Bharti AXA General Insurance is now part of ICICI Lombard General Insurance.

Bharti AXA General Insurance is now part of ICICI Lombard General Insurance.

|Know more
  • Five Reasons Why Car Insurance Claims Get Rejected

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    A car accident is one of the worst nightmares of any car owner, as it brings with it monetary damages and a lot of stress. Thanks to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, car insurance is mandatory in India and most of the expenses are taken care of by the insurance companies. However, in many instances vehicle owners find their motor insurance claims rejected and are left high & dry, bearing huge expenses out of their own pockets.

    Auto insurance providers have often been criticised for rejecting claims to avoid a hefty payout. However, that’s not the case always! A lot of car insurance claims are rejected due to negligence and mistakes of the policy owners.

    Here are a few important oversights (intentional & unintentional) that can lead to motor insurance claim rejection:

    • Driving under the influence (DUI)

    • Driving Under the Influence or DUI can drag you into a world of trouble as it is not only a reason for car insurance claim rejection but also a prosecutable crime. Be it alcohol or banned/controlled substances, any indication of their use while driving leads to instant rejection of your motor insurance claim. Besides the claim rejection, you might even find yourself facing a lot of legal heat leading to fines, imprisonment or even both. Bottom line: “Don’t Drink & Drive!”

    • Driving without a valid driving licence

    • Driving without a valid license is a punishable offence and can lead car insurance claim rejection straightaway. In case of an accident, you won’t even be able to raise a claim with your insurance provider if you’re found without a proper driving license. Not only you will lose out on the motor insurance claim but also likely to be fined a minimum of ₹5,000.

    • Delay in reporting the accident

    • An intimation to the car insurance service provider at the earliest is the best thing to do when filing for claims. Most insurance companies offer a grace period for the reporting process, but it’s always better to intimate the company ASAP. Delay in the accident reporting leads to a more complicated car insurance claim settlement process and often results in 100% claim rejection as well.

    • Policy in someone else’s name

    • In numerous cases, drivers are often found with car insurance policy papers in someone else’s name. Although a few drivers turn out to have done so intentionally, many are found to be simply careless or forgetful.

      This primarily happens in the case of used or second-hand cars. Ensure that you transfer the existing car insurance policy as well as the registration certificate (RC) in case of second-hand cars. In the event of a car accident, the insurance provider reserves the right to reject your auto insurance claim if your name is different on the policy papers.

    • Use of vehicle beyond the geographical limitations

    • The Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (IRDA) has divided the metro cities and other Indian regions into two separate zones to make it easy for policy owners to file for a claim.

      Zone A is for the metros and Zone B for the rest of the country. Depending upon the zone covered under your car insurance policy, you are entitled to make a motor insurance claim in that particular zone.

      However, if an accident takes place in the non-covered zone, then your insurance claim is liable for rejection. For example, if the accident occurs on foreign soil, such as the Maldives, Sri Lanka or Pakistan, then your auto insurance claim will be rejected.

    • General wear and tear

      Your vehicle is bound to experience wear and tear over time with continuous use. While this is inevitable, it’s still not covered by your car insurance.. Even if you have opted for a comprehensive car insurance policy, any motor insurance claim against wear and tear is bound to get rejected.

  • Maximise Your Car Mileage with These 7 Tips

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Driving a car in a highly-populated city teeming with traffic is not easy. But it does more than just waste time and cause inconvenience, it also affects your car’s mileage and efficiency, which in turn raises your fuel bills. Here are a few simple and effective tips to maximise your car’s mileage.

    Keep Your Tyres Inflated

    Not only do properly inflated tyres reduce fuel consumption, they also increase the efficiency by 5 percent. You should get your car tyres inflated regularly and once in fifteen days is an ideal interval. However, overinflated tyres are just as bad as under-inflated ones, and thus you should stick to the manufacturer recommended levels.

    Maintain the Speed Limit

    Maintaining a steady speed limit between 45–55km/h is recommended not only for your safety, but also for saving on fuel consumption. By maintaining a steady speed limit and going easy on the throttle, you will see a rise in the fuel efficiency of your car by around 20 percent.

    Lose the Weight

    The amount of things you store in your car has a direct effect on its mileage and fuel efficiency. So get rid of the child safety seat you don’t need anymore, that worn out spare tyre and all the junk you’ve stored in the trunk. Drive around baggage-free at least while within city limits.

    Roll Up the Windows

    At high speeds you should roll up your windows. Even partially open windows at high speeds can impact fuel efficiency by increasing the drag and resulting in rapid fuel consumption. Opposed to popular belief, rolling up your windows and switching on the air conditioner at higher speeds will help you save fuel.

    Plan a Smart Route

    Before you start your trip, take 2 minutes to check the maps and plan your route. This will not only be beneficial for your mileage but will also save you from the chaos of traffic and congestion; your left foot will thank you too.

    Turn the Engine Off

    When you keep your engine on while your car is static, you are just burning fuel. Whenever you have to stay in one place for over 3 minutes, whether it’s at a signal or waiting for someone, turn off your engine. However, if you think the wait is going to be short, don’t turn the engine off as starting it back on will only consume more fuel.

  • Monsoon car maintenance guide: Tips to keep car repairing expenses at bay

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    How many times has it happened that it began pouring and your car didn’t demand to see a mechanic for repairs? Come monsoon; cars tend to need some kind of repairing or the other, thereby, making you shell out quite a bit on them. But, did you know that timely car servicing coupled with some car maintenance tips can actually help you avoid some of these expenses? Take notes as we compile them below to get your car monsoon ready!

    1. Examine your car tyres

    Check them for any signs of wear out. Today, most of the car tyres come with tread-wear indicators, and if those on your car tyre wear out, it’s time for you to have them replaced. Tyres with good tread depths are important in avoiding oversteer. They let you have a firmer grip on roads, helping you stay secured against aquaplaning when you come across potholes or spilt oil mixed with water while driving.

    While you may keep a spare tyre handy, it is important to check the condition of the spare tyre as well. Look for any punctures and check the air pressure.

    2. Check the wipers and their washer tank

    Wiper blades do the crucial job of wiping the water away from the windshield during rains. But they are usually not used for most of the year, making dirt and grime to accumulate on them. Plus, the summer sun can be harsh on them, causing them to wear out. So check for their proper functioning, and give the blades a proper cleaning with soap water. If you find that the blades have worn out, get them replaced. Also, if the washer liquid has run down, refill using a washer liquid solution or soap water.

    3. Insulate the wires and check the electricals

    If there is one thing that reacts adversely to rain than mechanical parts, then it’s electricals. Make sure that all the wiring is well insulated and is in proper working condition. If you find any loose wires, connect them firmly together. Check for other electrical systems like fuses and lights. Replace the non-functioning ones. Also, it is utterly necessary that especially the battery is in peak working condition because during monsoons headlamps, wipers etc. are all being utilised to their full potential, causing it to drain out too soon.

