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New Variant: 7 things to know Omicron

It is time that we took a serious look at the implications of what it means and that the pandemic is not over yet; there is a need to follow protocols diligently.

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Omicron
Source: @ IndiaSpend

With India’s first two cases of the Omicron detected in Karnataka, it is time that we took a serious look at the implications of what it means and that the pandemic is not over yet; there is a need to follow protocols diligently.

Evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron (people who have previously had COVID-19 could become reinfected easily with Omicron) as compared to other variants of concern. However, there is limited information available. This is what we know so far

Spread

The virus’ rapid rise in South Africa is what worries experts. It implies that the variant can spark explosive increases in COVID-19 cases elsewhere. Though South Africa raised the alarm, there are now reports that the virus was detected 11 days before in the Netherlands. Does that mean that the virus originated in this country instead of SA?

Symptoms

Covid symptoms linked to the new omicron variant have been described as extremely mild by the South African doctor who first raised the alarm over the new strain. Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, told the BBC last week that she started to see patients around November 18, 2021 presenting with ‘unusual symptoms’ that differed slightly from those associated with the Delta variant. The Delta is the most virulent strain of the virus to date and globally dominant.

Patients don’t have a sore throat, but more of a scratchy throat. No cough or loss of taste or smell — symptoms that have been associated with previous strains of the coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, this is what we know about Omicron.

Transmissibility

It is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible (e.g., more easily spread from person to person) compared to other variants, including Delta. The number of people testing positive has risen in areas of South Africa affected by this variant, but epidemiologic studies are underway to understand if it is because of Omicron or other factors.

Severity

It is not yet clear whether infection with Omicron causes more severe disease compared to infections with other variants, including Delta.  Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of a specific infection with Omicron.

There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants.  Initially reported infections were among university students—younger individuals who tend to have a more mild disease—but understanding the level of severity of the Omicron variant will take days to several weeks.

All variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that is dominant worldwide, can cause severe disease or death, in particular for the most vulnerable people, and thus prevention is always key.

Effectiveness of vaccines

The WHO is working with technical partners to understand the potential impact of this variant on our existing countermeasures, including vaccines. Vaccines remain critical to reducing severe disease and death, including against the dominant circulating variant, Delta. Current vaccines remain effective against severe disease and death.

Effectiveness of current tests

The RT-PCR tests being used globally continues to detect infection, including infection with Omicron. This has been seen with other variants as well. Studies are ongoing to determine whether there is any impact on other types of tests like rapid antigen detection tests.

Effectiveness of current treatments

The Corticosteroids and IL6 Receptor Blockers will still be effective for managing patients with severe COVID-19. Other treatments will be assessed to see if they are still as effective given the changes to parts of the virus in the Omicron variant.

What countries should do

There are several actions WHO recommends countries to undertake. Enhancing surveillance and sequencing of cases; sharing genome sequences on publicly available databases like GISAID; reporting initial cases or clusters to WHO; performing field investigations and laboratory assessments to better understand if Omicron has different transmission or disease characteristics.

Countries should continue to implement effective public health measures to reduce COVID-19 circulation overall. Use a risk analysis and science-based approach. Increase public health and medical capacities to manage an increase in cases.  Important that inequities in access to COVID-19 vaccines are urgently addressed. Health workers and older persons receive their first and second doses, alongside equitable access to treatment and diagnostics.

What people should do

Keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others. Wear a well-fitting mask. Open windows to improve ventilation. Avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces. Keep hands clean. Cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue. Get vaccinated at the earliest.

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Lifestyle

6 indoor plants and their upkeep

While almost all green plants can be kept indoors, some plants need more attention than others. Here best indoor plants for home in India.

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best indoor plants for home in india
Source: @Safer Brand

While almost all green plants can be kept indoors, some plants need more attention than others which can be cumbersome if you have a busy schedule. But that doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with greenery. Let’s look at some best indoor plants for a home in India.

