Kerala has shown a healthy growth in the field of health care. Testimony to this is the infant mortality rate which is generally considered an index to the quality of the physical life of the population. At 12 per thousand live births, Kerala's infant mortality rate is the lowest in the country, and can be attributed to the improvement in maternal and child health services.
When the state was formed it had 250 allopathic medical institutions; today there are 1,280 government medical institutions, an equation of almost one primary health centre in every panchayat. A network of 962 primary health centres and 5,094 sub-centres take care of the needs of the community.
The Director of Health Services supervises and coordinates field level programmes in health and family welfare, while the vaarious national and state health programmes are looked after by additional directors and deputy directors. Along with district medical officers, and programme officers at state and district levels for technical support, there is an efficient chain of action down the line.
race-mosus Var. javanicus
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Accidents, at least some of them, can either be
avoided or prevented if proper care is taken at
the appointed time. Millions of people are
involved in accidents in their homes, hostels,
factories, offices and institutions everyday.
These commonly include burns and scalds, cuts,
bruises and fractures. This section tells
you how to deal with such injuries and how they
can be prevented by checking potentially dangerous
is not medical treatment and you should not
compare what you can do with what a doctor would
do. What is required is common sense decisions
that should be in the injured person’s best
interest at the time. Do not do anything hazardous
or thoughtless that puts you in danger. Get the
casualty and yourself away from hazards as soon as
possible. Examine the casualty and check for
breathing, choking, bleeding ad consciousness.
Action on these can save life and get professional
help as soon as the life-saving is under way.
Reassure the injured person and keep him as happy
as possible under the circumstances. Combine
confidence with kindliness.
If it is
failing, give artificial respiration- MOUTH to
MOUTH or MOUTH to NOSE.
Artificial respiration is the breathing induced by
some manipulative technique when natural
respiration has ceased or is faltering. Such
techniques, if applied quickly and properly, can
prevent some deaths from drowning, choking,
strangulation, suffocation, carbon monoxide
poisoning and electric shock. Artificial
respiration consists chiefly of two actions:
(i) Establishing and maintaining an open air
passage from the upper respiratory tract (MOUTH,
THROAT, PHARYNX) to the lungs, and
(ii) exchanging air and carbon dioxide in the
terminal air sacs of the lungs while the heart is
The person, using MOUTH to MOUTH breathing, places
the victim on his back, clears his mouth of
foreign material and mucus, lifts the lower jaws
forward and upward to open the Air passage, places
his own mouth over the victim’s mouth in such a
way as to establish a leak proof seal, and clamps
the nostrils. He then alternately breaths into the
victim’s mouth and lifts his own mouth away,
permitting the victim to exhale. If the victim is
a child, the rescuer may also press gently on the
upper abdomen to aid exhalation. The rescuer
breathes 12 to 15 times each minute into the
There is another method in which the victim is
placed on a prone position (with Abdomen to the
ground) with head turned to one side and resting
on one hand. The rescuer kneels to the victim’s
head, facing him. He first rocks forward, pressing
with both hands on the victim’s back at the
level of the chest and then leaning backward ,
lifts the victim’s arms forward and upward. The
cycle is repeated 10 to 12 times a minute.
aid when breathing stopped
cheek against the person’s mouth and feel for
breaths. If breathing is not obvious, purse the
person’s lips and try cheek again. If breathing
has stopped, lie the person on the ground. See if
there is anything in his mouth (Vomit, false
teeth, foreign body etc.) that may be causing
obvious obstruction. If so, remove it and lie him
on his back. Pull the chin upwards so that the
person’s head is bent backwards. With your left
hand pull the chin up, push the top of his head
down with your right.This simple procedure opens
the airway at the back of the throat and he may
victim down and loosen the clothing around chest
and waist. Turn his head to one side. The legs may
be raised a little. Do not attempt to give him any
solids or liquids. On recovery, a small quantity
of a drink may be given. Afterwards, he may be
allowed to sit up and move after rest.
the bleeding and protect the victim’s wound.
Apply direct or indirect pressure. Cover the wound
with a dressing. Apply a pad and a firm bandage.
Keep the wound at an elevated position.
4. Nose Bleeding: Let
the victim sit up facing the breeze and the head
slightly forward. Ask him to breath through the
mouth and ask him not to blow the nose. Apply a
cold compress over the nose. The soft part of the
nose may be pinched close with the fingers for 10
minutes. Cold application on the back of the neck
and forehead may be helpful.
Burns & Scalds:
burn is caused by dry heat and a scald by moist
heat like steam, very hot water or oil. Cool the
affected area IMMEDIATELY with cold water for 15
minutes till pain subsides. Do not break blisters,
or apply anything on the burns. Cover the burn
with a sterile or clean cloth, pad and bandage.