    4. Test the brakes and check the brake fluids

    Brakes are very important in the rains because of the slippery nature of roads. Check the brake fluid to see that it is at the required level, if not, then you’ll have to top it up. Go to a workshop to get the brake pads and discs checked. If the pads are worn out, they won’t provide enough braking power.

    Same goes for the disc; a glance can tell you if it is okay or not. If the disc has a very shiny or glazed look, then it needs to be replaced, as the pads will not be able to slow down the car due to lack of friction.

    5. Clean the air filter

    Your car’s air filter aids your car’s engine to function uninterruptedly. But in the monsoon, due to high humidity level and more dust, the air filter has to put in extra effort in supplying your car engine with pure air. So make sure you clean the air filter in your car and check it for proper functioning beforehand.

    While the air filter is one way of protecting the car’s engine, yet another is to secure it with the Engine Protect add-on cover of our Car Insurance policy. It will have your back for any consequential loss to your car’s engine. It will also compensate for the loss arising out of water ingression, engine damage due to oil leakage and gearbox failure. Thus, going out of its way to protect your car’s engine and keeping you from spending on costly car engine repairs.

    Also read:  How to maintain your car’s health during the lockdown

  • Steps for Easy Breathing in Polluted Cities

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Very recently, a thick blanket of smog engulfed Delhi and shot up air pollution in the national capital to hazardous levels. Air quality readings in the city reached alarming figures, surpassing the 1,000 mark on the US embassy air quality index. The World Health Organisation considers anything above 25 to be unsafe.

    The above measure is based on the concentration of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, per cubic metre. These particles are smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter and particularly harmful, as they can infiltrate deep into the lungs and spread into other organs to cause severe health dangers.

    The demands of daily life compels us to get out of our homes and expose our lungs to harmful pollutants. When their concentration reaches a critical level, it’s no longer safe to breathe outdoors. However, following few easy and affordable practices can help reduce the risk and beat toxic air in any city.

    Predictive Outdoor Pollution Apps

    Today, there are multiple sites and apps that give us predictive outdoor air quality reports. In early 2015, the Indian government had launched SAFAR-Air, country’s first mobile app to provide current and one to three-day forecast of air quality and related health advisories. The colour-coded system helps to easily comprehend the air quality, and decide on our outdoor plans.

    Other apps that help monitor air pollution levels include Plume Air Report and Air Quality: Real time AQI. SatAQ’s website is a useful portal that provides information on air quality, and sources and causes of pollution.

    The Right Respirator

    Comfort masks made from cloth do not fulfil the purpose of adequate respiratory protection. Proper respirator masks make a seal with the face and have a filter that prevents contaminated air from entering the mouth or the nose.

    When the levels of particulate matter touched disturbing levels in Delhi, it became crucial to get a respirator rated N95/N99/FFP3 or one which is ‘NIOSH Approved’, filtering out more than 95% of particles larger than 0.3 microns.

  • Know About Various Critical Illnesses and Their Cost of Treatment in India

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Critical illnesses are termed critical because they can significantly impact your lifestyle, impair your earning ability, and in the worst case, prove fatal. Factors that make critical illnesses even more dangerous are their potential to wipe out your entire savings, slide you and your family into a debt trap, and derail your life goals.

    India is fast witnessing a rise in the number of critical ailments, the treatment of which is pushing many into poverty. Here are some of the major critical ailments and an approximate cost of their treatment in India.


    Slowly becoming a mass killer in India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) estimates more than 17.3 lakh cases of cancer in India with more than 8.8 lakh deaths by 2020. A disease involving abnormal growth of cells, treatment of cancer is emotionally and financially challenging. In case the family’s principal breadwinner is diagnosed with the disease, the suffering is endless.

    There are several types of cancer such as blood cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, etc. Treatment costs involve doctor visits, chemotherapy, medicine expenses and pre- and post-hospitalization expenses. A single drug can cost ₹75,000 to ₹1 lakh and a single chemotherapy cycle can cost anything between ₹1 to 2 lakh. Cumulatively, cancer treatment can go upwards of ₹10 lakh in India.

    Heart ailments

    Heart ailments have seen a significant rise in India in the last few years. According to a study, deaths due to cardiovascular disease rose by 34% between 1990-2016 in India. The study also found Ischemic heart disease and stroke to be the leading cause of death. Smoking, obesity, hypertension, stress, unhealthy food habits and high cholesterol levels are some of the primary reasons for heart ailments.

    Congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease, dilated cardiomyopathy, pulmonary stenosis and mitral valve prolapse are some of the common heart ailments. Just like cancer, treating these diseases is an expensive affair. Though the cost of treatment varies, expenses can easily reach ₹3-5 lakh or even more. Follow-up visits along with lab and CT scans further inflate the medical bill.

    Kidney diseases

    According to statistics, 1 in 10 persons in India is estimated to suffer from some form of chronic kidney disorder. Nearly 1.75 lakh new patients suffer from kidney failure every year and need dialysis or kidney transplant. However, dialysis and kidney transplant are quite expensive. It’s estimated that only 3-4% of people get kidney transplant while only 20-25% can afford dialysis.

    While a kidney transplant can cost anything upwards of ₹6.5 lakh, dialysis can set you back by ₹18,000-20,000 per month. Following a successful transplant, lifelong intake of steroids, supplements and immunosuppressants can further cost ₹5,000 per month. For a middle-class household, the expenses are quite high, and many may find it difficult to bear.

    Liver Cirrhosis

    Obesity-related disorders and intake of alcohol have boosted the cases of liver cirrhosis in India significantly. Around 10 lakh people are diagnosed with liver cirrhosis every year, which is the tenth most common cause of death in India according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Also, once diagnosed, there are very few chances of the disease reversal. Liver transplant is the only way to treat this disease, failing which the patient may succumb within 2-3 years.

    Just like the above-mentioned critical ailments, liver transplant is quite expensive and can range anywhere between ₹10-20 lakh. While finding a donor in itself is a critical affair, there are several regulatory issues like authenticating paperwork which delay the process. Following a successful transplant, around ₹8,000-10,000 per month is required for immunosuppressants.

    Alzheimer’s disease

    With the fast ageing Indian population, the danger of Alzheimer’s gripping the Indian elderly looms large. According to the India Ageing Report 2017, the elderly population in India is increasing at a faster rate of 3%. The cost of taking care of Alzheimer’s can be upwards of ₹40,000 per month.

  • Improve the Quality of Your Life with These Easy Steps

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    When tackling tensions of the everyday, it is easy to lose focus and forget about the only constant – life. Sometimes, you need to take a few moments in which you stop, contemplate and plan to take a turn to improve the quality of your life.

    Trying to improve the quality of your life doesn’t always include making a major life change or even by completely revamping yourself. It comes with making small choices every single day and realising the goal with every small step. Here are some ways in which you can improve the quality of your life.

    Sleep Right

    People do not stress enough upon the importance of a good night’s sleep. Ensuring that you get at least seven hours of sleep every night boosts mood and performance, helping you feel better equipped to handle the stresses of your day.

