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‘Inactive’ ingredients in most pills may cause allergic reactions: Study

The Kashmir Monitor

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A vast majority of the most frequently prescribed medications contain at least one ingredient capable of causing an adverse allergic reaction, a US study has found. Known as inactive ingredients, these components are added to improve the taste, shelf-life, absorption and other characteristics of a pill, but the researchers found that more than 90 per cent of all oral medications tested contained at least one ingredient that can cause allergic or gastrointestinal symptoms in sensitive individuals.
Such ingredients include lactose, peanut oil, gluten and chemical dyes, scientists said. “When you’re a clinician, the last thing you want to do is prescribe a medication that could cause an adverse reaction or allergic reaction in a patient,” said C Giovanni Traverso, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
“This project was inspired by a real-life incident where a patient with Celiac disease was prescribed a medication and the formulation of the pill they picked up from the pharmacy had gluten in it,” Traverso said. “We wanted to understand the problem and drill down to characterise the entire universe of inactive ingredients across thousands of drugs,” he said.
Researchers analysed data on the inactive ingredients found in 42,052 oral medications that contained more than 354,597 inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients are defined as substances that are added to a pill’s formulation but are not intended or expected to have a direct biological or therapeutic effect. Although such ingredients have been tested for safety at the population level, scattered case reports have suggested that inactive ingredients may cause adverse reactions in individuals who have allergies or intolerances.
“There are hundreds of different versions of pills or capsules that deliver the same medication using a different combination of inactive ingredients,” said Daniel Reker, a postdoctoral fellow at MIT. “This highlights how convoluted the possible choices of inactive ingredients are, but also suggests that there is a largely untapped opportunity today to specifically select the most appropriate version of a medication for a patient with unusual sensitivities,” Reker said.
The team found a total of 38 inactive ingredients that have been described in the literature to cause allergic symptoms after oral exposure. Researchers reported that 92.8 per cent of the medications they analysed contained at least one of these inactive ingredients. The team found that inactive ingredients can cause an adverse reaction through an allergy or an intolerance. It is unclear what amount of an ingredient is necessary to trigger a reaction in sensitive individuals — the content of lactose in a medication, for instance, may be too low to cause a reaction in many patients, except for those with severe lactose intolerance or those taking many medications containing lactose.
“While we call these ingredients ‘inactive,’ in many cases, they are not. While the doses may be low, we don’t know what the threshold is for individuals to react in the majority of instances,” said Traverso. “This pushes us to think about precision care and about the role for regulation and legislation when it comes to labelling medications that contain an ingredient that may cause an adverse reaction,” he said.


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Health

Natural Remedies for Prickly Heat Rashes

The Kashmir Monitor

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When summer strikes and you sweat more than usual, it’s not unlikely for prickly heat to show up. Also known as milaria rubra, this condition is characterized by small and raised red spots that itch like crazy. Because the primary cause of prickly heat is blockage of the sweat glands, it can occur practically everywhere provided that there are sweat glands present. However, it is more common on the chest, back, thighs, neck and forehead.
These are some tried-and-tested effective home remedies for prickly heat so you may quit scratching:
Ice Cubes: A quick and simple way to attain prickly heat relief is by gently rubbing ice cubes on those trouble spots. The cooling effect helps deal with the itchiness as well as reduces the appearance of those tiny bumps.
Oatmeal: Add a cup of raw oatmeal to your cool bath water. Immerse yourself there for 15 minutes to pacify those itchy red spots as well as make your body feel cool amidst the summer heat.
Baking Soda: Instead of oatmeal, you may add a cup of baking soda in your cool bathwater and soak in it. It’s also possible to simply dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of cold water, and apply the solution on prickly heat with a soft cloth.
Cornstarch: Using cornstarch just like baby powder is an effective way to attain instant relief from prickly heat itchiness. You may also add a few drops of water into a tablespoon of cornstarch to come up with a paste that you may daub on those red spots.
Aloe Vera: If you have aloe vera in your garden, there’s no need to look further. Simply break a leaf and apply the gel on those itchy bumps. Allow it to stay there for a few minutes and hit the shower.
Neem Oil: Margosa or neem oil has antibacterial properties. Applying it on problem spots can help deal with the itchiness you are facing as well as prevent further irritation.
Sandalwood Powder: A lot of commercially available prickly heat powders contain sandalwood powder. Boost its healing effect by mixing equal amounts of it with coriander powder and rosewater. Apply the paste on those annoying rashes and rinse once dry.
Fuller’s Earth: A staple ingredient in so many beauty products, fuller’s earth is an excellent prickly heat remedy. Add 2 tablespoons of rosewater to 4 tablespoons of it. Mix and daub the paste on those red bumps. Wash off with water once dry.
Banyan Tree Barks: Applying powdered banyan tree barks on affected areas allows effective relief from itchiness prickly heat brings.
Citrus Fruit Juice: The consumption of orange, lemon or lime juice helps refresh you during those hot summer days. Thanks to the loads of vitamin C necessary for skin health, drinking citrus fruit juice accelerates the healing of prickly heat.
Pick an all-natural prickly heat solution that you find easy and convenient. It won’t take long before you are ready to resume your summer enjoyment.

