Total Hip Replacement was done on her Left Hip. Similarly, she was shifted to a Left Lateral position, and a Total Hip Replacement was done on her Right Hip. After this, she was again placed Spine and Total Knee Replacement Surgeries were done on both her Knees. Total blood loss during the surgery was 800 ml. She was transfused two Units of Whole Blood to make up this loss. She tolerated the procedure well and post operatively was shifted to the ward as she was stable. She was put on Parenteral Antibiotics and Analgesics along with Anticoagulants and Anti DVT therapy.
She was made to get up from bed and walk on the second postoperative day and she responded well. With rigorous Physiotherapy and encouragement for Rehab, she is now moving with the help of a walker to meet her daily requirements and is also able to bend her knees comfortably till 90 degrees.”
Dr. S.C. Nagendra Swamy, COO, Bangalore Region, Director Shared Strategic Services noted, ” Keeping in mind that such an extensive surgery has never been attempted anywhere in the world before and also remembering the foreseeable risks associated with such an undertaking, we took care to perform a very thorough and meticulous preoperative planning. I applaud Manipal Hospital Orthopaedic team for competently performing such a delicate and rare surgery successfully and with such amazing results.”
Speaking to media persons Dr. H. Sudarshan Ballal, Medical Director, Manipal Hospital said, “In the West, surgeons rarely face these kinds of cases. Whereas in India, the patient tends to neglect due to financial and social reasons and finally comes at the last stage with such gross deformities. Correcting such deformed joints involves great technical skill and straightening a deformed joint can result in neurovascular damage if done without proper expertise and equipment. We are indeed blessed to have a professionally competent team and the best facilities to be able to perform a surgery of this magnitude without a hitch.”
Manipal Hospital, Bangalore is India’s first hospital to be ISO 9001:2000 certified for Clinical, Nursing, Diagnostics and Allied Areas. Manipal Hospital has been repeatedly ranked amongst the ten best hospitals in India.
Will be back in few days
Current warning labels on Indian tobacco products ineffective¬¬ – concludes an international expert on tobacco control
India’s new warning labels on tobacco products fall short of the international standards for strong warning labels, according to Professor Geoffrey Fong, of the University of Waterloo in Canada, who is in India with his research team to meet with researchers at the Healis-Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health.
A world expert in tobacco control, Professor Geoffrey Fong made this conclusion based on research that he and his international team of experts have conducted on the impact of warning labels in a massive project across 20 countries.
“Warning labels that include graphic and clear images of the devastating diseases due to tobacco use are known to increase thoughts about quitting and to be used by smokers,” Professor Fong, whose research on warning labels has examined the impact of graphic warnings in Canada, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil, Uruguay, and Australia, compared to text-only warnings in the other countries, including United States, China, France, Germany, Netherlands.
In July 2006, India introduced new warnings on cigarette and bidi packs and on packages of Gutkha and on tins of loose tobacco used for paanmasala. The original law for picture warnings was passed in 2003 and called for graphic photos of mouth cancer due to tobacco use. The new warnings would also include skull and crossbones, which is an international sign of poison.
“The skull and crossbones is a universal warning sign that the substance or product is very dangerous,” said Professor Fong. “And this is true of tobacco products. For example, we know that between one-third and one-half of all regular smokers will die of a smoking-related disease. It is the only product that kills people when used as intended.”
However, due to extreme pressure from the tobacco industry in India, especially the bidi industry, the implementation of the law was delayed 6 times over 5 years.
Then in March 2008, in an unprecedented move, the strong graphic warnings that had already been notified by the Government in 2006 and 2007 were changedto be weaker. The widely understood symbol of Skull and Crossbones was replaced by a scorpion. The vivid colour photos of real examples of mouth cancer due to tobacco use were changed to a fuzzy image of a chest x-ray.
“Healis has been one of the dedicated organizations in India that has been actively involved in research to facilitate implementation of much more effective warning labels on tobacco products.” said Professor Fong.