    Gratitude is Key

    Whether it is writing down your blessings at the end of every day or simply paying more attention to the positive aspects of your life; when you start focusing on the good things, you invite happiness into your life, beginning the process to improve the quality of your life.

    Get Organised

    A lot of confusion and chaos can be avoided if you take steps towards organising your life. Decluttering by putting your priorities right and taking action upon them can be of great help. Get a journal, plan ahead, try and stick to your plans and get the most out of your day.

    Invest in Yourself

    We spend thousands of rupees on things like clothes, shoes, gadgets, homeware, etc. While they provide instant gratification, they do little to improve how we feel about our lives and ourselves. If we spend that time, money and effort into acquiring a new skill, creating something or helping someone, it is sure to improve the quality of your life and those around you.

    Connect with Nature

    An effective way of getting perspective on things and putting your life back on track is by making nature a part of your every day. Go for walks in parks, drive out of the city and take regular breaks into the wild. You will feel rejuvenated and more willing to take on new challenges.

    Drop Negative Thoughts

    It is easy to stay stuck in a loop of negative thoughts that make situations appear worse than they actually are. When feeling stuck, it is important to reach out for help to improve the quality of your life. It can be in the form of a phone call to your friend, words jotted down in a diary or listening to empowering music.

    Learn Self-Worth

    Being acquainted with your strengths can help in building confidence and push you towards bigger opportunities. Analyse your strengths, hone your skills and align work-life with your skill set. For example, if you have a knack at organising and handling stressful situations; get educated to improve your organisational skills and get yourself a job that pays for organising.

    When you play at your strengths, you increase the feeling of self-worth and improve the quality of your life.

  • Why Cellphones Are Bad For Your Health and Tips to Use Your Phone Less

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    How mobile phone usage affects your health and steps you can take to reduce usage

    Mobile phone usage in India has increased from 524.9 million people in 2013 to 775.5 million people in 2018, and these numbers are expected to increase to 813.2 million in 2019. It can, therefore, safely be said that mobile phones are here to stay. These networked mini computers are extremely powerful, and have made the entire human population increasingly reliant on them.

    How Mobile Phones Affect Health

    However, this increasing mobile phone usage and dependence comes with a horde of health issues. Apart from causing dry and sore eyes, your cellphone is also home to a lot of germs. These germs come from carrying your phone everywhere. A study showed that your phone could be covered in traces of dangerous germs like MRSA, staphylococcus aureus (which causes staph infections and toxic shock syndrome), and E. coli.

    Moreover, mobile phones also cause headaches and stress. In fact, the stress/fear of not having your phone near you is a real thing: it’s called Nomophobia. Another mobile phone caused condition is the ‘text neck’. This is the pain caused in your shoulders and neck by constantly looking down at your phone.

    With all these health hazards, it might be better to stop using mobile phones altogether. Unfortunately though, that is not really an option in today’s world. The solution is, rather, to be responsible with its usage, and there are many steps you can take to do so.

    Steps to Control Mobile Phone Usage

    Here are a few easy steps you can take to reduce your mobile phone usage:

    • Keep your phone out of your reach while you are reading or watching TV. Focus on what you are doing instead of letting your phone distract you.
    • Turn off notifications that don’t require immediate action. For example, you can turn off notifications from Whatsapp groups that only share forwarded messages.
    • Clock the browsing you do on your phone. At night, fix a timing to stop browsing your phone and then put it away.
    • Do not be using your phone while you’re in bed. In fact, turn your phone off, or at least put it on airplane mode before you sleep.
    • Stop checking your phone while in line. Don’t be browsing just because you don’t have anything to do for a minute.
    • Don't repeatedly check your all social media apps. Check one at a time instead and put down your phone after. This may take a little self-training.
  • Know About Motion Sickness And Ways To Deal With It

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    If you feel uneasy and sick while travelling by road, railways, water or air, you might be suffering from ‘motion sickness’. It can be a debilitating experience that can ruin your travel day. You could arrive at your destination completely exhausted and fatigued due to the side effects of motion sickness. This article can help you out in diagnosing and dealing with the malady.


    A feeling of uneasiness followed by nausea and vomiting while travelling are the most common symptoms of motion sickness. It can also cause cold sweat, headache and body pain. You might feel extremely sleepy and your skin can get pale. You can also feel dizziness or malaise due to the disorder in your brain. Lots of yawning and irritation as soon as your journey starts can be the first sign of motion sickness.


    Motion sickness occurs when conflicting signals are sent to the brain by other parts of the body that detect motion. One part of the sensing system, like eyes and sensory nerves indicate that the body is moving, whereas other parts like the inner ear do not sense a motion. This leads to a conflict in the brain and results in motion sickness.

    The brain may detect such a situation as effect of a poison, which leads to vomiting as a natural reaction to get rid of the poison. Due to mixed signals, the brain cannot function properly and you feel dizzy, get headache and nausea.


    There are numerous medications that may be used for motion sickness treatment. These are useful when taken before the onset of symptoms.

    • Hyoscine: It is the most common medication used to treat motion sickness. It blocks some of the nerve signals to the brain and hence you feel sleepy and drowsy.
    • Antihistaminic: These alternative medicines are also used to treat symptoms of allergy and nausea. It needs to be taken two hours before the journey.
  • 8 Tips to Keep Your Child Safe This Holi

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Holi is a festival of colours and the origin of this festival dates to thousands of years. Over the decades, Holi has become quite popular among children. They rejoice playing with colours and the fiesta is a perfect platform for them to strengthen bonds with their friends, relatives, siblings, cousins and neighbours.

    However, Holi, despite its vibrance, is a little risky for children, as it can cause skin allergies, organ damages, fever or stomach ailments if proper protection isn’t taken. Thus, you as a parent or guardian must take precautions to ensure a safe Holi for your beloved child. Given below are 8 ways to do so.

    1. 1. Avoid Synthetic Colours

    2. Synthetic colours, though cheaper and easily available, contain harmful chemicals like mercury, lead and aluminium bromide. Children with sensitive skin can suffer from severe allergies and rashes if synthetic colours are splashed upon them. Try to avoid such colours and buy certified organic or herbal colours.

      Organic colours can easily be washed and are gentler on your child’s delicate skin. Also, while bathing your child post-Holi celebration(s), avoid harsh soaps. You can use besan ubtan or curd. The astringent characteristic of curd helps in taking off colours. In the past, organic colours were naturally prepared at homes. Today, you can purchase them online.

    3. 2. Appropriate health management tool

    4. We all know the importance of a healthy lifestyle. You might have adopted few fitness routines and daily exercises in order to reach your coveted health goals. The use of wearable devices can help you to know whether your workout activities are helping you in achieving your health goals, thereby acting as a crucial tool for your health management.

    5. 3. Ensure Colours are Not Ingested

    6. Many children sometimes mistakenly ingest colours while playing Holi. This can cause serious ailments as colours are not edible substances. Synthetic colours that contain harmful chemicals, which if ingested can lead to serious diseases.