Give him fluids.
IMMOBILISE it with a well padded stiff
support reaching the joints on either side. Apply
bandages on either side of the site and at the
joints on either side support.
Keep the victim calm. Wash the site with
plenty of water and soap. Do not rub hard. First
apply a constrictive bandage on the heart side of
the bite. Do not incise or attempt to suck the
wound. Get the victim medical aid as quickly as
possible. Try to identify the snake.
of unknown cause that results from the person
having too little insulin in his bloodstream. In
most cases, it can be controlled with diet and
tablets alone. In some cases the patient has to
take insulin for the rest of his life. Diabetics
can become very ill if they get the balance of
insulin, exercise and food intake wrong. The
trouble they get into is caused by too low a blood
sugar. If a diabetic shows signs of sweating,
trembling, tingling around the tongue and lips,
weakness, palpitation, hunger with nausea,
staggering as if drunk, uncharacteristic
behaviour, bad temper and yawning, what he needs
is a little sugar by mouth to make him better. If
he is conscious, help him to eat a couple of sugar
lumps or a teaspoonful of jam. Never force an
unconscious diabetic to eat or drink anything. In
that case, get him immediate medical aid.
Dysentery is a serious disease, yet it is a
preventable disease. If you take care, you can
save others a lot of worry, illness and trouble.
It is caused by swallowing dysentery germs. The
swallowed germs breed in the bowel and cause
diarrhea, tummy pains, vomiting and fever. If
anybody shows signs of dysentery, get him
immediate medical aid.
has dysentery in the house, others must take
precautionary measures. Food must be prepared only
after the hands are properly washed with soap and
running water. Hands must be washed before and
after handling food. Serve the food hot. Keep
friends and visitors away while the person is
still ill. Put all the infected person’s dirty
laundry into a plastic bin or bag apart from all
the rest of the family’s wash, and it must be
washed only after boiling it.
inflammation of the vocal chords in children. It
makes breathing difficult. Every breath is
accompanied by a high pitched croaking or crowing
noise. Croup is usually caused by a virus and,
therefore, can not be treated by antibiotics. It
can also be caused by whooping cough, diphtheria
and foreign bodies in the voice box. If the child
has any difficulty in breathing or if there is any
pulling of the lower end of the breastbone and
side ribs with each breath, he must be taken to a
doctor. As fear and tension may make the croup
worse, you have to reassure the child.
is a very common and unpleasant condition in
children, but rare in adults. It is usually caused
by bacteria spreading up from the nose and throat
via the tube that connects these areas to the ear.
The child will often have a cold for a few days
before the earache. The pain of earache may be
very severe and may be accompanied by a fever of
over 100 degree F.
child shows any signs of earache such as pulling
on the ear or if he has unexplained fever,
Vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite, he may
have a mild ear infection (otitis media). Give the
child a full dose of aspirin as directed for his
age on the pack and hold a warm hot water bottle
wrapped in a cloth against the affected ear.
infections in children are very serious. It needs
medical treatment and should not be ignored.
12. FLU: It
is a viral infection. The germs are spread in the
air and can infect someone else even if you do not
cough over him. It is worth taking care by
sneezing or coughing into a handkerchief. ‘Flu
is characterized by aching limbs and back,
shivering and a fever. Later sweating may be
profuse and your eyes may hurt as you move them.
There is nothing a doctor can do that you cannot
do yourself. So do not get your doctor in unless
you have a history of chest pain.
Go to bed at once, drink plenty of fluids and take
aspirin in the full reccommended dose to bring
down the fever and relieve the aches. After 3 or 4
days the worst of the symptoms will have gone, but
you may feel weak or depressed for weeks
13. Heart Burn : A
burning sensation behind the lower end of the
breast bone usually worst when lying down or
bending down. People with hiatus hernia suffer
from heartburn as do some pregnant women. Many of
us get it from time to time as a part of simple
indigestion. Persistent heartburn needs medical
investigation. Short lived heartburn can be
treated with indigestion tablets. A glass of milk
also helps, If ever you get heartburn, accompanied
by pain in the arm or neck, see your doctor as
soon as you can because a pain that is sometimes
indistinguishable from heartburn can be angina or
even a heart attack. Any heartburn that makes you
feel really ill as opposed to simply uncomfortable
needs medical attention.
common diseases, Asthma has the pride of place as
being a disease that is very common and at the
same time most distressing, and no system of
medicine is comfortable with it. The individual
has a vital role to play and has to be motivated
to help himself.
In Ayurveda, Asthma comes under the category of
respiratory diseases. The theory is based on the
concept of three doshas- vata, pita, and kapha.
One of these doshas or a combination of these
doshas may trigger off asthma. In amny cases it is
also a hereditary factor.
for your health
know you need at least eight glasses of water
daily to keep your system functioning eficiently.
