COVID 19 has turned our lives in a new direction and given us a new normal. A normal that includes wearing face masks, having extra bottles of hand sanitisers, avoiding crowds and doing our 100% in staying healthy and safe. It has given us new rules and regulations to follow to keep us safe. 

Throughout the course of these two years, we have had COVID mutations, the second wave, black fungus, and of course the great news about the development of vaccines. But reading up and educating ourselves about everything can get confusing. That is why TC46 has compiled the most important information about COVID 19 in one place. All the information given below is gathered from experts and doctors in the respective fields. But kindly consult with your doctor before taking any drastic step. And if you think you know it all, check out this quiz to test your knowledge. To take the fun quiz click here

The Rise And Use Of Hand Sanitisers

Earlier, before COVID-19, hand sanitisers were a fancy addition to our handbags. Although the simple everyday process of washing hands with soap and water also keeps hands clean, it is often not feasible when you are outdoors. Today hand sanitisers are a necessity for every household, especially when travelling outside. 

There are two types of hand sanitisers: alcohol-based and alcohol-free. 

1. Alcohol-Based

Alcohol-based hand sanitisers have proven to be more effective at combating bacteria than washing hands with soap water. These sanitisers consist of isopropyl alcohol, propanol or ethyl alcohol. The alcohol content in this category of sanitisers ranges from 60% to 95%. The best alcohol-based sanitisers are the ones with the highest percentage of alcohol as they can provide the best protection against bacteria and microbes. An alcohol-based sanitiser might not be ideal for people with sensitive skin as it can cause excessive drying of the skin.

2. Alcohol-Free

The alcohol-free sanitisers are made using chemicals such as triclosan, povidone-iodine or benzalkonium, making them free from alcohol. These hand sanitisers are safe to use on delicate skin as they are gentle and do not cause any dryness. Even though these kinds of sanitisers are widely used for their antimicrobial properties, their effect remains temporary. Due to the absence of alcohol, these sanitisers reduce the number of microbes instead of killing them. Such sanitisers can protect the skin for a comparatively short duration of time.

Knowing and using the right kind of sanitiser is crucial. At times like running an errand, exchanging money with the local vegetable vendor, collecting your parcel, it is crucial to sanitise your hands. Learn more about hand sanitisation and its benefits here. You can also disinfect your home once in a while, click here to know more. 

Covid Antibody Test: Myths Vs Facts

Antibody tests for COVID-19 have been available for months, but there has been a lot of confusion among people about the benefit of getting the test done and how they are different from other tests. To break it down, antibody tests are used to determine if you have been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 in the past, while the RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests help to determine if you are currently infected by the virus. Antibody tests help to learn if the immune system has responded to the infection. Here are some popular myths about the antibody tests, debunked! 

1. Myth: If the antibody tests show negative results, post receiving the vaccine, this means the vaccine has failed. 

Fact: A vaccinated person should not be alarmed or worried if they receive a negative antibody test result. Vaccines also provide protection via memory cells. 

2. Myth: After the vaccination, you need to get it checked via an antibody test.

Fact: It has been advised to not do this as cross-checking and repeatedly taking tests will cause more confusion. 

3. Myth: Covid antibodies should always be positive after the vaccination.

Fact: The antibody response to the vaccine may differ from person to person. The minimum amount of antibodies developed by the blood have not been detected. Antibodies generated depends on the person’s genetic makeup. 

Expert Opinion On Covid Antibody Test

We have debunked the popular myths about the test. But for further knowledge, TC46 connected with Dr Chandrashekhar T., Chief Intensivist, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai. Here he answers popular questions related to the antibody test.

1. Faster detection of the virus in hotspot areas help curb the spread

This move will help ensure faster detection of all possible cases in hot spot clusters and help curb the rising incidence of COVID19. Moreover, the results of PCR tests take 5 hours to 5 days sometimes, and antibody test results will be available in 15-30 minutes. This again can help people get fast medical aid. Now the question is if the antigen test comes negative, what do people do? I would say if your test comes negative and you have symptoms, you must quarantine yourself and speak to your doctor about further investigation.