      Thus, keep a close watch on your child and ensure he/she does not ingest colours. However, in case your child does so, it is better to go to the nearest medical centre for treatment at the earliest.

    7. 4. Teach Your Children Good Water Manners

    8. While Holi is a festival of joy and fun, some people avoid participating in it due to religious, personal and social reasons. During Holi, instruct your child not to force an unwilling person to celebrate with them.

      Also, ask them to avoid spraying watercolours on each other’s faces suddenly. Ensure that your child does not spray colours on wounds and carbuncles. Since water is a scarce resource, teach your child to use it judiciously.

    9. 5. Make Sure Your Child Wears Goggles

    10. Eyes are one of the most vital as well as vulnerable organs of our body. Make your child wear goggles to avoid optical injuries while playing Holi.

      Swimming goggles are preferable since they are made up of water-resistant materials. This is because some colours, when splashed, can cause eye irritation and in some extreme cases, blindness.

  • COVID-19: How to Sanitise Your Home Effectively

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    How long does COVID-19 virus live on surfaces? Can coronavirus be transferred via grocery items? Should I wash my vegetables in a soap solution? How often do I disinfect surfaces? Should I sun the grocery items I’ve bought? COVID-19 has changed how we perceive things. For example, a quirky, eye-catching door handle or knocker is now just another often touched surface that must be disinfected on the regular. Mundane chores have now acquired a sense of urgency that belies their innocuous nature.

    But we aren’t here to help you ace your household chores with a Stepford wife precision for Instagram-worthy results. We’re here with pointers that we hope will help effectively answer (one of) the most pertinent questions – How do I disinfect/sanitise my home to stay safe? Before we begin here are a few things to take note of -

    Keep in mind the following difference:

    Cleaning v/s Disinfecting

    Cleaning means clearing contaminants from the surface.

    Process of disinfecting helps in getting rid of harmful pathogens.

    Essentials you’ll need:

    Disinfecting wipes, disinfectant sprays, disposable or reusable gloves, detergent, 70% isopropyl alcohol solution, bleach


    Set up a task-list and prioritise high-touch surfaces such as door knobs, handles, toilets, kitchen countertop, and faucets should be cleaned and disinfected routinely. While COVID-19 transmission occurs mainly through respiratory droplets, surface transmission can also take place. Early evidence suggests that the coronavirus can live on surfaces. Hence, cleaning surfaces or things that you or your family may be touching frequently becomes imperative. A publication by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas mentions, “Coronaviruses are surrounded by a lipid membrane and have a single-stranded RNA genome. This is important because the lipid membrane is very sensitive to soap and the RNA genome is very sensitive to UV light. In general, these are very sensitive microorganisms that don’t survive a long time without a host.” Ergo, frequent disinfection and cleaning goes a long way in keeping the virus at bay.

    Here’s how to go about sanitizing your home

    Let’s scratch sanitise the surface

    As mentioned previously, Table tops, handles, the kitchen slab, children’s toys are all areas that require frequent cleaning. According to the CDC, the above should be cleaned using regular household cleaning agents. You can also use a mixture of soap and water. Remember to wear disposable gloves when you’re on a cleaning spree. If you’re using reusable gloves for cleaning or disinfecting surfaces for the purpose of COVID-19, set them aside and ensure that you don’t use them for any other task. As per UNICEF guidelines, “It’s important not to wipe cleaning solutions off as soon as you have applied it to a surface. Many disinfectant products, such as wipes and sprays, need to stay wet on a surface for several minutes in order to be effective.”

    Cleaning electronics

    Keyboards, tablets remotes, mobile phones should all be cleaned frequently using alcohol-based wipes, preferably a make with a high percentage of alcohol content. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s directions and recommendations for cleaning all electronic items. You can also use these wipes to clean board games, something everyone in the family must be making frequent use of considering we’re all homebound these days.

    Also read: Life after lockdown: 7 mistakes you should avoid to stay safe from COVID-19

    Soft surfaces

    Curtains, carpets, sofa covers, bed sheets should be cleaned from time-to-time using warm water, appropriate detergent and a disinfectant. If you have a washing machine at home, wash the items in warm water. Read instructions carefully just in case you have items that may shrink. Do not shake dirty laundry and wash your hands thoroughly after handling dirty laundry. Don’t forget to disinfect the laundry basket too from time to time.

    Handling and prepping food

    There are some activities that we cannot put a full stop to. A grocery run is one of them. Browsing the shelves, an innocuous activity pre-COVID comes with its own set of risks now. You have no way of knowing who and how many have handled a packet that you’re now loading into your shopping cart. Same goes for food that you may be ordering in. So if you’re returning home post a grocery run or receiving a takeout order from the delivery person, first things first – wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. Discard the packet you have received your food in. If you’re using a cloth bag (really you should!) for your errands, put it away for wash. Empty the contents of your takeout into clean utensils. Try and limit your errands; buy enough to at least last you a week or two.

  • 5 Unhealthy Habits to Give Up On This World Health Day

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    April 7 is observed as World Health Day across the globe. To begin with, one must acknowledge that living healthy isn’t a choice; instead, it is imperative that you do. A few unhealthy habits might be sabotaging your efforts at living a healthy life. Take a look at the following unhealthy habits that you ought to get rid of this World Health Day:

    1. Skipping your breakfast

    Unhealthy habit #1 is skipping your first meal. When you wake up in the morning, your body needs the correct nutrition to prepare itself for the rest of the day. However, by force of habit, some tend to wake up late for office and make up for the lost time by not eating a full breakfast. Also, one might choose to forego his first meal, thinking it to be a diet hack.

    In reality, not eating your breakfast impacts the body in more ways than one. It causes a drop in your blood sugar levels, affects mental health and concentration owing to the lack of energy reserves, and leads you to binge on unhealthy (comfort) foods throughout the day.

    Needless to point it out, gorging on junk foods can only add to the extra kilos and visceral fat, thereby making you vulnerable to lifestyle disorders at an increased age.

    Health tip: Make sure you eat a wholesome breakfast, comprising the right nutrients and macros. The first meal of the day should not be only protein or carb-heavy; instead, include foods that have adequate proportions of protein, healthy carbs and good fats.

    2. Not sipping enough on the wonder liquid

    Another unhealthy habit is to skimp on your regular water intake. Multiple studies have linked adequate consumption of water to a sharper memory and focus, more stable mood, and increased energy. Besides, keeping up with the required fluid intake helps your skin stay supple and your body cool faster relative to the ambient temperature; provides muscles and joints increased functionality, and flushes out toxins from the system.

    The question is, how much water should you be drinking each day? Experts say that about eight glasses should do the trick (besides the two/three cups of water that you get from foods). However, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore, the best way to know whether you are hydrated is to check the colour of urine (darker colour can indicate that you aren’t hydrated).

