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Zee Zest’s Handy Guide For All Your COVID-19 Queries

Your one-stop destination for expert-approved information regarding the pandemic.

Team ZZ

More than a year ago, in December 2019, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) was uncovered in China’s Wuhan province. Cut to 2021, the origin of the virus remains a mystery but it’s second wave has infected more than 17 million, causing over 195 thousand deaths (as of April 27, 2021), in India, according to Google news. It has triggered state-wide lockdowns, brought the economy to standstill and lead to rampant misinformation. We, at Zee Zest, are speaking to scores of doctors and domain experts to answer your most common queries, share updated information, and slow down the spread of fake news, bogus remedies and myths. 

Can inhaling a potli containing camphor, cloves, carom seeds and eucalyptus oil increase my blood oxygen level? 

This is a myth. Dr Ravindra M Mehta, senior pulmonologist at Apollo Speciality Hospitals, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, shares that it is not advisable to depend on this potli especially if your oxygen levels are dropping. A normal level of oxygen of the blood on a pulse oximeter is usually 95 per cent or higher and, for an arterial blood gas test, it is 75 to 100 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). If your blood oxygen falls below these readings, you must immediately seek medical help. 

Camphor oil, clove, carom seeds and eucalyptus oil, are frequently used in home remedies for their individual medicinal properties but have no scientific data to back up the oxygen levels claim. Camphor does work as a decongestant and cough suppressant for adults and is used in vapour rubs but it is not more than 11 per cent of the formulation. 


Where can I donate to help organisations combating COVID-19? 

NGOs and organisations across India have initiated crowdfunding projects to raise sums to assist with oxygen, plasma, medical supplies and even food. We have listed some of the ongoing campaigns and fundraisers that are combating the damage caused by the second wave by supplying essentials. 

How do I keep my immune system strong and healthy so disease-causing virus and bacteria are at bay?  

We asked five nutritionists how they keep their immunity levels high amid the pandemic and they revealed that their secrets include eating home-cooked food, drinking plenty of fluids, regular exercise, a good night’s sleep and dietary supplements. For details, click here.  


Can vitamin C supplements help me prevent the risk of COVID-19 infection?  

The only way to minimise the chances of contracting COVID-19 is to take preventive measures – social distancing, mask-wearing and frequent handwashing. There is no scientific evidence pointing to vitamin C’s effectiveness in fighting or preventing the risk of this deadly respiratory tract disease. However, we need vitamin C for better immune function, bone structure, iron absorption and healthy skin. This vitamin is necessary for the growth, development and repair of our body’s tissues and recommended dietary allowance for men and women is 90 and 75 milligrams per day. 


The COVID-19 news is stressing me out. How do I take care of my mental health in these trying times? 

The panic and negative news around us can affect our mental health irreversibly and hence, it is important to stay positive through these times. Mental health experts suggest that in order to cope with stress you need to first accept that this is our reality and change your mindset. Dr Nahid Dave, psychiatrist at Thought Matters, Insight Clinic in Mumbai, says use this time as ‘me time’ and engage in activities you enjoy – cooking, reading, exercising, etc. Meanwhile, nutritionist and life coach Khushbu Thadani’s suggests taking up writing a journal, eating right, practicing breathing exercises, and reducing the consumption of fear-inducing media.  


The pandemic is making it hard for me to poop. How do I deal with constipation amid COVID-19? 

Staying indoors and working from home to flatten the COVID-19 curve has changed our daily routines and this is causing constipation. Medical experts across the globe have termed this as ‘quarantine constipation’. We asked Dr Lovkesh Anand, gastroenterologist at Manipal Hospitals in Delhi, and Dr Pankaj Chansarkar, a holistic Ayurvedic doctor from Mumbai, to share tips to help you get your bowels back on track naturally and they recommend practice intermittent fasting, eating fibrous foods, staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol. For more solutions, read the full article here


How do I care for my pets during COVID-19 quarantine? 

Your pets are important members of your family and they too need to be cared for during the pandemic. We spoke to veterinarians, animal behaviourists to know the right way take care of your pets during COVID-19. Simple steps include, limiting your pet’s interaction with other humans and pets. For dog walks, go on shorter routes either very early in the morning or late at night. Maintain rigid hygiene practice for your pets.
If you contract COVID-19 and are unable to take care of your pets, reach out to professional pet boarding facilities. 

Photo: Shutterstock


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