2. There is no need to repeat the test if you have no symptoms

A repeat test is only for people who have symptoms or who have been highly exposed. If you do not have symptoms, then there is no need to do an RT PCR test.

3. The Standard Q COVID-19 Ag detection can be helpful for an early-stage diagnosis 

Tests with high sensitivity and specificity are crucial for the identification and management of COVID-19 patients. There is an urgent need for low-cost rapid antigen COVID-19 tests with a good diagnostic performance. Although various antigen rapid detection tests are widely available, strong evidence of their usefulness in clinical practice is still limited. However, in the case of the Standard Q COVID-19 Ag, there are studies that suggest that this rapid antigenic test can be very useful for COVID-19 diagnosis in the early phase of the disease.

4. If you test negative, maintain all social distancing rules

Seeing the current situation, it is best to stay quarantined at home for at least 5-7 days if your test results are negative and you still have symptoms. Wear a mask even at home so that there is no transmission of infection to other family members, and in this way you can also stay protected. Have healthy food, check on your vitals, and if symptoms increase, consult your doctor immediately.

5 Vital Facts About Mucormycosis Or Black Fungus

Even with the deadly virus that has entered our life, post-recovery, we could succumb to an equally dangerous aftereffect. Mucormycosis or black fungus affects the individual’s sinuses, brain and lungs and can be life-threatening. The drop in immunity caused by COVID-19 is said to cause this infection. To learn more about the infection TC46 connected with Dr Anita Mathew, Infectious Disease Specialist. Here, she shares 5 facts one must know about black fungus. 

Check out this detailed article to know more about the deadly fungus. Click here

1. Mucormycosis or black fungus is a fungal infection caused by a group of moulds

Mucormycosis is a rare fungal infection caused by a group of moulds called ‘Mucormycetes’. It is also known as the ‘Black Fungus’ as these fungi grow rapidly and have a black-brown fuzzy appearance. This infection has an overall mortality rate of 50%. Mucormycosis frequently infects the sinuses, brain, or lungs after inhaling fungal spores from the air. It can also occur on the skin after a cut, burn, or another type of skin injury.

2. Mucormycosis appears as a blackish discolouration 

Signs that you might have mucormycosis. It is advised to check with your family doctor if you suspect you have black fungus. 

  • Sinusitis — nasal blockage or congestion, nasal discharge (blackish/bloody)
  • Local pain on the cheekbone, one-sided facial pain, numbness or swelling
  • Blackish discolouration over the bridge of nose/palate
  • Loosening of teeth, jaw involvement
  • Blurred or double vision with pain
  • Thrombosis, necrotic skin lesion
  • Chest pain, pleural effusion
  • Worsening of respiratory symptoms

3.  Mucormycosis can be dangerous if left untreated

Mucormycosis can be very dangerous if left untreated, it can cause mutilating damage to the face, nose, eyes with disfigurement and loss of vision. It can also cause invasive brain infection. The infection causes blindness as it affects the eye through which it reaches the brain. The only option left to save the patient is to remove the affected mass through surgery.

4. Curb the spread of the infection by administering the right dosage of steroids and close monitoring

The disease is not contagious. To reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 and inhaling spores of the fungi which are in the environment, it is important to wear a mask. Keeping strict control of blood sugar (Mucormycosis even in pre-COVID times is known to affect Diabetics) is the most important thing. Judicious use of steroids would help to reduce the incidence of COVID-related mucor. One way to stem the surge of the fungal infection is to make sure that COVID-19 patients – both in treatment and after recovery, are administered the right dose and duration of steroids. It is also important that people with Diabetes, Cancer, Kidney and Liver diseases and organ transplant patients keep a check on their glucose levels from time to time. The treatment is predominantly surgery to clear the virus and medicine in the form of Amphotericin B, and other antifungals like Posaconazole and Isavuconazole. Multiple surgeries are required at times for clearing the disease so that medicines can act better.