    Health tip: You can spread your daily water intake over the day. Begin the morning with two glasses of water, and drink another 6-7 glasses as the day progresses.

    3. Eating late into the night

    Research reveals that longer the time between two meals (dinner and breakfast), more the time your body gets to process, digest and absorb the nutrients from the food. Also, studies have established a connect between intermittent fasting (marked by spacing out your meals and eating in a shorter window) and healthy weight loss.

    Another reason to give up on late night snacking or late dinners is that it often results in indigestion, something that hampers the quality of your sleep. Moreover, chances are you aren’t necessarily opting for the healthier options. Instead, you are likely to reach out for refined snacks and other unhealthy foods that will, in turn, spike the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and derail all weight loss goals.

    Health tip: Make yourself a dinner schedule and stick to it. Ideally, aim to have your last meal of the day at least two hours before bedtime.

    4. Living a sedentary lifestyle

    In today’s times, most of our work is online. Chances are you are sitting on a chair all day long, glued to your laptop. However, don’t let this professional routine of yours add to the risks of morbidity and mortality.

    Break the monotony by indulging in a 30/45-minute workout regularly. Multiple studies have thrown light on the various upsides of physical activity. Not only does exercise help you look and feel great, but it also aligns perfectly well with your weight loss goals, and boosts metabolism and energy levels.

    More importantly, regular exercise can significantly add to your life expectancy. An extensive body of work corroborates that physical activity helps to keep the heart healthy, lowers the risks of certain types of cancers and other chronic conditions, regulates blood flow to all parts of the body, and supports blood sugar control.

    Health tip: Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity every week. This can include brisk walking or jogging. Team it with two days of strength training, including lifting weights, and using your body weight as resistance (exercises like pull-ups, push-ups and squats).

    5. Not getting adequate snooze hours

    Research states that not getting enough shut-eye at night can cloud your thinking and decision-making abilities (you are more likely to make mistakes), affect heart health and jeopardise your immune system. Being sleep-deprived is also linked with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, owing to the release of insulin that results in increased fat storage.

    More importantly, lack of quality sleep can make it even more challenging to lose weight. That’s because the two hormones that regulate appetite and satiety – namely ghrelin and leptin -- are adversely affected by insufficient or scanty sleep.

  • 6 Scientifically Backed Stress Management Tips to Bid Adieu to Stress

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Long hours of work, responsibilities of your family and suffering sleep patterns can all lead to increased stress. Though it is an inescapable part of our daily lives, there are always some things that we can do to counter it. The most basic thing to do is to learn how to relieve stress from our lives. Here are a few ways to relieve stress that can also be followed to get your mental tranquility back.


    For many people, eating seems to be a stress-buster at times when nothing else works. It has been scientifically proven that certain foods actually help reduce stress. Beginning with broccoli that has folic acid for stress reduction to endorphin-producing dark chocolate; from nuts that keep the cortisol levels low to salmon rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that help the brain cells function more collaboratively, are all examples of foods that can help you relax when you feel stressed.

    Deep Breathing

    When you feel mentally fatigued and there are not many resources at hand, the most effective way to release stress is by using your body’s mechanism to fix itself. Deep breathing or taking long breaths works efficiently to give your mind the much-needed break. When you start breathing deeply, the body directly responds by lowering the blood pressure, releasing the muscle tension and lowering of metabolism, providing a calming effect to the whole body and mind.

    Take a Walk

    The fact that exercise is good for physical well-being has been long established, but it is also interesting to note that a small amount of exercise can do wonders for your mental health too. In situations where you feel yourself being strained by a certain issue, the best thing to do is to take a walk. According to research, taking regular walks can help to modify your nervous system and control anger and mood swings.

    Turn off Your Phone

    Smartphones have become an essential part of our lives and help us navigate our daily life better. All these positives don’t take away from the fact that they have also increased the anxiety levels in people. By simply switching off your phone, you can get instant relaxation by escaping the urge to constantly check your phone for work emails or social media updates. Even a few minutes away from the screen can be a great de-stresser.

    Take a Nap

    The hectic everyday schedules of today’s life seldom leave time for a full night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation can have a major effect on your mental well-being and shoot up stress levels. Although, drastically altering the lifestyle might not be an option, taking a nap definitely is. Research shows that even a half hour nap can reverse the effects of sleep deprivation and help improve productivity and performance.

  • Health Insurance Claims: Why Claims Get Rejected in India 2023?

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    A list of reasons that can lead to the rejection of your health insurance claim

    Customers buy health insurance with a mindset that it will rescue them from severe medical emergencies. But what happens when the claim is rejected? The setback of claim rejection can have major financial implications for the insured. The rising costs of hospitalization and medicines further intensify the apprehension, leaving the insured vulnerable.

    You need financial support to recover from an illness or injury and medical expenses are the last thing that you want to be bothered about. To ensure that your claim is not rejected and you get reimbursed on time, you must adhere to these points before making a claim.

    Waiting Period

    Waiting period is the most common reason for health insurance claim rejections. Waiting period can be of different types depending on the insurer and policy. There may be an initial waiting period where a claim is rejected within 30-90 days of buying the cover. There may be a waiting period for pre-existing illnesses where the claim will get rejected within a specified period (usually 1-2 years) if the claim is made for the pre-existing illness. Besides, there may be specific waiting periods for medical conditions such as maternity.

    Incorrect Information

    It is probably one of the leading causes for claim rejections. The insurance policy is based on the details that the insured provides at the time of filling the proposal form. All insurance policies are based on good faith and the insured is expected to provide complete and honest information at the time of purchasing the policy. If any discrepancy is found or if an ailment is discovered, which was not informed to the insurer earlier, then the claim will be rejected.

    Permanent Exclusions

    Every insurance policy has certain permanent exclusions that will not be covered under any circumstances. These can be anything from certain diseases to treatments. Not all policies have the same content in their exclusion list. Therefore, it is advisable to go through the exclusions carefully to avoid unexpected surprises later on.

  • This is How Health Insurance Can Protect Your Savings

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    We’ve all heard the popular saying, ‘health is wealth’. From working out in gyms to wellness retreats to maintaining healthy eating habits, staying fit has become a cardinal aim of our life. Improving personal health competence has certainly been a crucial agenda in people’s life, regardless of their age, gender and occupation.

    While taking care of your health should be the top priority, it bodes well to stay prepared for the unexpected. And that’s why health advisors always recommend buying a health insurance plan as your second layer of defence. It secures you against the risk of medical emergencies that could drain all your finances in one go and burn a large hole in your pocket.

    Apart from covering the rising costs of availing healthcare facilities, health insurance has a host of other benefits. Listed below are some of reasons as to how a health insurance policy facilitates greater savings in times of distress:

    Covers your Medical Expenses

    When you or your family member needs urgent medical care, the last thing you would want to worry about is the medical costs. One of the biggest advantages of having a health insurance plan is that it covers you against unforeseen medical expenses in the event of an unexpected situation. With the right insurance policy, you don’t have to worry about any medical expenditure, be it post-hospitalization expenses, ambulance charges, doctor’s fees etc.