But many of you hardly adhere to this quota and
end up facing various disorders like gas,
constipation etc. During summer, you need to be
extra cautious regarding to your water intake as
dehydration can trigger heat exhaustion and heat
stroke. This will raise your body temperature
leading to fatigue, dryskin,headaches and dark
urine. Drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
is known to dehydrate the body. So, even though
you are drinking sufficient water, a couple of
cups of coffee or a cola can undo its effects.
Therefore, experts advise that for every cup of
tea/coffee/cola you consume, drink an extra glass
everyone knows that drinking adequate water is
good for health. But most people do not know why
this is so and what exactly happens when the body
does not have adequate water. Upto 70% of the
total body weight is due to water.
had been an integral part of the treatment of
several diseases by the ancient Egyptians,
Hebrews, Greeks, Persians and Indians for several
centuries. The Chinese used water as a remedy
several centuries before Christ. The Japanese used
cold water for treatment of several diseases
almost 800 years ago. Hippocrates, father of
modern medicine, also used hot and cold water
successfully for management of diseases such as
fever, ulcers, bleeding in or outside the body.
is body water regulated ?
are three stages of water regulation of body at
different stages of life- before birth, between
birth and adolescence and in adulthood. Before
birth, the unborn baby sends signals to the
mother, if more water is required for its growth
and development, and the mother experiences the
effect. It is believed that morning sickness in
pregnant women is the first indication that the
unborn baby needs more water.
regulation efficiency of the body reaches its peak
by the age of 20 years. Subsequently, it gradually
declines through life. Thus the thirst sensation
gradually decreases as age advances. This is
perhaps why chronic `diseases such as arthritis,
high blood pressure etc that are also attributed
to inadequate intake of water are more common in
the older age group. The amount of tea, coffee,
alcohol, aerated drinks etc. you consume regularly
may also adversely affect the water regulation in
later life. The ratio of water content in and
outside the cells of the various organs is very
important. As age advances, water content in the
cells decreases. Since the water content in each
cell plays a vital role in maintaining its normal
function, inadequate water can lead to loss of
Why is water important for maintaining normal health?
function of the body is influenced by the flow of
water in the various organs. Adequate distribution
of water to all parts of the body ensures that
water and the chemical substances that it
transports (such as hormones, nutrients etc) first
reach the more important organs such as the brain,
heart, kidneys and lungs. Several organs secrete
chemical substances that act on distant parts of
the body. The important functions of water in the
body can be listed as follows:
- Water is
necessary for all chemical reactions in the
body. Just as water helps a seed grow into a
tree, it helps our body grow from birth to
- The flow of
water inside and outside the cells generates
energy. This energy is stored in the body
along with other chemical sources of energy in
- The energy
generated by the water in the cells helps
transmit impulses in the nerves.
- Water helps
formation of a glue like material that helps
the solid substances in the walls of the cells
to be ‘stuck’ to one another.
- It helps
transport the chemical substances produced by
the brain that carry its message to different
parts of the body
- Water content
in the body influences the functions of the
various proteins and enzymes that are
dissolved in it.
addition, it regulates body temperature and so
also removes ‘poisons’ or ‘toxins’ from
the body through urine, sweat and breathing. The
body loses about four litres of water every day.
It is, therefore, necessary to replenish this
volume by drinking at least the equivalent amount
of water every day. Inadequate intake of water can
lead to dehydration.
What is dehydration?
is excessive loss of water from the body. It
results in imbalance in sodium, potassium and
chloride levels. The common symptoms of
dehydration of the entire body include increased
thirst, loss of skin elasticity, dry skin,
decreased urine production, irritability and
are the indications of dehydration?
is an early indicator of inadequate water in the
entire body. Inadequate water in the body cells
can adversely affect their functioning. Chronic
pains and allergies are the most common symptoms
indicating limited functions of an organ due to
chronic dehydration of the affected organs.
What are the common health problems due to chronic dehydration?
of the health hazards due to chronic deprivation
of water to specific organs of the body are
Dyspepsia, Joint pains, Low backache, chest pain,
is the term used for a vague feeling of discomfort
in the stomach region soon after eating food. This
discomfort can be in the form of a feeling of
fullness, heartburn, bloating and nausea.
Dyspepsia is not a disease but a symptom
indicating that there is an underlying disease
such as ulcer in the stomach, diseases of the gall
bladder or chronic appendicitis
How does drinking more water prevent dyspepsia?
you drink a glass of water, especially on empty
stomach, it passes into the intestines immediately
and is absorbed into the body. After about one to
one-and-half hour, the absorbed wateris secreted
into the stomach through its inner layer and as a
result removes the excess salt deposits on it.
Thus the protective layer of water remains intact.