5. Wear a mask at all times and protect your body, especially in dusty areas

Healthcare providers should keep a close watch on all the COVID patients. Especially those with Diabetes and the ones having steroids. Use steroids of moderate quality and administer only to those who require them. Citizens should use masks if they are visiting dusty construction sites. Wear shoes, long trousers, long sleeve shirts, and gloves while handling soil (gardening), moss or manure and maintain personal hygiene, including a thorough scrub bath. The disease can be managed by controlling Diabetes, discontinuing immunomodulating drugs, reducing steroids and extensive surgical debridement – to remove all necrotic materials.

5 Vital Facts You Need To Know About The Vaccines 

You must have spent hours trying to book a slot for the vaccine. Or even searched all over trying to find answers to your vaccine questions. To help you understand better, TC46 connected with Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr Kirti Sabnis of Fortis Hospitals, Mumbai addresses the popular questions regarding the newly released covid vaccine. Here are 5 crucial points you need to know, and for a detailed article, click here

1. What are the vaccines and how do they work?

Vaccines contain weakened or inactive parts of a particular organism (antigen) that triggers an immune response within the body. This weakened version will not cause the disease in the person receiving the vaccine, but it will prompt their immune system to respond much as it would have on its first reaction to the actual pathogen. Some vaccines require multiple doses, given weeks or months apart. This is sometimes needed for the production of long-living antibodies and the development of memory cells.

2. How does the CoWIN app work?

The application is currently in the pre-product stage. It has the data of health officials who will be first in line to get the vaccination. 

Once the app is up and running, it will have four modules:

  • User administrator module
  • Beneficiary registration
  • Vaccination and beneficiary acknowledgement
  • Status update

The logistics of it have not yet been revealed. The government may organise camps where people can go and officials will get them registered for the vaccine. In addition, surveyors and district administrators will also be able to register multiple beneficiaries.

3. Should a person who has antibodies/has survived COVID-19 take the vaccine?

Yes, the person having antibodies should take the vaccine. As we have seen, patients having antibodies are still susceptible to the second infection of COVID-19.

4. How long does it take for the vaccine to work?

Two full doses of the vaccine administered around 4-6 weeks apart. As per the current trial data available, the vaccine should be able to protect individuals within two weeks of getting the vaccine.

5. What must we expect once vaccinated? Are there any side effects?

All side effects are mainly mild. Few people can experience: 

  • Injection site tenderness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Myalgia (muscle pain)
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea

Checklist For When You Are Going To Get Vaccinated

  1. Follow all the procedures stated by the government. Register on the CoWIN app and book your vaccination slot. If your area has walk-in vaccinations, follow all social distancing measures when getting the vaccine. 
  2. Remember to carry all necessary documents when going to get vaccinated. 
  3. Get some good rest before you get your shot. Getting sufficient, high-quality sleep on a regular basis strengthens your body’s immune system and optimizes your response to a vaccine.
  4. Avoid self-medication before getting the vaccine. Medications for blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and other common health conditions aren’t things to be worried about.
  5. There are no dietary restrictions advised by the government along with the vaccine so far. However, one must avoid alcohol. Vaccinations often cause mild flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, headache, and nausea. Alcohol tends to aggravate and worsen these symptoms making the experience unpleasant for those getting vaccinated.

For a more detailed and informed checklist, click here

Should You Mix Your Vaccines?

In some studies from Spain and the UK, people vaccinated with both the Oxford–AstraZeneca and Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines produce a potent immune response against the virus SARS-CoV2. A trial of more than 600 people announced in an online presentation on 18 May 2021 was the first to show the benefits of combining different Coronavirus vaccines. Similarly, many studies across the globe have shown that mixing and cocktailing of vaccines help in achieving the desired immunity among people and that it covers most variants of concerns (VOC).

But when it comes to India, no such studies have been given a green light. Keeping other studies in mind, our Indian researchers have set forth to find more evidence for the country. It is yet to be seen if scientists and researchers will begin trials to test the safety of different vaccines. But for now, regarding the mixing of vaccines, there is a possibility of a positive effect, but a harmful reaction cannot be ruled out either. Speak with your family doctor to clarify any doubts. 