Rubber tree plant

It is fairly easy to maintain but is fussy when it comes to the amount of water it needs. Here is what you need to know if you have this plant. Rubber plants are rainforest specimens. While they need consistent moistness, they don’t want it to be soggy. Ensure that the pot the plant is in has adequate draining holes.

Use a dish under the pot lined with pebbles to catch extra water. This will keep the roots from sitting in water but provide the humidity as the water evaporates.

Croton plant

Its beautifully patterned leaves can brighten any space. Now that the rains are here in full force, it is important to ensure that you take care of all your plants. Overwatering can lead to root rot. An important thing to keep in mind is that the pot is well-drained. There is moisture in the air, overwatering will harm the plant. Croton also needs at least six to seven hours of sunshine but excess heat will damage its leaves. Try and keep the plant either East or West facing to make sure that the leaves don’t lose their colour.

English Ivy

It looks pretty and while it may look like it is an easy plant to look after, it is not the case. Like any other plant, this plant too will rot and its leaves will turn brown if you overwater them. Before you water it, check the soil. If it is moist, don’t water it. Make sure that the soil is loose and is kept in a well-drained pot. The plant grows in bright light but it is away from direct sunlight. It is a beautiful plan that can be kept inside the home; potting it in a hanging basket is an excellent way to enjoy the beauty of this plant.

Fern

The delicate curled leaves that unfurl into long, lacy fronds look pretty. Go into the forest and you will find ferns carpeting the floor. They also make a great houseplant. They can grow in any kind of pot — clay to hanging baskets to ceramic and don’t require full sun to thrive.

But Indian weather is different. A plant that may live happily in any other environment needs a lot of care here. They love moisture. During the rainy season make sure you don’t overwater the plant or the roots will rot. You can even spray water on the leaves to lock the moisture in. You can keep this plant in the bathroom or even the kitchen.

Green Aralia

One of the most important things to keep in mind if you have a green aralia is that it has to be kept away from cold drafts and windows during the winter months to ensure that it thrives. It needs a feed once every other month during the spring. During the summer months, the plant needs liquid fertiliser. However, be careful if you buy this plant; it is mildly toxic to humans and pets. Ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

They are best as landscape plants. While watering aralia which is indoors, deep water is only when the soil is nearly dry. One of the most important things to keep in mind if you have a green aralia is that it has to be kept away from cold drafts and windows during the winter months to ensure that it thrives.

Pitcher plant

It is not always possible to ensure that the plant that you bring is going to live. Hence, it is important to take care of it properly. Let’s take the pitcher plant. So how does one take care of it if one wants to keep it indoors even if it is a carnivorous plant?

Depending on the species, some require full sunlight and those that originate in the floor of the rainforest may need filtered light. It requires moist soil, and keeps the potting soil moist, but not soggy. Allow the pot to drain thoroughly after watering and never let the pot stand in water or the roots will rot.

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Mother’s Day 2022: Significance, history, and importance

Being a mother is a full-time job and gets no appreciation-one day where their worth is truly appreciated. Here’swhy we celebrate mothers day.

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why we celebrate mothers day
Source: @TOI

Most of us know that Mother’s Day is celebrated every second Sunday in May. But did you know why we celebrate mothers day? The whole idea behind Mother’s Day is to honour the mother of the family, to celebrate motherhood, maternal bonds, and the important role that they play in shaping society.

Why we celebrate mothers day?

It is said that the need to celebrate this day arose in the 1900s. Back then a daughter – Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis – to honour the sacrifices made by the mothers made for their children started this holiday.

It is said that Jarvis organized the first Mother’s Day service of worship and celebration at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, the US which serves as the International Mother’s Day Shrine today.

Did you also know that different countries celebrate this day in different months? Some countries celebrate this day in March. Mother’s Day in Egypt is celebrated on March 21, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. In Georgia Mother’s Day is celebrated on March 3.

In some countries, the date is adopted to signify religion, like Virgin Mary Day in Catholic countries. Other countries selected a date with historical significance. For example, Bolivia’s Mother’s Day is a fixed date, commemorating a battle in which women participated to defend their children. Or in Russia where it is celebrated as International Women’s Day instead of Mother’s Day.