But even these new weakened warnings were delayed in their introduction. And they were made smaller (from 50% to 40%), limited (from both sides of the pack to just the back of the pack).
Professor Fong commented on the power of graphic warnings in other countries: “Countries such as Canada, Brazil, Singapore, and Mauritius have introduced very powerful warnings that have helped motivate smokers to quit and prevent young people from starting to smoke.”
“The tobacco industry knows how effective the warnings are, and that’s why they try their best to prevent warnings, weaken them, and delay their introduction.” The fact that the warnings have been so attacked by the tobacco industry in India is a sure sign that they are afraid of the impact of graphic warnings, Professor Fong says.
Close to one million people in India will die this year because of tobacco use. And since the graphic warnings were originally proposed and approved by the Government 6 years ago, about 5 million people have died.
Professor Fong commented on these delays. ”We know that strong graphic warnings are effective in increasing knowledge, motivating quitting, and preventing young people from tobacco use. How many of those that died could have been saved by the knowledge and vivid displays on the warnings that show what tobacco really does to people?”
The second session of the Kolkata Fashion Week, which is all set for a flying start on 9th September in the City of Joy, has roped in Emami Ltd, one of the fastest growing FMCG companies in India, as its title sponsor.
The second season of Emami Kolkata Fashion Week (Emami KFW) also gets a major boost with Max Factor, the internationally renowned cosmetic major, tying up with Mindscapes Maestros to be the Official Make Up Partner.
Commenting on the occasion Mr Yudhajit Dutta, Managing Director Mindscapes Maestros said, “With the inaugural edition, Kolkata Fashion Week has already been established as one of the nation’s foremost Fashion Week. Now with FMCG major Emami Limited being the Title sponsor, Emami Kolkata Fashion Week will become even bigger in every aspect. We are also extremely happy to have Max Factor, the pioneers in the Make Up industry, as our Official Make Up Partner for the second season of Emami Kolkata Fashion Week. Max Factor, the international Make Up major is getting associated with a Fashion Week in India for the first time. KFW has already made headlines across India with its inaugural edition and this time, through this partnership, we intend to take this mega event into global market.”
Emami feels that by sponsoring the event it will be able to gift the aficionados of fashion in Kolkata an enthralling and captivating glimpse on the modern trends in India’s fashion industry.
Referring to the tie-up, Mr Harsh V Agarwal, Director, Emami Group of Companies, said “We are indeed happy to be associated with an event like Kolkata Fashion Week, which, since its inception, has become the talk of the town and being billed as the most glamorous. It gives Emami the right platform and medium to effectively post its message to the target audience. Ours’ being quintessentially a vibrant, innovative and youthful company, its spirit seamlessly integrates with the theme of the event”.
“We were looking at the right opportunity for getting into a partnership with the right Fashion week in India and with the phenomenal response that KFW generated in its first season; we decided to partner them in their second season. India is one of the focus and the most important developing market for both Max Factor and Procter & Gamble. Max Factor is just four years old in India, and with the potential India displays for Beauty products, we are looking it from a long term investment point of view. We are confident that in the next 3-5 years India would be one of the world’s largest markets for Max Factor”, said Lippi Lal, Celebrity Make-up Artist from Max Factor.
The second season of Emami Kolkata Fashion week was flagged off by Brand Ambassador Mahendra Singh Dhoni over a glittering function in Kolkata.
“The second season of Emami KFW will kickstart with a Ritu Kumar show and conclude with Manish Malhotra’s ensemble. Apart from Narendra Kumar, Rocky S, Anita Dongre, Wendell Rodricks, MonaPali, Dev R Nil, Zubair Kirmani, Kallol Dutta, Abhishek Dutta, Satya Paul, Mandira Wirk, Soumitra Mondal & Satya Paul, Emami Kolkata Fashion Week will witness the unique creations of Neeta Lulla and Kiran Uttam Ghosh”, informed Mr. Pratik Sen, Director, Mindscapes Group.