But this doesn’t mean that we put a break on our vaccine slots. Initially, people were sceptical about getting vaccinations, then there were speculations about which vaccine is better, then came the availability confusion and now several theories are brewing around mixing different COVID-19 vaccines. But people mustn’t get carried away with misinformation and keep faith in medical science. Remember, studies have proved that even a single dose of vaccine can provide immunity for up to 12 weeks. Register for your initial dose and for those who have already taken their first jab, wait until your turn for the second dose.

All You Need To Know About DRDO’s 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose Drug

The new anti-covid drug, DRDO’s 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose drug, was recently developed by a DRDO lab and approved by the Drugs Controller General of India. We are sure that you have a lot of questions related to this drug. To answer all the burning questions, TC46 connected with Dr Chandrashekhar T, Chief Intensivist, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital Vashi, to share all the vital facts about the drug. You can also check out this detailed article on DRDO’s  2-Deoxy-D-Glucose drug here.

1. 2DG (2-Deoxy-D-Glucose), the anti- COVID drug

The 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose drug has historically been extensively tested for treating Cancer but is so far an unapproved drug. However, for COVID-19, the drug shows promise. The drug comes in powder form in a sachet, which is taken orally by dissolving it in water. It accumulates in the virus-infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production. Its selective accumulation in virally infected cells makes this drug unique. 

2. 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose kills the virus cells from the roots

The basic mechanism of the drug involves inhibiting glycolysis or one of how cells break down glucose for energy. This approach, while used to starve and kill Cancer cells could also work in inhibiting virus cells too, which were dependent on glycolysis for replication. When the pandemic broke out in India, INMAS, DRDO and DRL switched their effort to explore the possibilities to use this drug to defeat COVID-19. Tests at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, last year indicated that the drug demonstrably killed virus cells after which it progressed to trials in people.

3. 2-deoxy-D-glucose is a homegrown drug that stops viral growth, but cannot be compared to other medicines

The 2-deoxy-D-glucose has passed all the clinical trials. It is a ‘fully homegrown’ anti-COVID medicine which has been developed in India. According to researchers, it is one of the first therapeutic COVID-19 drugs which works to stop viral growth in the body, reduce the need for external oxygen. Until now, when there are no specific anti-COVID drugs available in India, or globally, medicines like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, Steroid drugs, Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine, Dexamethasone are being repurposed for use to tame the symptoms associated with the viral infection. All of these drugs work differently against the virus.

4. The drug helps infected individuals recover faster 

Clinical trial results have shown that this molecule helps in the faster recovery of hospitalized patients from the viremia phase. Reduces the viral replication and further progression of the diseases toward severeness and speeds up the virus clearance.  The drug will be of immense benefit to the people suffering from COVID-19. As per the clinical data for efficacy trends, the patients treated with the 2-DG drug showed a faster symptomatic cure than Standard of Care (SoC) on various endpoints. A significantly higher proportion of patients improved symptomatically and became free from supplemental oxygen dependence (42% vs 31%) by day 3 in comparison to SoC, indicating an early relief from Oxygen therapy/ dependence.

5. The drug must not be given and consumed without a doctor’s consultation

No COVID medication should be taken without a certified doctor prescription. Safety measures to be taken involve taking the medication as prescribed by the doctors. No self-medication should be done. 

TC46’s Guide To Staying Emotionally Strong In 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic, wherein many are still in lockdown or self-isolating, affects mental health substantially. Though the mental health implications of this unprecedented situation will impact everyone differently, it is vital to create a roadmap of your mental and emotional status. Here are some ways you can stay emotionally strong. To learn more on how to deal with pandemic blues and bad news, click here

1. Stay Connected Digitally

Allow yourself some quality time to get on video calls with your loved ones. For those of you in relationships, connect with your partner and keep the relationship going strong with calls and video calls. With work calls, even though audio calls are fine, suggest a day or two in the week where everyone gets ready and enables the video button.