    Hence, by choosing the right blend of features, you can be assured of a 360-degree health protection cover for you and your loved ones. Many insurance companies have started offering riders with the main policy or separate health plans to cover excluded medical conditions such as maternity benefits, personal accident insurance and critical illness cover etc. With these costs covered under your health insurance policy, you need not worry about the finances in case the calamity strikes.

    Financial protection against critical illnesses

    Almost every health insurer provides coverage against critical illnesses such as cancer, kidney failure, stroke, etc. either with the policy or as an add-on cover that can be added to your health insurance plan. In case you are diagnosed with any of these diseases as mentioned in the predetermined list of your policy, the insurance company will give you a lump sum amount to meet all your treatment costs and tackle other financial obligations.

    Selecting the right policy with the right amount of coverage, thereby helps you to prepare for the worst. Rather than waiting for an illness to strike, it’s prudent for you to stay proactive and plan for the future. Additionally, purchasing a policy at a young age will not only give you the benefit of lower premiums but also more comprehensive coverage and hence, facilitate more savings if you’re struck by a malady.

    Cashless Mediclaim facility

    When you’re undergoing the treatment in a hospital, your family might find it very difficult to arrange immediate cash to pay the hospital bills. To make sure you don’t have to face such a situation, many insurance providers offer cashless Mediclaim facility at network hospitals which means you can get the best possible treatment without worrying about the finances.

    All you need to do is fill up the Mediclaim form to get cashless benefits at partner hospitals with the insurance company.

  • Benefits of Getting A Good Sleep

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Getting a good sleep every night is vital for your physical and emotional health. Allowing yourself to have proper rest after a hard day’s work rejuvenates your body and enhances your immune system.

    Sleep has innumerable benefits and it is essential to sustaining life itself, as most of the repairing your body undergoes is during sleep. Here are five benefits of sleep that may motivate you to get that much-needed full eight hours of rest, in case you neglect your daily quota of complete rest.

    Improved Memory

    When our body is tired, our brain cannot recall information properly. A lack of sleep affects our memory as our body produces excessive amounts of stress hormones. Elevated stress hormones could adversely affect the vital functions of our body and affect our quality of life.

    Regular and deep sleep improves memory by regenerating neurons and improving long term memory formation by organizing the information the brain received throughout the day. Sleep is also known to improve attention span, make a person sharper and improve focus, thus improving overall productivity.

    Improved Immune System

    Proper sleep improves the immune system and reduces the chances of serious diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure and cardiac issues. Restful sleep induces a state of complete relaxation, which in turn encourages a regulated blood flow throughout the body, thus reducing the chances of risks related to the cardiovascular system. Healthy sleeping habits also lowers the chances of diabetes by regulating body weight.

    Emotional Well-Being

    Not getting enough sleep can make us feel agitated, irritable and grumpy. A constant state of negative emotions may further lead to depression which can wreck havoc in our personal and professional lives. Enough sleep allows us to be in better control of our emotions, stay calm and reasonable throughout the day no matter what situation we face.

  • 9 Ways to Maintain Your Mental and Emotional Health This Winter

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Weather conditions during the winter season affects our mental and emotional health. It’s quite common to feel melancholic, tired and mentally drained during the frigid winter months. After all, it can be tough to stay cheerful with shorter days, longer nights and frosty temperatures. So, we’ve compiled 5 effective ways through which you can combat winter blues and keep yourself happy during the chilly days of the year.

    Exercise daily

    Your body releases stress-relieving and mood-boosting endorphins during and after a work-out, which is how exercising helps relieve anxiety and depression. It’s even more important to follow your exercise routine during the winter season, not only to release the mental pressure, but also to keep yourself warm and active.

    Invest time in activities

    Plan more activities that you enjoy to uplift your mood. Prioritize time to do something fun with your friends, children, share light moments with your colleagues or classmates, go for a walk by the sea with your partner, or spend time doing your favorite hobby at least once every day. This will help you keep your mind healthy and will induce positivity.

    Nutritious diet

    The food you eat directly impacts your body and the brain. Protein-rich food and carbohydrates increase serotonin, dopamine, and tyrosine which keeps you alert and has a calming effect on your mind. Also, having green vegetables and fruits daily supply essential nutrients to your body, and restore structural integrity of the brain cells to keep you in a healthy mindset.

    Find new companions

    Sometimes one of the best solutions to avoid the loneliness that can surround you in winter is to add another kind of companion to your life. It can be a new friend from social media, or a pet. They can offer unconditional love, comfort and a way to keep you cheerful throughout the day.

    Maintain healthy relationships

    Relationship problems are a very common cause of emotional distress, especially during the winter months. Statistics have revealed that December and January are the busiest months of the year for lawyers dealing with divorce cases. There can be many stressful factors that can affect your relationship with friends and family, but you can prevent conflict by trying to be kind, and make extra effort to be compassionate.

    Talk about your problems

    Knowing you’re valued by others and sharing your thoughts helps you think more positively in overcoming the negative aspects of life. When you speak about things that are troubling you, you let the negative emotions out, reducing your stress and anxiety. Holding onto anger and negative feelings can eventually lead to depression and keep you stuck in the past.

    Take care of your finances

    The uncontrolled spending or increasing financial obligations of you and your family can be another common contributor to your low mood during the winter months. Also, the festive season can create added stress to meet these requirements. You can avoid this source of unhappiness by outlining a strict budget for festive celebrations and making sure you stick to it.

    Take adequate sleep

    Sleep restores both your mind and body. Hence, it’s important to sleep deeply, and adequately to keep yourself positive, both mentally and physically. More so, during winters when nights are longer than usual, staying up late consistently can have adverse effects on your brain and body. Avoid gadgets and heavy food at night to sleep better, and earlier.

  • 6 Tips for Healthier Eyes in the Digital Era

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Keeping eyes protected from the strains and stresses of everyday computer usage is of more importance today than ever before

    According to a survey conducted in the year 2017, India ranked in the world’s top 5 markets in terms of the time spent on apps on Android phones. Indians spend up to 4 hours of their day on smartphones, which is equivalent to half a work day in many cases. For many, these hours are in addition to at least another 8 hours a day spent on their laptops and computers at work.

    Long hours of exposure to the blue light emitted by computer and phone screens can cause a plethora of eye problems; ranging from blurry vision, dryness, eye strain, itchy eyes, headaches to long-term diseases like Computer Vision Syndrome.

    A few simple steps taken every day can help protect your eyes and reverse the adverse effects of computers on your eyes.

    Anti-glare Glasses

    The blue light that is emitted in large amount by computer and phone screens can be harmful to the eyes. When in front of the screen, eyes must be protected by anti-glare glasses. The anti-reflective coating present on the glasses helps to bounce the light off and thus reduce glare and protect eyes.