“It’s a great feeling to be a part of this fashion extravaganza. Kolkata Fashion Week is really coming up with great promises and I am very excited to get this KFW platform to showcase my collection and also get to know the Kolkata market which I think has a huge prospect. Moreover, I really appreciate Emami KFW’s attempt to promote India’s treasure of natural fibre and happy to be a part of this noble endeavour”, said Designer Ms Neeta Lulla.
“I am really excited to be a part of the second season of Emami Kolkata Fashion Week. This is a great opportunity for established as well as emerging designers to come together and showcase their creations. I am really looking forward to the Emami KFW as this year’s theme, ‘Earth Couture’ is very close to my heart as I love to work with natural fabrics like cotton and silk. I am sure the second season of Emami Kolkata Fashion Week will be a super success with its great line up of designers, models and creations. This edition of Emami KFW is already showing great promise”, said Designer Anita Dongre.
“Bengal has a rich tradition and history of textile and weaves. By bringing attention to the benefits of natural fibres with its ‘Earth Couture’ theme, Emami Kolkata Fashion Week is celebrating the true spirit of conscientious high fashion. I am proud to canvass my collection at Emami KFW which is a marriage of haute couture with a cause. We are getting an opportunity to acknowledge our debt to tradition and weavers”, said Designer Mr Rocky S.
“Emami Kolkata Fashion Week is something for which I am looking forward to with eagerness and high expectations. Kolkata is a vibrant city and Emami KFW is undoubtedly another value addition to the cultural capital of the country. The ‘Earth couture’ theme is a very innovative thought and will definitely take fashion to a different level”, said Designer Mr Manish Malhotra.
“The response I got from the inaugural edition of KFW was way beyond my expectation. I am more than happy to continue my association with KFW in its second season as well. My collection will complement the theme ‘Earth Couture’ and am look forward to an exciting moment at Emami KFW this time as well”, said Designer Mr Narendra Kumar.
Mindscapes Maestros also announced the final sponsors name for the second season of Emami Kolkata Fashion Week in association with Signature Golf and Siyaram’s. The Sponsors are:
Emami: Title Sponsor
Kingfisher Beer: Good Times Partner
Kingfisher Bohemia: Lifestyle Partner
Aircel: Associate sponsor
Cotton Council International: Textile Partners
TVS: Associate Partner
Reliance: Broadband Partner
Big TV: DTH Partner
Fly Kingfisher: Airline Partner
Max Factor: Official Make-Up
NDTV 24X7: News Partner
Zoom: Television Partner
98.3 Radio Mirchi: Khushi Partner
MSN: Online Partner
T2: Print Partner
Tantra: After Party Partner
INIFD: Backstage Partner
Mufti: Gift Partner
Wanted: Entertainment Partner
GenX: Associate Sponsor
Emami Fair & Handsome Associate Sponsor
Speaking on the occasion, Mr N Gangadhar, Vice President, Marketing, Siyaram’s said, “When the young enterprising team from Mindscapes Maestros approached us with full of confidence and exuberance and showcased their concepts, we absolutely loved it. Kolkata fashion Week has already establishes itself in the fashion map of the country and we wanted to be a part this fashion event of a huge magnitude happening in the City Of Joy.”
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sachit Bhatia, CCI representative, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan said, “It feels great to be associated with the Kolkata Fashion Week as ‘Textile Partner.’ As the leading proponents of the use of cotton in India, we see great synergy with the designer participants of Kolkata Fashion Week as advocates of the use of natural fabrics. We wish all participants great success and are looking forward to this year’s event further enhancing Kolkata’s reputation as a leading fashion hub.”
Top models of the country including Indrani Dasgupta, Sapna Kumar, Joey Matthews, Lakshmi Rana, Noyanika, Sonalika Sahai, Neha Kapur, Bhawana, Candice Pinto along with others will be sashaying down the ramp showcasing the exclusive creations of these designers.