2. Stick To A Routine

Follow your dream skincare and haircare routine. Create a separate work area if you are working from home. Do not give up your daily in-house chores or activities like gardening, meditation, religious tasks.

3. Clear The Chaos

Do a Marie Kondo and clear the chaos in your house as well as your mind. Keep your living space as tidy and clean as you can. A cluttered space is an invitation to claustrophobia. Set up mental zones and stick to those for the designated activities.

4. Avoid News Obsession

With a section of the media sensationalizing the news for TRPs and traffic, we can lose the sense of reality. And this pushes us deeper into a panic frenzy that’s just not good. Stick to credible and reliable sources only. Limit your time when watching the news to avoid being panicky.

5. Deal With Anxiety And Depression

Contact your therapist and ask for a session over a phone call if you can’t visit them. You can attend a group therapy session online and get some relief. Remember to reach out if you need help and have a conversation with a loved one who understands the situation.

Survivor’s Guilt: How To Deal With The Loss Of A Loved One To Covid-19

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, many have lost their family members, friends and loved ones. Psychologist Hirak Patel of Fortis Hospital addresses how to deal with such grief. Click here for a detailed version or continue reading to know more. 

1. What is survivor’s guilt?

The ongoing pandemic has not only increased the fear of infection but living through this pandemic has brought people experiences of anxiety, trauma, grief and guilt. As the number of illnesses and deaths have risen since last year, the uncertainty of the virus and dealing with it has become overwhelming. Many people have lost their loved ones due to the virus but survived it themselves. And going through the loss can also cause a sense of guilt that survivors are facing along with the grieving. The person experiencing it either believes that either they are the cause of their loved one’s demise or that they are not capable of living as the loved one has passed away. Or sometimes it can be both. All this can impact a person’s sense of self, belief, optimism and resilience to cope with the situation.

2. How has quarantine, self and mandatory isolation affected people’s mental health?

Getting isolated or self-quarantined to avoid getting exposed to the infection is required to take proper precautions for self and those around. However, quarantine is a new concept for all of us. The constant worry about health, thoughts about not been around people, limited physical movement, fear of transmitting the infection to others around creates anxiety and fear among people. Isolation and quarantining have affected mental well-being and people are experiencing emotional distress. But one needs to remember that even though it is physical isolation one can always stay connected with others socially by using different mediums.

Check out some tips to strengthen your bonding with family and friends during the lockdown here.

3. How is survivor’s guilt becoming an issue for people during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic is new to everyone, a collective experience we are facing for the first time. The way our mind deals with grief or loss or anxiety is different then what has been experienced during this time. All over the world, people are experiencing common things like:

  • Unemployment
  • Lack of social interaction and physical contact
  • Worry about the future
  • Health concerns
  • Family responsibilities
  • Financial distress
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Uncertainty
  • Bereavement 

The feeling of helplessness, the feeling of not being able to do or push or the feeling of incapability all have added and are affecting people. When the person has lost a loved one, and he/she feels guilty about it. They experience all sorts of emotions more intensely. This makes the grieving process difficult. Along with physical health, even mental health has been affected because of the pandemic. Reality becomes the trigger and makes it harder to cope for the person.

4. What are some coping strategies to deal with this guilt and take care of one’s mental health?

Dealing with grief is difficult and takes time. During the pandemic, where there is also guilt associated, it becomes even harder to cope. While it becomes natural for someone going through a situation like this to feel anxious or have fear, one needs to also understand that a healthy mind and body will help you to sail through the phase. Self-care while taking care of others is vital. One needs to also keep in mind that even their health is important and nothing can be poured from an empty glass. It can be difficult to accept the situation, however, one should always try and engage with others and have a support group. As everyone is learning on their own, there are no rules or guidelines. Having a routine for yourself and sticking to it gives you a feeling of control. Talking about what you feel and not bottling up things and self-blaming needs to be avoided as one needs to remember that not everything is in their control and there are certain self-limitations. Exercise and meditation done regularly will help.

