Mosquitoes trouble us in multiple ways-biting, sucking blood and causing diseases. The recent double trouble of these mosquitoes is the spread of the Zika virus. In the year 1947, scientists identified a new virus in the rhesus monkey in the Zika forest of Uganda and hence, named it as Zika virus. While the first case in humans was recorded in the year 1952, the first large epidemic outbreak happened in humans in the year 2007 and yet again in 2014. In July 2015, Brazil reported an association between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Yet again in October 2015, Brazil reported an association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly.
Signs & Symptoms
Incubation period of Zika virus is not precisely known, but is said to be for a few days. Symptoms are usually mild and occur for a period of 2-7 days. Common symptoms include rashes, itching all over the body, fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, conjunctivitis and lower back pain.
Zika virus is primarily transmitted to individuals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Unlike mosquitoes that spread malaria, affected mosquitoes (Aedes mosquito) bite during the early morning hours and late afternoon/evening and are the same ones that spread dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Read more on diseases spread through mosquitoes at www.firsteatright.com.
Although a small number of cases of sexual transmission have been reported, the risk is said to be pretty low.
The virus is diagnosed through a series of blood tests on blood and other body fluids such as urine, semen and saliva. Treatment is not mandatory when infection is mild. Individuals affected with this virus should take plenty of rest, drink ample fluids and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, it is better to seek help of a physician.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause congenital brain abnormalities in which microcephaly is also included. Microcephaly is a condition wherein the baby has an abnormally small head and can have abnormal brain development and is also known as congenital Zika syndrome.
It is recommended that pregnant women avoid travelling to places that are at an increased risk of Zika virus transmission and also postpone travel plan to places at a moderate risk of Zika virus transmission until after pregnancy. Pregnant women are advised to follow safer sex or better abstain from sexual activity throughout their pregnancy period.
Women Trying to Get Pregnant
If you are trying to conceive, it is better to safeguard yourself from mosquito bites. Also try to avoid becoming pregnant in areas that have a high prevalence of Zika virus. If in case you ought to travel to areas where the prevalence of Zika virus is high, avoid getting pregnant for at least up to 8 weeks after coming back.
An individual’s backbone or spine consists of 26 bones called vertebrae. Between every two vertebrae are soft disks that contain a viscous substance and these discs keep the vertebrae intact. Just like our bones, these discs degenerate or break as a person ages. The discs also lose their cushioning property resulting in pain whenever the back is stressed.
A herniated disc is one that cracks leading to the viscous substance in the disc to spill and affect the nearby nerves. This can cause pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. But in some people, none of these symptoms exist and most of the time this problem can be treated without the need for any surgery.
Whenever the disc presses a nerve the individual experiences pain on one side of the body. The exact location of pain depends on the location of the herniated disc.
When there is a disc slip in the cervical section of the spine, it leads to pain in the neck and arms. You would experience pain moving your neck, near the shoulder blade, stinging pain down the arm and into the fingers along with a feeling of numbness in the shoulder, elbow, forearm or fingers.
A disc slip in the lumbar section of the spine results in pain (commonly known as sciatica as it pushes on the sciatic nerve) in the back and legs. This causes pain or numbness in the leg, hip, buttocks, calf or sole of the foot and weakness in either leg.
Intensity of the symptoms depends on your activity levels. Too much strain can cause greater pain from a herniated disc while resting can decrease its impact. Actions such as coughing, sneezing, sitting, driving or bending forward can worsen the pain as pressure is exerted on the nerve.
Growing older brings a lot of health issues along with it. The disks in the spine grow old and become weaker. Other causes for a herniated disc include lifting heavy objects, being overweight, being middle-aged or above middle age, doing actions that involve repetitive bending or twisting, sitting in the same position for a very long time, sedentary lifestyle and smoking.
Although there is nothing that can be done from our side to prevent a herniated disc as it comes with age, it can be delayed by living a healthy lifestyle. Stay on a healthy weight, exercise regularly, do back-strengthening exercises, don’t repeat one single movement (bending, for instance) repetitively, stand up and walk around every hour when you sit for long hours at work and adhere to safe lifting and bending techniques. Visit the website www.firsteatright.com to get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist who can help you start living a healthy lifestyle.
Physical therapy, steroid injections, surgery and precautionary measures are some options that can help cure a herniated disk. Although most people affected with this problem get better in 4 weeks’ time, it is advisable to visit your doctor if it prolongs beyond that.
There are a very few people who are not tempted by the inviting aroma of a cup of hot freshly brewed coffee! Coffee is loved by people in India, especially South India. Some cannot live without coffee, it is almost an addiction to them and some others feel energized and geared up only after drinking some coffee. Too much caffeine from coffee consumption is bad for health and its side effects are mentioned at www.firsteatright.com. Here are some interesting facts that would be adored by all coffee lovers:
Anytime during the day, morning, afternoon or evening, runners need to balance run time with meal time to keep their stomach comfortable, devoid of hunger but full of energy. If the right food choices are made, snacking can be an integral part of meal plan for runners. Snacking is like adding fuel to energy levels and must be a part of their internal equipment.
While you can eat a small snack anytime during the day, it works to your advantage if you time it just before or after a run. The right foods consumed in the right quantity provides the perfect fuel for performance. Instead of eating three large meals, break it into smaller ones that you eat frequently to provide adequate body fuel and brain fuel along with improved water levels in the body.
Snacks taken just before the running event increase blood glucose levels and muscle carb stores that are essential for harder, time-consuming events. Your snack should depend on the time available for digestion. If you have two hours ahead of your event, you can go for a bowl of cereal or peanut butter sandwich or a small smoothie with muffin (a very small one indeed). Almost 50-75 grams of easily-digested carbs can be consumed some two hours before a run and this helps the athlete delay fuel depletion during the run and prevents hunger too.
In reality, you need to fuel up an hour before a run which means you consume a lighter snack, such as a sports drink, handful of dry cereal, a slice of toast with honey or waffle with jam. Remember to eat only 15-25 grams of carbohydrates when you have only an hour before a run. Some other alternatives include carbohydrate gel or half an energy bar for easy digestion.
After the event, reload muscles with fuel and your body with fluid and electrolytes. It is advisable that runners refuel and cool together. Remember the three “R’s”-repair, restore and replete that can be fulfilled with a combination of protein and carbohydrate-containing foods within fifteen minutes after the run. Always have a combination of foods, you can choose a fruit and yogurt instead of only consuming the fruit.
Restrict protein intake to 12-15 grams and carbohydrates intake to 35-50 grams to prevent overeating and keeping your weight in normal ranges. Always check the food labels to find out if the portions are feasible or not because anything might seem to be good when you are famished after a hard run. Suitable post-run snacking options include:
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.