The emerging designers who will be participating at KFW II are Leena Taneja, Tejas Gandhi, Kaushik & Pallob, Abhishek Vyas, Indira – Vedaant, Amita Chittora, Soma Nath, Kritika & Prayrana, Shweta Chhawchariya, Vinit Agarwal, Nimirta Lalwani, Souvik & Aditi, Pankaj Kumar & Ajeet Parihar, Jaya Mishra, Debarun Mukherjee, S S Surya, Aditi Jaggi, Aarti Vijaygupta, Pallavi Singhi, Swati Srivastava, Radhika & Sayantan and Arjun Agarwal.
Conceptualized and designed by Mindscapes Maestros Events & Sports Management Private Limited, a part of Mindscapes Group Of Companies, Kolkata Fashion Week (KFW) Season II will be a five – day fashion extravaganza focusing on the theme ‘Earth Couture’ as the year 2009 has been declared as “The International Year of Natural Fibre” by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. KFW II will be held between 9th – 13th September, 2009 at ITC The Sonar Kolkata.
The death toll thanks to the H1N1 viral flu is increasing. Famous homeopath Dr. Mukesh Batra talks about homeopathy treatment for the disease.
Swine flu is creating panic all over the world and there are many myths, misconceptions, and rumours going around that are only making matters worse. Under these circumstances, it is therefore important for people to stay calm and composed so that they act responsibly and appropriately. Many think that a vaccine for swine flu will do the trick and protect against the virus. However, the truth is that no one can be sure about this because viruses are known to mutate easily, thereby rendering such a vaccine useless. Some scientists are even afraid about the possibility of another mutation taking place when the swine flu virus H1N1 comes into contact with the Bird flu virus H5N1. This again is just a remote possibility and not a certain outcome. People were under the impression that just because bird flu spread by eating infected poultry, swine flu could spread by eating infected pork. It is now confirmed by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention that that it is safe to eat hygienically cooked pork. The amount of protection offered by masks is also not very clear. Although they could definitely reduce the likelihood of contracting the infection, they cannot really assure complete protection. Thus, it is safer to avoid coming in close proximity with patients with flu-like symptoms. Another trend is closing down schools, colleges, or other institutions to prevent the spread of the disease and advising people to stay at home. This, however, is not a feasible option and is hence not recommended. The biggest solace is the fact that the infection seems to be moderate in intensity in majority of the patients with only a small section, especially those with underlying pathologies or poor immunity, succumbing to the disease.
With so much of uncertainty around, giving Homeopathy an opportunity to prevent or treat the disease makes perfect sense for two reasons. Firstly, disease causing organisms can never get resistant to homeopathic remedies because homeopathic medicines do not target the causative organisms directly. They stimulate the body’s defences instead to attack and overpower the invaders. Secondly, being free of adverse side-effects, homeopathic medicines can be safely administered in infants, pregnant women, and the aged. Knowing that conventional medicines are strong, aggressive, and at times even invasive, it goes without saying then that Homeopathy should ideally be the first line of treatment. As homeopathic medicines themselves behave like vaccines by modulating the immunity of an individual, these should be immediately employed in the meanwhile before a successful swine flu vaccine actually enters the market. Antiviral preparations should be used only if the desired curative response is not seen in spite of homeopathic treatment. In acute illnesses like flu, patients usually respond very fast to Homeopathy; and therefore, a homeopath can easily tell within a day or two following the commencement of treatment whether the disease is responding positively, progressing, or heading towards complications. All said and done, one thing is for sure. In pandemics like these, the patient has to be closely monitored by the treating physician, irrespective of his or her specialization, so as to ensure that an unnecessary delay in treatment never occurs. In fact, an approach in which Homeopathy is boldly backed by conventional medicine, where the latter is used wisely and not indiscriminately, seems to be the way to go!
What does homeopathy have to say about swine flu?