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Health

Don’t Miss Out On These 7 Skincare Hacks This Summer

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As exciting the beach holidays and summer trips might look, they have their downsides too. High temperatures, dust, dirt, pollution and of course, the summer sun can all take a toll on your skin. Ultraviolet rays of the sun can be very harmful for your skin. Apart from causing skin tanning, they can also cause sunburns and various other skin ailments. So here are some simple yet effective summer skin care hacks by dermatologist Dr Nivedita Dadu, that can protect your skin from tanning this summer.
Summer skincare hacks you must follow

  1. Hydrate yourself: It is very important to hydrate yourself by drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water throughout the day. Along with this, you can also drink fresh juices, lime water, coconut water and chilled smoothies too. Proper hydration is very important in summer as you tend to lose out on a lot of water from the body while sweating. This can make your skin look dull and dehydrated.
  2. Never forget your sunscreen: Ultraviolet rays can be really harmful to your skin thus, it is very important to safeguard your skin with a sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied even when indoors. Choose a sunscreen according to your skin type and ensure that it penetrates into your skin nicely.
  3. Eat healthy: Eating healthy is very important for your skin and body. Consume more fruits like watermelon, muskmelon, berries, canary melon and litchis that shall ensure that your body and skin remain hydrated and healthy. Lack of proper skincare can result in fewer antioxidants in the body, which can damage cells and cause skin ageing.
  4. Avoid makeup: Avoid applying makeup on your skin as much as possible as it shall eventually result in clogged pores and breakouts. Even if you are applying makeup, always ensure that you don’t miss out on your moisturiser and primer. Also, always remove your makeup before going to bed.
  5. Sleep properly: It is essential to sleep properly as the body releases growth hormones during sleep. These growth hormones help the skin to repair itself. Proper sleep also helps you have a glowing skin. People who don’t take enough sleep or have erratic lifestyles with unhealthy sleeping cycles tend to have dull skin. Proper sleep ensures that your skin is in a resting motion, which eventually results in faster cell regeneration.
  6. Cleanse your skin thoroughly: Cleansing your skin properly is a very crucial step during summers. The sweat, dust and sunscreen, if congested on the skin for a long period of time, can result in blocked pores and breakouts. Therefore, it is important to clean your skin nicely every day.
  7. Avoid hot showers: Hot showers can be dangerous for the skin. Hot water damages the skin by stripping off the natural oils. This leads to dry, red and unhealthy skin. Therefore, go for showers with cold water as they can make you feel fresh and re-energised.
    (Dr. Nivedita Dadu, Dermatologist and Derma surgeon, Dr. Dadu’s Clinic)

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Health

Office workers who sit a lot need to exercise

The Kashmir Monitor

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Office workers who sit for long periods of time can reverse the health risks of their modern sedentary lifestyle by exercising just 20 minutes per day, a new study revealed.
Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the University of Sydney-led collaboration with the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the UK’s Loughborough University examined the health consequences associated with sitting, reports Xinhua news agency.
By statistically modelling physical activity and sitting against the death records of nearly 150,000 study participants aged 45 years and over, the study found “physical activity is particularly important for people who sit a lot”.
“Reducing sitting would be a good start but is not enough,” lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, from the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health said.
“In our study, sitting time was associated consistently with both overall premature mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality in the least physically active groups – those doing under 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week.
“But one hour of physical activity per day is not necessary. Meeting the Australian public health recommendation of 150 to 300 minutes per week — equivalent to around 20-40 minutes per day on average — appeared to eliminate sitting risks,” Stamatakis added.
With many public health professionals growing increasingly concerned about the health risks associated with sitting, Stamatakis hopes the findings of the study will act as a wake-up call to office workers leading sedentary lifestyles who don’t get enough exercise.

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