Doctors warn of hand sanitizer’s risks to children

News Network
August 7, 2021

Several experts and doctors from across the world have warned against the careless use of hand sanitizers by the children and urged the parents to be cautious.

A recent international study found that hand sanitisers harm and hurt children's eyes.
 
Last month, a four-year-old child in the UAE severely injured her eye after hand sanitizer from a foot-operated station was accidentally squirted directly into it. According to her parents, the accident occurred when the child playfully touched the hand sanitizer station at a public place while she stood directly under it.

The child was rushed to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, where doctors immediately washed the child's eye, administered antibiotics to prevent infection, and applied eye drops to reduce discomfort. She was diagnosed with a near-total corneal abrasion caused by the alcohol and alkaline chemical additives in the sanitiser.

Dr Razia Mele Vallopra, a specialist paediatrician at Prime Medical Centre Al Nahda, says it is now a common sight to see parents sanitising their children's hands multiple times during the 15 minutes inside her consultation room.

"Sanitisers is also being used on the hands of younger children lavishly. Dispensers are placed in prominent locations in public places like malls leading to unsupervised use by children," she said.

According to Dr Vallopra, many studies have proven that sanitisers with an alcohol content of less than 60 per cent are ineffective. The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorically states that washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is superior to using a hand sanitiser, he said.

"But the sanitisers are here to stay, mainly due to their portability and ease of application. As the percentage of alcohol increases, so does the side effects," said the health expert adding she was facing issues in his paediatric practise that were rare before the outbreak of Covid-19.

"Due to the drying effect of alcohol, several children developed dried and cracked skin which made them prone to picking up infections as the protective barrier of intact skin was lost," said Vallopra.

"Many children with previously diagnosed and controlled eczema developed flare-ups of their rashes. Unsupervised use of dispensers on pedestals have caused misdirected spray into the eyes leading to chemical burns."

She advised parents not to allow children to use hand sanitisers without supervision and to use the product in moderation.

"Take a small amount and spread all over the hands and wait for it to dry completely. Avoid ingestion and contact with eyes. Choose hand washing over sanitiser if the situation permits," she said.

Dr Prabhakar Patil, specialist paediatrics & neonatologist from Medcare Women & Children Hospital, says small children are especially susceptible to accidental ingestion of sanitisers as they come in many colourful shapes and sizes.

"As they are more curious, they tend to ingest them. Ingestion can lead to alcohol poisoning with symptoms like excessive sleepiness, low blood sugar, sometimes can lead to convulsions and coma. If sanitisers contain menthol, which is more toxic, it can lead to headache and sometimes blindness and damage to the central nervous system," he said.

"When the sanitiser accidentally touches eyes, it can lead to irritation, redness, blurring of vision, and sometimes chemical burns," he cautioned adding that families should always keep the sanitisers out of reach from children.

Dr Sandeep Kuchi, a paediatrics and neonatology specialist at Aster Hospital, says "rare health effects include coma, seizures, low sugars and respiratory depression."

"Although the use of hand sanitisers must continue, while it is one of the ways to contain the spread of the virus, as a parent, you must try and lessen its harmful impact on our children's health."

Dr Kuchi has advised parents to use soap and water over hand sanitisers with their children wherever possible.

He noted that recent research shows the number of cases due to chemical exposure incidents after excessive usage of sanitiser and adverse health effects has gone up by 8-10 per cent.

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News Network
October 15,2021

New Delhi, Oct 15: India has slipped to the 101st position in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021 of 116 countries, from its 2020 position of 94th and is behind its neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Eighteen countries, including China, Brazil and Kuwait, shared the top rank with a GHI score of less than five, the website of the Global Hunger Index that tracks hunger and malnutrition said on Thursday.

The report, prepared jointly by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe, termed the level of hunger in India "alarming".

In 2020, India was ranked 94th out of 107 countries. Now with 116 countries in the fray, it has dropped to 101st rank.

India's GHI score has also decelerated -- from 38.8 in 2000 to the range of 28.8 - 27.5 between 2012 and 2021.

The GHI score is calculated on four indicators --undernourishment; child wasting (the share of children under the age of five who are wasted i.e who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition); child stunting (children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition)  and child mortality (the mortality rate of children under the age of five).

The share of wasting among children in India rose from 17.1 per cent between 1998-2002 to 17.3 per cent between 2016-2020, according to the report.

"People have been severely hit by Covid-19 and by pandemic related restrictions in India, the country with the highest child wasting rate worldwide," the report said.

Neighbouring countries like Nepal (76), Bangladesh (76), Myanmar (71) and Pakistan (92) are also in the 'alarming' hunger category but have fared better at feeding their citizens than India, according to the report.

However, India has shown improvement in other indicators such as the under-5 mortality rate, prevalence of stunting among children and prevalence of undernourishment owing to inadequate food, the report said.

According to the report, the fight against hunger is dangerously off track. Based on the current GHI projections, the world as a whole -- and 47 countries in particular -- will fail to achieve a low level of hunger by 2030.