The acids, therefore, cannot penetrate the layer
and cause dyspepsia. This is why Nature Cure
recommends drinking water at least an hour before
can cure gastritis and heartburn just by
increasing the intake of water by about two and a
half litres of more water every day.
medical practitioners opine that pain in the
joints is one of the early indications of water
deficiency in the affected joints. All the ends of
the bone in a joint have a protective structure
have more water content as compared to the bones,
which are harder. The water in the cartilage helps
provide lubrication and thus enables the two ends
of the bone to glide one over the other very
freely. During this gliding motion, some cells die
and are peeled away. These dead cells are replaced
by new cells. When there is less water in the
cartilage, the lubrication is less. Then the
number of dead cells increases. Joint pain results
when the number of dead cells is more than the
number of new cells being produced.
shortage in the back bone can also lead to low
back pain. Joints in the backbone contain more
water in two areas- in the surface of the
cartilage near the backbones and in the centre of
the discs between the two backbones.
water near the cartilage surface provides
lubrication just as in the joints of the hands and
legs. The water in the disc supports almost 75% of
the weight of the upper part of the body that
tends to compress the discs. The tissues around
the discs support the remaining 25% of the upper
in the joints of the backbones is circulated
through periodic creation of a vacuum. Specific
exercises are normally recommended to strengthen
the muscles of the backbone and therefore reduces
the pain. This is because these exercises increase
the water circulation by drawing it in the vacuum
area. Drinking more water will not only maintain
normal content of the water in these joints but
also increase the efficiency of the
exercise-related water regulation in the discs.
is important to remember that appropriate and
regular exercises and posture are necessary for
preventing backache. Water mainly contributes to
the positive effects of exercises and correct
SOURCE: Health Update, Society for Health
Education and Learning Packages (HELP), D-31,
Defence Colony, New Delhi-110 024]
How is stone formed
in the kidney?
formation can occur in the kidneys, ureters,
liver, pancreas, salivery glands or in the uterus.
Stones formed are of varied shapes and sizes. The
stones formed in the kidneys and ureters are of
larger size. Stones are formed around a tiny
nucleus which is made up of some organic material.
Phosphates or oxalates of calcium, magnesium, or
amonia are accumulated around the nucleus , and
thus the formation of the stone takes place. One
of the reasons of stone formation is the excess of
these chemicals in urine.
Tea helps reduce danger of heart attacks
and black tea have long been credited with many
curative properties. The latest findings indicate
that tea drinkers show significantly lowerrisk of
heart attack compared to non-tea drinkers. This
may be due to the presence of flavonoids in tea,
which are antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize
free radicals in the body that can damage tissues,
cells and genes. Studies conducted earlier
regarding the benefits of green and black tea have
shown that they may play a vital role in
preventing cancer. According to the researchers in
the U.S, tea may reduce the risk of heart attack
in three ways- by inhibiting low density
lipoprotein cholesterol oxidation; by reducing
platelet aggregation (blood clotting) or by
reducing damage caused by a lack of oxygen to the
heart (ischemic damage)
'Anti-age' drug found
the first time, scientists have succeeded in
boosting an animal's life span with drugs.
Microscopic worms, given the therapy, lived nearly
50% longer than normal.
researchers say the experiments are the first real
indication that ageing can be treated. They
believe the drugs might be useful for combating
human diseases that strike in later life.
trials for disorders such as Alzheimer's disease
and Parkinson's could take place in the near
far as we know, this is the first convincing
example of drugs being used to extend life
span," said Dr Gordon Lithgow of the
University of Manchester, UK, who carried out the
research along with colleagues in the United
said the drugs had an anti-ageing effect on the
worms. "The treated worms appear youthful and
active at the same time as when the untreated
worms are showing the characteristics of old
age," he told BBC.
nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans was used in
the studies. This tiny creature has been studied
in the laboratory for many years. One of the first
living things to have its genetic blueprint
decoded, around 40% of the worm's genes are also
found in humans.
scientists added a cocktail of two synthetic drugs
to the medium in which the worms, when kept in the
laboratory, live and reproduce.
of the drugs are antioxidants. They mimic the
effect of natural enzymes that mop up free
radicals - highly reactive molecules that damage
given the drugs, the worms lived on average nearly
50% longer than normal. The reason, the scientists
believe, is that the drugs prevented free radical
experts say the research is interesting but must
be duplicated in creatures other than the worm.
idea that antioxidants might have an effect [on
ageing] has been around for quite a long
time," said Professor David White, director
of science at the Biotechnology and Biological
Sciences Research Council, UK, which is funding
research into the science of ageing.
seems to have a dramatic effect in worms," he
added. "Whether it will have the same effect
in other organisms will have to be
research is published in the journal, Science.