The fact that diseases are not caused by the mere presence of disease-causing organisms in the internal or external environment, but rather due to the weakening of the body’s defence mechanisms, has always been recognised by homeopathy. Therefore, while the use of antibiotic and antiviral preparations can be rendered useless if the organism gets resistant to them by undergoing a mutation, this can never happen with homeopathic remedies because unlike medicines from other medical systems that target only the disease-causing germs or aim to offer symptomatic relief, homeopathic medicines act upon the immune system and restorative energies of the body so that it heals itself. Other systems simply suppress symptoms and treat the body in parts, whereas homeopathy recognises the body as a unified whole and confronts the problem from deep within. Thus, swine flu for homeopathy is just another type of flu that can be treated by stimulating the immune system to overpower the virus.
Which homeopathic medicines should be taken to treat the disease?
In the past, various flu epidemics such as the Spanish flu and bird flu have been successfully treated and prevented by homeopathic remedies like Gelsemium, Bryonia, Influenzinum, and Oscillococcinum. These could certainly be of value even in the prevention or treatment of swine flu. In homeopathy, remedy selection depends upon the disease manifestation and not merely the diagnosis; therefore, the prescription varies from case to case. During epidemics, however, since the disease symptoms are more or less similar in most of the cases, a single remedy may help to treat the disease. Such a homeopathic medicine is termed the ‘genus epidemicus.’ The theory of vaccination borrows from the isopathic concept of homeopathy where medicines prepared from the causative organisms (isodes) or affected tissues themselves (nosodes) are used to treat the same or similar diseases in the same or other patients. Preparing an isode or nosode of the swine flu virus is another option that homeopathic pharmaceutical companies could consider in the prophylaxis or therapeutics of the disease.
What precautions should be taken by the affected person?
The affected person should avoid meeting people till the disease runs its course. Covering the nose and mouth with a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing is important to prevent spreading the virus to others. Wearing a mask will also help for the same purpose. The patient should not share his or her clothes, towels, soap, and other personal objects with others and must not eat or drink from the same utensils as others. This is necessary because the virus is usually present in all the secretions of the body such as saliva, sweat, phlegm, urine, and stool. As in all viral infections, the patient should drink a lot of fluids to stay well hydrated. Eating nutritious food and resting adequately is a must to help the body to recover as well as to prevent complications or secondary infections. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, majority of the cases that require hospitalization or succumb to the disease are those people who concurrently have underlying pathologies like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, obesity, or extremely poor immunity. Therefore, such patients should be closely monitored.
Can homeopathic medicines cure the disease?
An acute illness like flu always heals by crisis or lysis, i.e., it runs its natural course leading to recovery, complications, or death. Thus, in such cases, it is the body that cures itself and homeopathic remedies facilitate this curative process. The logic behind the treatment is not just to relieve symptoms. It is to cut short the natural course of the disease or to allow it to run its course uneventfully without any complications or mortality. Viral infections further drop the immunity of an individual so as to lead to secondary bacterial infections or can even evoke abnormal responses from the body to give rise to autoimmune diseases or pave the way for the development of some cancer. Since homeopathic remedies basically correct the imbalances of the immune system, such problems can largely be prevented.
Is homeopathy the preferred choice of medication?
Homeopathic remedies, being infinitesimally small doses, are absolutely safe. They are palatable, non-invasive, and do not produce any deleterious side-effects even when taken for prolonged periods of time. Natural and harmless, they can be administered to infants or the aged without any risk of any adverse reactions. Another major advantage is that homeopathic medicines are cost-effective too as thousands of serial dilutions can be created out of a single drop of the source material. homeopathic remedies are curative as well as preventive; besides, a single remedy can treat symptoms related to multiple organs or systems and also offer protection against complications. There is no question of the causative organisms getting resistant to homeopathic drugs as the latter have no direct action on the former. Considering all these plus points, Homeopathy definitely should be the preferred choice of medication