Amid concerns about the third wave of Covid-19, the onset of September has quietly heralded the grand festive season of the year. With the outdoor celebrations requiring observation of Covid-appropriate behaviour, people must also not let their guards down in their home settings and indoor spaces. So with safety necessarily being the watch-word during upcoming celebrations, whether outdoor or indoors, listed are five healthcare items that people must ensure they have in their homes in the coming weeks and months for any possible emergency. A tip would be to buy them in advance to avoid facing any shortage and high costs later. An assortment of measurement devices: A regular thermometer, and preferably a digital infrared one, is indispensable in people's homes. After all, a temperature check is one of the first measures that we unfailingly take to not only for Covid-19 but also for any other illnesses or disorders. Then particularly with respect to Covid-19 as also other respiratory conditions, a pulse oximeter to keep a track of our oxygen levels must also become an essential in our healthcare toolkit at home. High quality masks: High quality masks are our first line of defence against the dreaded virus. With their ability to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets from one person to another and thereby enabling containment of the infection, a mask is a key prerequisite for our upcoming celebrations, even indoors. One can look for high quality SMS-material masks which are usually four-layered and can keep the finest of particles at bay. Additionally, the ear loop of the mask which can be anti-allergic and adjustable for comfort during long wears. Choose a free-size mask that is washable for a reasonable number of times. A ready stockpile of nutraceuticals and supplements: To strengthen our immune systems, a ready repository of different nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, multivitamins and minerals comes handy. These could range from vitamin D to vitamin C supplements to micronutrients in the form of chewable zinc tablets and omega-3 supplements. While lack of Vitamin D has been long associated with respiratory issues, vitamin C is critical for the health of white blood cells which help fight infections. Similarly, while Omega 3's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and other benefits are fairly well known, zinc, too, has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant functions, critical to the fight against Covid-19. However, the dosage and quantity of these supplements must be decided in consultation with a practitioner. Steamers/vaporisers: Although experts have expressed doubt over the efficacy of steaming inhalations in curing the coronavirus, these inhalations have often been cited as a home remedy for common cold, stuffy nose, blocked air passages and other similar respiratory conditions. So, despite not being useful in treatment of Covid-19 in absolute sense, the impact on nasal passages and respiratory airways in a Covid case requires that we keep these steaming devices ready at hand in our homes. At the very least, these would go some way in relieving congestion and blockage in upper respiratory tract, which in turn could ward off compounding of respiratory woes in a Covid patient. The incoming winter bringing in with its common cold, flu etc further makes it necessary that we have these steaming devices at home regardless of Covid-19. Oxygen Concentrators: Wising up by the experiences during the second wave when hospitals had struggled to maintain uninterrupted supplies of medical oxygen, having oxygen concentrators at home would go a long way in bolstering our Covid-19 preparedness during the incoming festivities. Knowing full well how oxygen saturation can drop to dangerous levels on account of Covid-19, the presence of these devices can not only stabilize a patient in case of an emergency, but can also serve as a ready source of life-saving oxygen within the confines of a home. Because they are self-sufficient units constantly turning out medical oxygen from the ambient air while filtering out nitrogen, they need not be replenished as is the case with oxygen cylinders at hospitals. However, people should know that these machines are useful only for moderate Covid cases and patients with oxygen saturation levels below 90 must require hospital admission. Importantly, they are also useful for other respiratory disorders such as COPD and asthma, all of which could be aggravated owing to the excessive playfulness and physical activities during the celebrations. Welcome the festive season with caution and care by keeping these five items at home.
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