    Take a Break

    Taking a break from the screen every 20 minutes is important. It can be done by looking at something at a distance; by rapidly blinking or by taking a walk. Walking around helps with the blood circulation which improves not only eye health but also the health of the entire body.

    Better Lighting

    When working on a screen, the lighting in the room should be neither too dim nor too bright. Where low lighting can strain your eyes, bright and concentrated lighting can cause glare; both are bad for the eyes. Therefore, opting for diffused lighting keeps eyes healthy and in good working condition.

    Proper Distance and Angle

    The computer screen must be placed at least at an arm’s length to escape strain and stress to the eyes. Apart from the distance, the angle at which the screen is viewed is of importance as well. By keeping the screen at 20 degrees below the eye level also eases the strain on the eyes.

  • What Amount of Tax Does Health Insurance Save?

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    How to save tax and get health protection at the same time

    Health insurance is a critical component of a financial plan especially when healthcare costs are on a rise. In addition, the cost of treatment for major diseases is prohibitive. Sudden hospitalisation expenses can have a weakening impact on a family’s financial condition.

    Buying health insurance for yourself, spouse, dependent children, and parents is a protection from heavy financial loss due to hospitalisation of a family member. There is an additional health insurance. The premium amount paid is allowed as deduction from total income for computation of tax payable, which lowers your tax liability.

    Section 80D of the Income Tax Act provides tax benefits on the amount paid as premium for health insurance. The basic condition is that the payment of premium should be made by cheque, electronic funds transfer, or any digital medium. Payment of health insurance premium in cash disqualifies the insured from claiming the tax benefit.

    The benefit is available for an individual as well as a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF). Amount paid for the central government’s health scheme also qualifies for tax benefit under Section 80D. The tax benefit is available when health insurance is bought for self, spouse, dependent children, and parents in the case of individuals. For HUF, health insurance purchased for any member can be claimed as deduction from total income for arriving at the tax payable.

    Deductions allowed from total income under Section 80D for the year 2016-17 is as follows:

    For Individual

    • Premium up to ₹25,000; The limit is ₹30,000 if the person insured is a senior citizen or a very senior citizen
    • An additional premium up to ₹25,000 when health insurance is purchased for parent(s) of the assesse. The limit is ₹30,000 if a parent insured is a senior citizen or very senior citizen

    For HUF

    • Premium up to ₹25,000; The limit is ₹30,000 if the member insured is a senior citizen or very senior citizen
    • The additional benefit offered to individuals is not available in the case of HUF

    Section 80D further provides that an individual as well as HUF can claim deduction of up to ₹30,000 of medical expenditure for a very senior citizen, who is not covered by health insurance. A person 60 years and above is defined as a senior citizen and 80 years and above as a very senior citizen.

    The aggregate amount of deduction that can be claimed under Section 80D by an individual is ₹60,000 and by HUF, it is ₹30,000.

    The following illustrations explains the maximum amount of tax saving on purchase of health insurance

    Premium paid Total premium paid Tax saved when in 10% tax bracket Tax saved when in 20% tax bracket Tax saved when in 30% tax bracket
    For Individual
    ₹25,000 for family PLUS ₹30,000 for 60-year-old parent ₹55,000 ₹5,500 ₹11,000 ₹16,500
    ₹30,000 when assesse is 60-year-old PLUS ₹ 30,000 for 80-year-old parent ₹60,000 ₹6,000 ₹12,000 ₹18,500
    For HUF
    ₹30,000 premium for HUF which includes a 60-year-old member ₹30,000 ₹3,000 ₹6,000 ₹9,000
  • Does your child need to wear a mask to combat the COVID-19 outbreak?

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    If used the right way, cloth masks made of cotton can prevent the respiratory droplets from infecting others

    With the world in the firm grip of COVID-19, the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) announced in the first week of April this year that everybody should ideally wear cloth face masks in public -- particularly in spaces where standing six feet apart from each other isn’t a possibility -- to guard against the raging novel coronavirus.

    The leading public health institute has also stated that protective gear shouldn’t be used on toddlers under the age of 2 years and by people suffering from persistent breathing problems. However, the lacuna in the CDC directive is that there is no specific advice on how children should use protective face masks.

    What has added to the confusion is that the CDC hasn’t mandated the need to wear masks; it is still left to one’s discretion. In the wake of such ambiguity, it is crucial to know whether your child needs to sport a protective mask or not. This article seeks to clear the air through expert answers and opinions so that you can take an informed decision. Read on:

    1. Are COVID-19 symptoms different in children?

    No, COVID-19 symptoms displayed by all are identical. However, children afflicted by the novel coronavirus have usually exhibited milder symptoms as compared to adults. While common symptoms include fever, cough and a runny nose, diarrhoea and vomiting have been reported as well.

    2. It is not likely that children will be severely affected by the virus. So why do they need to wear a mask?

    Basis available evidence, children are relatively less vulnerable to COVID-19 as compared to adults.

    That being said, to date, children comprise almost 1-2% of all the cases. The high-risk paediatric population constitute children suffering from underlying conditions like broncho-pulmonary hypoplasia (incomplete lung-development), congenital heart diseases, airway anomalies, and compromised immunity owing to severe malnutrition.

    These findings have buttressed the belief among global healthcare ecosystem that children with undetected or mild cases of the disorder might contaminate others in their immediate families and communities. Should a child already have the virus, wearing protective cloth masks can prevent the virus-laden respiratory droplets from landing around others.

    Remember that non-medical coverings cannot do much to protect your child. However, if used the right way, they are still better than nothing. While it is true that children have accounted for a small proportion of the detected cases, some of them rank high on severity. Importantly, almost 25% of the cases are asymptomatic – the primary reason why the infection has spread thick and fast.

    Also Read - Coronavirus: Myths Vs Facts

    3. Should children wear face masks every time while stepping outside?

    Note that protective gear is the most useful in spaces where your child will, in all probability, come within six feet of other people. It follows that you should make your child wear a mask every time he/she is heading to the local pharmacy or grocery store with you. Masks also become essential gear in areas that are considered hotspots for the novel coronavirus.

    Experts also think it best that children don’t wear masks at home. Should any family member be ill, make sure he/she is maintaining isolation and the other family members are staying six feet apart from him/her.

    However, in case your child is under the weather, or you believe he/she could become sick, try not to step out in public. Should you have to visit the doctor, make sure you have a prior appointment scheduled and wear a face mask if you have one.

    4. Ok. But how should I ensure that my toddler keeps his mask on at all times?

    For anyone with a toddler, this is going to be a real challenge. That’s because some toddlers and pre-schoolers are more likely to wear and keep on a mask more than others.

    Start by explaining to your child why it is essential to wear a cloth face mask. Use simple words to drive home the point -- that people can spread the infection without showing any symptom, for instance.

    Remember that children learn what they see around them – set an example by wearing protective face masks. It is advised to positively reinforce the child’s behaviour when he/she wears a mask.

    You can also fall back on the reward system for faster results. For instance, every time your child wears a mask, give him/her a healthy treat – yoghurt or fruits for instance.