Easy-To-Make Indian Recipes For Post-Covid Recovery

Good nutrition is vital for maintaining good health. Especially during these trying times when your immune system has taken a setback and is in a weaker state after being infected with the deadly coronavirus. Coronavirus affects your immune system immensely, so it is important to trigger the immune response back to form by consuming healthful foods. According to Clinical Nutritionist Rasika Parab, here are 5 easy to make healthy recipes to have post-recovery. 

She also suggests a few food items one must avoid and include in their diets. 

Food To Include: 

  • Protein 
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A 
  • Zinc 
  • Selenium 
  • Water 
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Food To Avoid: 

  • Salt and sugar
  • Fried food (junk food)
  • Alcohol
  • Soda

1. Paneer Roll

  1. Sauté pieces of paneer with onion, carrots, capsicum, baby corn (you may use any other vegetable of your choice). 
  2. Add spices and herbs, salt as per your choice and taste. 
  3. Make chapatis
  4. Apply little butter on chapati, place paneer and vegetables on chapati, add grated cheese, chopped spring onions and roll it – eat it fresh!

2. Sprouts Cutlets 

  1. Mash potatoes. 
  2. Add sprouts, chopped green chillies, ginger-garlic paste, finely chopped coriander, grated carrots. 
  3. Add chat masala and salt as per the taste. 
  4. Mix everything well and make a fine dough. 
  5. Make small cutlets, roll them on rava or bread crumbs and shallow fry them. 
  6. Sprout cutlets can be eaten with mint-coriander chutney.

3. Chole Chaat

  1. Soak Kabuli chana overnight and boil. 
  2. Add chopped capsicum, tomatoes, onion, green chillies and coriander to boiled Kabuli chana
  3. Add salt for taste and your chaat is ready! 

4. Probiotic Mango Kulfi 

  1. Drain the water from the curd. 
  2. Add mango pulp (you may use any seasonal fruit) soaked chia seeds, roasted dry fruits. 
  3. Set it in a kulfi mould. 
  4. Serve cold to beat the summer heat.

5. Amla Mint Mojito 

  1. Add crushed ice to the glass. 
  2. Add 1 tbsp of fresh amla pulp and chopped mint leaves. 
  3. To this mixture, we can add coconut water, lemon juice, orange juice, watermelon juice and season with black salt.

Tips For Exercising After COVID-19 Recovery

Even after testing negative for COVID-19, many recovered patients complain of fatigue and weakness for even performing the day-to-day activity.  But slowly and steadily the energy levels with come back. If you are someone who loves to work out to get back on track, here are some tips and tricks. Yoga expert Paramita Singh explains the dos and don’ts along with a few helpful exercises when working out, post covid. 

General guidelines for post-COVID-19 patients are as follows.

Dos:

  1. Start slowly by incorporating warmups like neck, shoulder, and leg movements.
  2. Include stretches that will help thoracic expansion. 
  3. Monitor breathing, at least for 1 or 2 weeks of post-recovery. 
  4. Eat healthily, include protein in every meal for muscle recovery. 
  5. Drink plenty of fluids.
  6. Have adequate sleep.
  7. Intake of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals should be continued for some time, like vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D.

Don’ts:

  1. Avoid spicy and outside food.
  2. No smoking and drinking alcohol.
  3. Don’t start with high-intensity workouts.
  4. Avoid heavy food. 
  5. Do not skip meals.

5 Yoga Asanas For Post COVID-19 Recovery

Watch this video and follow the steps on how to do each pose. This is a complete routine that is simple yet effective and can help you regain your energy post covid recovery. 

1. Chakravakasana (Cat & Cow Pose)

This pose warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine. 

2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

This asana stretches the chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen. It is very therapeutic for asthma patients. 

3. Baddhakonasan (Butterfly Pose)

This pose helps to calm the mind and improve blood circulation.

4. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

This pose helps in the natural drainage of sinuses, thereby preventing infection. 

5. Balasan (Child Pose)

Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest. Stimulates the abdominal organs.