Food security is under assault on multiple fronts, it said, adding that worsening conflict, weather extremes associated with global climate change, and the economic and health challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic are all driving hunger.

"Inequality -- between regions, countries, districts, and communities -- is pervasive and, (if) left unchecked, will keep the world from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) mandate to “leave no one behind," the report said.

Further, the report noted that it is difficult to be optimistic in 2021 because the forces now driving hunger are overpowering good intentions and lofty goals.

Among the most powerful and toxic of these forces are conflict, climate change, and Covid-19—three Cs that threaten to wipe out any progress that has been made against hunger in recent years, it added. 

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News Network
October 16,2021

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British Member of Parliament David Amess, 69, has died after being stabbed several times during a meeting with his constituents at a church in eastern England. A 25-year-old suspect has been arrested.

Reports said a man walked into Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, south Essex, where Amess was holding a surgery with locals on Friday and attacked the politician.

“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene,” police said. “A 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.”

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police has said that the murder Amess has been declared as a “terrorist incident”, with the investigation being led by its Terrorism Command, the agency said in a statement posted on social media.

 Detectives said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident. There was no detail about the motivation for the attack but the chief constable of Essex police later said counterterrorism officers are leading the investigation.

“The investigation is in its very early stages and is being led by officers from the specialist counterterrorism command,” Ben-Julian Harrington told reporters.

“It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this is a terrorist incident.”

Colleagues from across parliament expressed their shock and sorrow and paid tribute to Amess, who held regular meetings with voters on the first and third Fridays of the month, saying he was diligent in his duties to his local area. Amess leaves behind a wife and five children.

Flags in Downing Street were lowered in tribute.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he and his cabinet were “deeply shocked and heart-stricken”.

“David was a man who believed passionately in this country and in its future, and we’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague,” Johnson said.

The prime minister would not say whether the attack meant politicians needed tighter security, saying, “We must really leave the police to get on with their investigation.”

Amess has been a member of parliament for Southend West, which includes Leigh-on-Sea, since 1997, but has been a lawmaker since 1983.

He was a well-liked member of parliament, best known for his ceaseless campaign to have Southend declared a city.

His website lists his main interests as “animal welfare and pro-life issues”.

Violence against British politicians is rare, but two other British lawmakers have been attacked this century during their “surgeries”, regular meetings where constituents can present concerns and complaints.

In June 2016, Labour Party lawmaker Jo Cox was fatally stabbed and shot in her northern England constituency. A member of the far right was convicted of her murder.

In 2010, Labour lawmaker Stephen Timms survived a stabbing in his constituency office.

Jacqui Smith, chair of the Jo Cox Foundation, said in a statement on Twitter that Amess’s death is a “tragic loss for those who knew and loved Sir David”.

“I knew him as a generous and dedicated colleague in Parliament. Public life must be safe for those we ask to serve in our democracy – that is a responsibility for us all.”

Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer said on Twitter that David was a “dedicated public servant”.

“Informed by his faith, David had a profound sense of duty, that I witnessed first hand in parliament,” Starmer said.

“We will show once more that violence, intimidation and threats to our democracy will never prevail over the tireless commitment of public servants simply doing their jobs.”

Chris Doyle, the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding – who knew both Amess and Cox – said that the killing of Amess would have a “chilling effect on British politics – the way in which you get that vital interchange between an elected member of parliament, part of the legislature, and the constituents that they represent.”

“There are 650 British MPs that will now be thinking ‘that could have been me’,” he said.

“They will be looking over their shoulders, they will be thinking ‘how can we improve our security. But above all of course the main sentiment is for David’s family and friends – to have lost him in such a way is just beyond belief.”

British lawmakers are protected by armed police when they are inside Parliament, but have no such protection in their constituencies. Amess published the times and locations of his open meetings with constituents on his website.

“Questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country’s elected representatives and I will provide updates in due course,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Friday. 

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News Network
October 11,2021

Bengaluru, Oct 11: Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday said Rahul Gandhi should take up the responsibility of the Congress president and lead the party as early as possible in view of Sonia Gandhi not keeping well.

"I have suggested to Rahul ji that he should become the president of the All India Congress Committee," Siddaramaiah told reporters here on the sidelines of a function.

"It is not that Sonia ji is incapable of discharging her duties of the president. Sonia ji is not keeping good health. That is why I suggested Rahul ji to take over as early as possible," he added.

To a question on shortage of coal in Karnataka, the Congress stalwart said the Centre has already clarified that there was no shortage.

He also opined that Karnataka does not require so much of coal when renewable energy is abundantly available in the state.

Siddaramaiah said the Centre has already made it clear that there is no shortage of coal in the country. "In Karnataka also, according to my information, there is no scarcity of coal. If the government says that there is a scarcity, then it is an artificial scarcity, according to me, because so much coal is not required for production of power," the former Chief Minister said.

"There is hydel power, wind and solar power available. Hence, so much coal based power is not required," he explained.

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