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Common Questions

Help & Support / Common Questions

1. What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease which makes the joints in the body become inflamed.

2. Who get Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The most common age for the disease to start is between 30 and 50, and woman are affected more often than men.

3. How does Rheumatoid arthritis develop?

In most people Rheumatoid Arthritis starts quite slowly. A few joints ? often the fingers, wrists or the balls of the feet - become uncomfortable and may swell, often intermittently. You may feel stiff when you wake up in the morning.

4.When should I go to the doctor?

It is very important that treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis is started as soon as possible. It may not be Rheumatoid Arthritis as there are many other causes of joint pain, but it is important to diagnose arthritis as soon as possible.

5. Is Blindness in children common? Is it preventable?

Nearly 5 million children in the world today are visually handicapped out of which 1.5 million are blind. Out of this, 1 million live in Asia. It is also really disheartening to note that nearly 50% of this childhood blindness is preventable. Also alarming is the fact that the total cumulative blind years to be lived by these children would be approximately 75 million years.

6. Is it possible to test a child?s vision at home?

A very simple test that can be done at home, say around 3-6 months after birth, is the throwing of a torch light that is not too bright, from a distance 3-4 feet. Normally, any child will readily look at the indicating that everything is okay. The reflection of the light can be readily seen on the baby?s cornea (the central black round portion in the eye) right at the centre of both the eyes. In case there is any deviation of the eyes, this reflection will not be in the centre.

7. What are the other abnormalities to watch out for?

Any discharge or watering from the eyes within a month of birth is abnormal, as tears are not produced at such a young age. Besides, any deviation of the eye or abnormal alignments of the two eyes, difference in size between the 2 eyes, as well as any white opacity in the central black round area (cornea & Pupil) and intolerance to light must be watched our for. If a child goes very near the TV every time for viewing or if the books are held too close while reading, it is quite possible that the child does not see distant objects normally.

8. Are there any other childhood eye problems specific to this part of the world?

Our children are confined to small rooms in flats and classrooms, with very little opportunity for outdoor activity. This means that they are confined to mostly indoor activity, which is spent reading, watching TV or sitting in front of the computers or play stations. The working or viewing distances for the eyes are therefore short. Let us remember that the eyes are most relaxed more while viewing near objects. Naturally, therefore, we have to pay a price as symptoms of eyestrain namely pain in the eyes or headache along with watering of the eyes and blurring of vision have become very common indeed. We need to radically rethink and ensure that these children have adequate outdoor activity.

9. Do newborn babies have normal vision? What are the symptoms to look out for in infants?

Newborn babies are born Hypermetropic ? long sighted. They have a power defect of upto +2.50. This is because their eyeballs are small and grow longer only over a period of time. Although structural growth is significant in the first 3 years after birth, a functional vision of 6/6 is attained only around the age of 6 years. Colour vision too develops only around the age of 6 months.

Any discharge or watering from the eyes within a month of birth is pathological, as tears are not produced at such a yound age. Besides, any deviation of the eye, difference in size between the 2 eyes, as well as any white opacity in the central round area (cornea & Pupil) must be watched out for.

10. When is any eye check up routinely recommended?

A vision check up must be done at school entry for every child. This is because a defective vision in one or both eyes if not detected & corrected prior to the age of 8 years, may result in a permanent blunting of vision called Amblyopia or Lazy Eye. Personally feel that this screening is as important as any vaccination. An annual checkup is advisable after the age of 40 years, with more frequent checkups in Diabetics, if necessary, and in patients with other medical problems. Myopes too must have their eyes checked up periodically.

11. What is Diabetic Retinopathy? Can patients with Diabetic Retinopathy have normal vision?

This is a micro vascular abnormality detected in the retina of any patient with a long standing Diabetes, say abound 10-15 years. It must be remembered that it is the duration of Diabetes that is significant, however controlled the blood sugar may be. Yes, that?s the danger, as it is a silent disease that can be detected only by a thorough retinal examination. Visual impairment occurs only in the late stages. It is now recommended Diabetic must have a Retinal examination done. There is no cure as such but early detection & laser treatment does help control the damage preserve vision.

12. How are power defects of the eye corrected? Do exercises or medicines have any role?

Refractive errors Myopia (Short Sight), Hypermetropia (long sight)& Astigmatism (irregular curvature of the cornea) are corrected with Spectacles, Contact Lenses and by Refractive surgery or Laser. As these defects occur due to the abnormal length or curvature of the eyeball, medicines or eye exercises have no role. However, in certain eyestrains, vitamin supplements as well as yoga, meditation & other relaxation techniques do help.