In India, the concept of celebrating Mother’s Day is new. This could be because we have traditionally been respectful of our mothers and have been revering them for generations.

We didn’t need to set a single day aside for them. But then, we (Indians) tend to ape the West and what the West does needs to be done back home.

Irrespective of how and when Mother’s Day is celebrated worldwide, children go out of their way to make this a special day for their mother. Lunches, treats and gifts are part and parcel of this day’s celebration.

What can you do? Here are some mothers day 2022 gift ideas

For the foodie mom

If your mother is a foodie a last-minute gift can be a meal subscription box that speaks to your mom’s interests. The subscription boxes are becoming popular across India as they select the finest and latest products every month and ship them across to their clients.

As a gift, you can opt for ingredients, or complete meals, including gourmet food and global cuisine. Innovative subscription boxes share recipes and exquisitely packaged boxes that can be used as a collector’s item.

If your mother is all about fitness

If your mom has been looking to shed some weight, a gym membership is a great gift! There are several gyms in each city that offer membership. This would help your mother work.

If your mother is all about looking good

A woman’s body goes through many changes, and protein is quintessential to cope with it. One can gift herbal products to the mother for that perfect skin that will keep her young at heart forever!

 

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Lifestyle

5 health benefits of dancing, you might not want to miss

You see it on TV or in films. But did you know that the art form has several benefits of dance movement therapy as well? Read on

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benefits of dance movement therapy

Dance is the purest expression of emotion. World over, dancing has a different meaning for different people and cultures. But there is one thing that is common across the board — it is an expression of one’s emotions through movement. These movements are not always graceful or beautiful and most people don’t even understand them, it’s tough to see a perspective on one’s dance.

What Dance Symbolise:

But dancing is extremely therapeutic. Dance therapy can use various hand movements and creative expressions to promote socio-emotional, cognitive, and somatic integration.

This is based on the idea that the body and mind are inextricably linked. It aids in self-expression, resulting in a shift in an individual’s overall functioning.

One has to remember that dance movement therapy isn’t just for dancers, and it’s certainly not a dance class. A dance lesson emphasises style and form, whereas dance movement therapy does not. In the latter, people aren’t judged on how well they execute the steps or how they appear while dancing.

 

In dance movement therapy, people are encouraged to communicate their feelings and thoughts while moving during dance movement therapy sessions.

Dance treatments are used in a variety of settings, including health, education, and social services, in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

It may be recommended as a primary service or as a complement to other forms of ongoing treatment, rehabilitation or education. The therapy can be short- or long-term. Engaging an individual does not require any dance skills or training just the willingness to move. The focus is on the therapeutic process.

Here’s how it can help

Help differently-abled

Dance therapy can help individuals, with different abilities, capacities and life conditions since it works with their bodies at that particular phase of life.

Benefit kids with autism, ADHD

People with developmental, medical, social, physical, and psychological problems benefit from dance movement therapy.

It has been used to assist persons with learning impairments, and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, and ADHD, among others.

Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, mobility disorders, sensory processing disorders, trauma, and even violence prevention are just some of the conditions that can be treated.

Dance movement therapy can help those who are battling communication challenges, body image issues, chronic pain, and adjustment issues.

Communication tool

As language is not a barrier to movement, it can be used in individual, couple, family, and group therapy forms with people of different ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds.

Leads to self-awareness

Self-awareness, self-perception, confidence, producing a sense of peace, relational talents, and mindfulness are all benefits of dance therapy. It has been shown to reduce pressure, anxiety, and nerves, as well as feelings of disengagement and body strain.

Faster recovery

Dance movement aids in the learning of how to transform nonverbal movements into insights that can be applied to one’s recovery process.

Each one of us can move, each one of us has a movement language — we call it body language. All of us can dance! The idea of this therapy is getting aware of your body, feeling, accepting, and working on yourself.

People in dance movement therapy are not required to start dancing as soon as the music starts, unlike in a dance class. It’s all about the journey, not the destination!

Disclaimer: The idea of this article is to create awareness and is not meant to be followed without a doctor’s proper advice.

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