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Delhi Air Emergency gets people to talk about solutions

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New Delhi, From wearing masks and staying indoors to working from home, suggestions to deal with the deadly air pollution in Delhi flooded Twitter on Sunday as people took to social media to vent their anger on politicians for their inactions.

“Keep those damned windows closed, y’all. Don’t go out. #DelhiAirEmergency #smog,” wrote one user. #DelhiAirEmergency and #DelhiPollution were among the top trends on Twitter on Sunday.

“Imagine if this is happening at Capital and still we are seeing such laziness from authorities. We can imagine how they will treat small cities/states. Just because all the major parties are at fault doesn’t mean it’s ok if you don’t take action. #DelhiAirEmergency,” wrote another user.

Some users even criticised teenage Swedish environment activist Greta Thunberg for not tweeting anything on the rising pollution levels in Delhi.

“All offices in Delhi and NCR should ask all employees to do work from home till this situation improves. It will help reduction in pollution level to some extent. #DelhiAirEmergency,” tweeted one user.

With a thick smog engulfing the Delhi airport and areas surrounding it, as many as 32 flights were diverted to nearby cities on Sunday.

The pollution in Delhi, however, did not stop some users from creating some very relevant and yet funny memes.

“Nahi bachega mai idhaar, mar jayega main,” read the caption of an image showing actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui from the Netflix series “Sacred Games”.
Several other users pointed to the health risks of breathing toxic air.

“I’m saying this again, and I will, till things improve, we really need to tackle #pollution in Delhi-NCR, or we’re simply just raising a generation with unhealthy lungs and a lifetime of breathing issues,” wrote one user.

Hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR) have witnessed a rise in cases linked to respiratory and eye problems following the spike in pollution levels over the past one week. Exposure to air pollution is also very harmful for heart patients and kids.

“Exposure to certain chemicals post Diwali can trigger a variety of heart-related problems ranging from increased blood pressure or irregular heartbeat to heart attacks or even sudden cardiac arrest, especially amongst the elderly population,” Sundeep Mishra, professor of cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said in a statement.

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Complementary cancer therapies do more harm than good: Expert

Garlic, ginger and ginkgo pills, for example, can delay the healing of skin wounds when breast cancer spreads, she said.

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Complementary cancer therapies

New Delhi, Nov 14 : A medical expert has said that cancer patients should tell doctors treating them about the herbal products they may be taking since some ingredients could affect their treatment.

Maria Joao Cardoso, the head breast surgeon at the Champalimaud Cancer Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, said that there was no evidence that herbal therapies or creams worked.

If in doubt, it is best not to take anything, she added.

Garlic, ginger and ginkgo pills, for example, can delay the healing of skin wounds when breast cancer spreads, she said.

“Doctors need to be more proactive about asking their patients what else they are taking when they are being treated for cancer,” Cardoso told the BBC.

She said that it is particularly important that patients always check with their doctors first before trying complementary therapies for cancer that has spread to the skin. This happens in one in five cases of breast cancer, and less in other cancers.

The danger is that many products can interfere with the hormone therapy or chemotherapy treatments, and certain ones prolong the blood clotting process, which can lead to wounds taking longer time to heal and more scarring.

She said that herbal products like green chiretta, feverfew, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, hawthorn, horse chestnut and turmeric slow down clotting.

Cardoso said that it is not surprising that patients and their carers go searching for complementary or alternative treatments that might make a difference.

But she said people should know that “they could end up doing more harm than good”.

“The highest goal in medicine is important to remember: Do no harm,” she said.

As per the website of Cancer Research UK, some complementary therapies might stop conventional treatments working as well as they should.

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Interactive AI-powered app for diabetes launched in India

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eddii virtual health buddy app
Picture Credit : Daily Mail

New Delhi, Nov 11 : The eddii virtual health buddy app, launched on Monday in India in the run up to the World Diabetes Day, solves that problem by gamifying health tracking and management.

eddii is an AI-powered virtual character who guides users on a digital adventure. The whimsical cartoon leaf uses stories, jokes and games to encourage people to input data like carb counts, insulin usage, exercise notes and mood.