    Children, especially those still in the early stages of development, will find it extremely hard to keep a mask on. They are likely to fidget with the gear, pulling it above or below the nose. Therefore, there is a chance that the mask won’t do what it is supposed to do. In all fairness, how your child would eventually cooperate depends on the age and level of maturity.

  • Coronavirus: Myths vs. Facts

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 17, 2021

    Lately, there has been a litany of misinformation doing the rounds across social media platforms. Unfounded information and hoaxes have broken and continue to break the internet. That’s precisely why we must separate fact from fiction so that we can better deal with the coronavirus outbreak. However, before we delve into debunking some of the most common myths about this pandemic, it is necessary to put things in perspective.

    What is the coronavirus?

    Coronaviruses (CoV) constitute a large family of viruses that usually cause a host of illnesses, ranging from common influenza to more severe conditions like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

    The COVID-19, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, is a new strain of viruses that were previously not identified among humans.

    Symptoms of the infection include respiratory distress, cough, fever, a runny nose, and aching hands and feet (this is not very common). The more severe cases can involve infection-induced pneumonia and acute breathing problems.

    Standard recommendations to contain further spreading of the virus include frequently washing your hands, covering nose and mouth while coughing/sneezing, and consuming thoroughly cooked food. More importantly, avoid public spaces, larger gatherings, and close contact with anybody exhibiting the symptoms mentioned above.

    Debunking Common Myths

    • Face masks can protect me against COVID-19. Myth or fact?

    • Answer: Some truth
      Mask, while not a complete guarantee and failsafe measure, can capture droplets which so far has been the biggest transmission route of the virus. Masks, however, may not be so effective in capturing aerosols which are tiny virus particles. Specific models of the more professional and tight-fitting masks (N95, for instance) help to guard healthcare workers, considering they care for the infected patients round the clock. Remember that stocking up on professional-grade masks makes those scarce and less available to the ones who need them most – i.e., infected patients and healthcare workers.

    • Eating non-vegetarian food isn’t safe. Myth or fact?

    • Answer: Myth
      There is no evidence to support that the novel coronavirus (or any other virus for that matter) thrives and breeds on eggs, chicken, meat and seafood. Just because the outbreak started from a meat market in Wuhan doesn’t mean you cannot eat non-vegetarian food or dairy items for as long as the infection persists. Make sure to cook the food thoroughly so that you kill the illness-causing viruses and germs.

    • We are at risk from packages that are imported from infected areas, particularly China. Myth or fact?

    • Answer: Myth
      Scientists conclude that viruses, including the novel coronavirus, cannot survive on external surfaces for long. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that you would contract COVID-19 from any package or item that was in transit for weeks and subject to ambient temperatures.

    • Alternative medicine has a cure for coronavirus. Myth or fact?

    • Answer: Myth
      The information that alternative medicine, including home remedies like consumption of garlic and drinking silver, can avert COVID-19 does not hold any water.

      • Drinking silver has not been evidenced to cure COVID-19; on the contrary, it can lead to seizures and kidney damage. Unlike zinc or iron, silver doesn’t have any role to play in the human system.
      • Drinking water every 15 minutes cannot cure coronavirus. Contrary to a social media post, adequate consumption of water, despite having a host of benefits, will not be particularly effective against any respiratory virus. Neither will be taking a hot shower protecting you against the risks of an infection.
      • UV lamps cannot help either. Instead, sterilising your hands under the light of UV lamps can irritate your skin.
      • Garlic certainly has antimicrobial properties. However, no evidence states that consuming garlic can protect against COVID-19.
      • According to WHO, spraying chlorine or alcohol on your body cannot kill the novel coronavirus. In fact, spraying these can harm one’s mucous membranes.

    Answering Rarely-asked Questions

    • Can COVID-19 infect pets?
    • As of now, there is no evidence of pets getting infected with the virus. However, there are other strains of the virus that can affect animals. Hence, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against contact with animals and recommends that you wear a mask if sick.

      While the CDC also suggests people travelling to China to avoid coming in close contact with pets, the agency doesn’t give out any reason to believe that animals could be the carriers of this virus.

    • Should I cancel my international trip?
    • Given the current conditions, travelling does present a risk. The idea is to factor in the wellbeing of your family members and fellow passengers. While you may not be particularly at risk of developing symptoms, you can end up infecting somebody who is.

      According to expert advice, you should give up on non-urgent and non-essential travel for the time being; particularly should you be more vulnerable to developing severe complications.

    • What should I expect upon arriving at my international destination?
    • As we write this, most countries have already sealed their borders and skies. While these travel restrictions may be eased in the future, you can still expect to be screened/quarantined if you are coming/ have visited a country where the outbreak has been widespread.

      If I am quarantined at home, what should my coronavirus kit include?

      In case you are quarantined at home, make sure you stock up on certain supplies. These include dry and canned food items, adequate water for every member at home, and a month’s supply of prescribed medicines.

      Make sure you have:

      • Antibacterial soap
      • Toilet paper, tissues
      • Hand sanitizer (with 60% + alcohol content)
      • Antibiotic ointments
      • Bandages, gauze
      • Thermometers
      • Scissors, tweezers
      • Blanket
      • Extra pair of contact lenses, hearing aid batteries (if required)
      • Pain relievers, vitamins and fluids, and other OTC medications for general conditions like heartburn, stomach problems, common cold, etc.
    • How long does coronavirus live on other surfaces?
    • Researchers cannot put the finger on it, but they assume not for a prolonged period. Experts say that this family of viruses can survive on surfaces only for a few hours. While it is still unclear how COVID-19 spreads; coronaviruses, in general, are transmitted through viral respiratory droplets.

      More importantly, no evidence suggests that this new strain can be transmitted through items, particularly imported goods.

    • What are the most credible sources of information about COVID-19?
    • Beware! Misinformation is rampant. As the virus continues to get a foothold across countries, unfounded information and conspiracy theories swell by the day as well. Social media sites have come under a deluge of misleading posts and questionable statistics. Government websites and those of international organisations such as WHO will provide the most credible and vetted information.

      Look out for websites that:

      • Rely on experts for accurate information
      • Have no vested interest, only want to inform and protect the people
      • Are not leveraging the current scenario to sell or promote a product
    • I want to volunteer to help coronavirus-afflicted patients. How should I go about it?
      • Get adequate medical supplies shipped to areas where they are needed urgently
      • Donate to a credible non-profit organisation
      • Support your local businesses
    • I read that it will take 18 months to find a vaccine. If this is true, will people suffer for all this time?
    • At this point, there is no vaccination available for the novel coronavirus. Scientists are working on devising a vaccine, but their efforts will take time to bear fruits. While human trials have already begun, it will take a considerable amount of time before global immunisation becomes a possibility.

      Also, against popular rumours that have been doing the rounds, antibiotics cannot help in preventing or tackling COVID-19. Antibiotics, as the name suggests, only protect against bacterial infections, not viral.

Most Recent Blogs