13. What is Bird Flu?

Bird Flu also called avian influenza caused by H5N1 virus, is a contagious disease in birds/animals caused by certain viruses that infect birds.

The mild form is not fatal, but other form is highly pathogenic avian influenza, which is extremely contagious and fatal. Death can occur in 24hrs in birds.

14. What are the symptoms of Bird Flu?

Bird Flue symptoms in humans can be fever, cough, sore throat and muscle aches. Some may suffer from eye infections, Pneumonia, acute respiratory distress and other severe and life-threatening complications

15. What are the control measures and Spreading Tendency?

The most important control measures are rapid destruction of all infected or exposed birds, proper disposal of carcasses, and the quarantining and rigorous disinfections of farms. Clean hand thoroughly before and after all contact with items potentially contaminated with respiratory secretions or bird drops. Use gloves, mask and gown to avoid any direct contact. For eye protection use goggles or face shields.

Diseases can spreads from farm to farm. Large amounts of virus are present in bird droppings, contaminating dust and soil. Air can spread the disease from bird to bird, causing infection when the virus is inhaled. Contaminated equipment, vehicles, feed, cages or clothing especially shoes can carry the virus.

The virus can be killed by heat and or common disinfectants like Fomalin and Iodine compounds.

16. What are the human infection chances?

Human infection with H5N1 is very rare. But outbreaks can caused greatest concern for human health. It can further spread from human health. It can further spread from human to human if precautions not taken.

The pandemic can ve turn away but not sure, the viruses are highly unstable and their behaviour difficult to prediction.

If the virus mutates and combines with a human influenza virus, it could be spread through person-to-person transmission in the same way the ordinary human flu virus is spread The major line of defense is to reduce opportunities for human exposure to the infected birds flock/poultry/their droppings.

17. Is there any vaccination and treatment for the Bird Flu?

There is no vaccine effective against H5N1 in humans. WHO had made the plans. Presently available vaccines used for birds, poultry farm to stop spreading to human being.

There is treatment / drugs available for prevention and treatment (Anti-Viral medicines), if diagnosed in time.

18. What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by hepatitis A virus.

19. How is hepatitis A virus transmitted?

Hepatitis A virus is spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A. This type of transmission is called "fecal-oral." For this reason, the virus is more easily spread in areas where there are poor sanitary conditions or where good personal hygiene is not observed.

Most infections result from contact with a household member or sex partner who has hepatitis A. Casual contact, as in the usual office, factory, or school setting, does not spread the virus.

20. What are the signs and symptoms of hepatitis A?

Persons with hepatitis A virus infection may not have any signs or symptoms of the disease. Older persons are more likely to have symptoms than children. If symptoms are present, they usually occur abruptly and may include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Symptoms usually last less than 2 months; a few persons are ill for as long as 6 months. The average incubation period for hepatitis A is 28 days (range: 15–50 days).

21. If you've had hepatitis A in the past, can you get it again?

No. Once you recover from hepatitis A you develop antibodies that provide life-long protection from future infections. After recovering from hepatitis A, you will never get it again and you cannot transmit the virus to others.

22. How do you know if you have hepatitis A?

A blood test (IgM anti-HAV) is needed to diagnose hepatitis A. Talk to your doctor or someone from your local health department if you suspect that you have been exposed to hepatitis A or any type of viral hepatitis.

23. How can you prevent hepatitis A?

Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing or eating food.

Two products are used to prevent hepatitis A virus infection: immune globulin and hepatitis A vaccine. 1. Immune globulin is a preparation of antibodies that can be given before exposure for short-term protection against hepatitis A and for persons who have already been exposed to hepatitis A virus. Immune globulin must be given within 2 weeks after exposure to hepatitis A virus for maximum protection. 2. Hepatitis A vaccine has been licensed in the United States for use in persons 12 months of age and older. The vaccine is recommended (before exposure to hepatitis A virus) for persons who are more likely to get hepatitis A virus infection or is more likely to get seriously ill if they do get hepatitis A. The vaccines currently licensed in the United States are HAVRIX® (manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline) for persons 2 years of age and older and VAQTA® (manufactured by Merck & Co., Inc) for persons 12 months of age and older.