Advanced technology allows the chatbot to examine that data and identify patterns. For example, some people will discover that within hours of eating a certain food, their mood shifts.

“While there have been significant advancements in diabetes treatment that make it easier to control, lifestyle-choice tracking has been slow in many regards, focusing primarily on presenting data rather than engaging the user and teaching them how to take charge of their health,” said eddii Founder and CEO Farhaneh Ahmadi.

“The team of scientists, artists and engineers at eddii created a solution that allows people to take charge of their relationship with chronic illness,” Ahmadi said.

The eddii team chose India because many people in the country are currently struggling with diabetes.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly nine percent of adults in India have diabetes.

The eddii team worked with a psychologist to build techniques common in ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ into the app.

That means eddii can recognise unhealthy patterns and help you change them.

“This is so much more than a journal or tracking app, we are harnessing the power of machine learning to really make a difference in people’s lives,” Ahmadi said.

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What’s causing those burning eyes?

Living within the confines of a proverbial gas chamber, people have complained of watery eyes, burning sensation, discomfort, sore eyes, redness, swelling and an itching sensation, besides respiratory problems.

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Air Pollution
Air Pollution: Children at Most Risk

The toxic Delhi air has given itchy eyes to many in the National Capital Region. There is this burning sensation which the doctors say frequent washing of hands and avoiding rubbing of eyes might help.

What might be causing that burn? According to health experts, this is mainly due to the hazardous pollutants including nitric oxide, sulphur and nitrogen dioxide in the air, an outcome of construction work and carbon emission.

Living within the confines of a proverbial gas chamber, people have complained of watery eyes, burning sensation, discomfort, sore eyes, redness, swelling and an itching sensation, besides respiratory problems.

Delhi turned into an apocalyptic city the very day after Diwali, as lack of breeze trapped the pollutants from firecrackers and stubble burning in neighbouring states added to the woes.

According to Safar India, the overall air quality index (AQI) in Delhi has hit 381, much below the 600 plus levels in the last few days, when sun completely was shunted out by the heavy smog cover.

“While air pollution has taken a toll on the overall health of individuals, many people are experiencing burning sensation in the eyes too. This is being mainly caused by the presence of pollutants in the air consisting of nitric oxide, sulphur and nitrogen dioxide present in the air leading to irritation in the eyes,” said Ranjana Mithal, Senior Consultant Ophthalmology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi.

Mithal added that once, the pollution settles down, we will get relief from the burning sensation.

“Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is essential for aiding inadequate tear formation. It becomes all the more essential when external factors like smog increase your proneness to dry eyes. Eight to ten glasses of water should suffice,” Mithal suggested.

Refrain from stepping out during peak smog hours. It’s best to stay indoors during this time. Consume food rich in Vitamin A as it plays an important role, the doctor said.

Satya Karna, Associate Director, Department of Ophthalmology, Jaypee Hospital in Noida told IANS: “It is advisable not to go out without protection for the eyes such as sunglasses, keep washing eyes with clean, cool water and avoid wearing contact lenses. Put eye drops as per a doctor’s prescription, not drops bought over the counter, or given by chemists or ayurvedic.”

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday and the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Delhi government and the Centre over the alarming situation of pollution and deteriorating Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital.

Sonia Bhalla, Senior Consultant, Ophthalmology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurugram said that air pollution adversely affects the eyes.

“Eating Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish besides green leafy vegetables, carrots, spinach, almonds, walnuts, berries are extremely good for the eyes.

“Do not overexert your eyes by indulging in excessive screen time,” Bhalla said.

“Twice a day (after getting a recommendation from your ophthalmologist) use eye drops to flush out the irritants. If there is continuous discomfort go to your doctor immediately,” Bhalla concluded.

(Bharat Upadhyay can be reached at [email protected])

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