The Holiday Season & Omicron: Be Mindful And Still Have Fun

  • 5 mins Read
  • Wellbeing
  • Self Care
  • Dr. Pramod Mane

It is once again that time of the year. The festive spirit is in the air, and everyone is busy either taking off for vacations, or getting together with family and friends. However, amidst the festivities, Omicron, the new Covid variant has reared its nasty head, causing a surge in cases worldwide. There is also concern about whether this new variant will be more contagious or be more severe than other variants. It also needs to be seen whether the existing Covid-19 vaccines will be effective against it.

While we wait for more data to emerge on the Omicron variant, it is imperative that we be more cautious about our health than ever before. Remember, when you are in the pink of your health, getting through life and even its difficulties is doable. Here’s how you can enter the New Year headstrong with a responsible approach towards your health.

Get yourself tested!

Many a times it so happens that we are utterly tired or easily fatigued by day-to-day tasks. We tend to think it the fatigue could be due to the fact that we did not get enough sleep, are under a lot of stress, or maybe because we didn’t eat well. But it hardly ever strikes us that we might be deficient in some trace elements, or have a health condition that might be making us feel so tired all the time.

Getting tested for various deficiencies and health conditions is a must to be well informed about our health status. Treating these problems is way easier when they are detected earlier. Watch out for these common deficiencies and take note of the corresponding tests that are used to detect them.

Iron deficiency

One of the most common deficiencies of all time, iron deficiency or anemia affects the oxygen-carrying capacity (hemoglobin) of the blood. This may cause tiredness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

Get a test: To detect an iron deficiency, a complete blood count (CBC) can be helpful.

Foods to eat: Consulting your doctor about your deficiency and including foods like beetroot, dates, dark green spinach in your diet can prove to be beneficial.

Vitamin B6 and B12 deficiency

Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause symptoms such as lightheadedness, tingling in the hands and feet, sores in the mouth, and rashes on the skin. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to tiredness, fatigue, pale skin, and vision problems.

Get a test: To detect these deficiencies, you will need to get a vitamin B complex profile test done. Vitamin B deficiencies, if not addressed, can develop into serious neurological and cardiovascular diseases.

Foods to eat: Consult your doctor start by including nutritious foods such as fish, clams, yogurt, milk, chicken, liver, etc in your diet.

Vitamin K deficiency

Deficiency of vitamin K can cause internal hemorrhages, easy tearing and bleeding from the skin, nosebleeds, bloody vomits due to internal bleeding, etc.

Get a test: To detect this deficiency, the diagnostic center will usually run the Prothrombin time (PT) test to check how much time it takes for your blood to clot.

Foods to eat: In case of Vitamin K deficiency, consult your doctor, and start including potassium-rich foods like bananas, tomatoes, shallots, eggs, leafy vegetables, etc.

Calcium deficiency

Calcium deficiency or hypokalemia can be distinguished by symptoms such as pain in the arms, limbs, and body muscles while moving, frequent cramps and spasms in the muscles, numbness or a tingling sensation in the arms and limbs.

Get a test: If your doctor suspects a calcium deficiency, they will ask you to take a Calcium blood test.

Foods to eat: Try to include cheese, yoghurt, sardines, cereals, milk, etc. in your diet to aid your condition along with proper treatment.

Iodine deficiency

Iodine is essential for the functioning of the thyroid gland. An iodine deficiency can cause symptoms such as intense fatigue, sudden change in weight, high cholesterol levels, puffy face, etc.

Get a test: If an iodine deficiency is suspected, the doctor might ask you to take an iodine blood test, urine test, and a thyroid hormone test. Prompt treatment is essential for an iodine deficiency as it affects the thyroid, heart, and liver directly.

Foods to eat: Some iodine-rich foods include iodine-fortified salt, codfish, eggs, shrimp, baked potatoes, beans, milk, etc.

Vitamin D deficiency

Muscle weakness, mood swings, bone pain, and fatigue are some of the symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency.

Get a test: If your doctor suspects a vitamin D deficiency, they might ask for a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test to get done. Once detected the doctor can start with the treatment.

Foods to eat: For Vitamin D deficiency, foods such as cheese, milk, eggs, tuna, yogurt, mushrooms might be helpful. Natural sunlight also plays an important role in vitamin D synthesis.

Magnesium deficiency

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include Cramps, tremors, twitches, weakness, loss of appetite, numbness, and tingling in the muscles. Severe deficiency can also cause changes in heart rhythms, personality changes, and seizures.

Get a test: In case of a magnesium deficiency or hypomagnesemia, the doctor might advise you to take a Magnesium deficiency test before starting with appropriate treatment.

Foods to eat: You can improve your magnesium levels with treatment and by including magnesium-rich foods in your diet such as pumpkin, almonds, spinach, cocoa, flaxseeds, cheese, etc.

Vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency may cause frequent skin infections or rashes on the skin. It is also notorious for causing eye-related problems such as dryness of the eyes, night-blindness.

Get a test: If a vitamin A deficiency is suspected, your doctor might ask you to undergo a Vitamin A test along with some antibody tests to understand the deficiency better.

Foods to eat: Some foods rich in vitamin A are spinach, papaya, carrots, black-eyed peas, cod-liver oil, broccoli, etc.

Zinc deficiency

Being deficient in zinc can lead to symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, unexplained weight loss, poor wound healing, slower growth, compromised immunity, and sexual maturation.

Get a test: If your doctor suspects a zinc deficiency they might ask you to get a blood test or urine test or both. As zinc is a trace element paying attention to its levels is important.

Foods to eat: Trying out some zinc-containing foods such as nuts, oysters, crabs, yogurt, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, mushrooms can help with zinc deficiency.

Vitamin C deficiency

Persistent low levels of vitamin C can cause a condition called scurvy. The symptoms include bleeding gums, easy bruising of the skin, red bumpy skin, fatigue, muscle pain, etc.

Get a test: To diagnose a vitamin C deficiency, a blood test is to be done to check your vitamin C levels.

Foods to eat: Foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, Brussel sprouts, grapefruit, peppers are rich in vitamin C and can help conquer vitamin C deficiency.

Get vaccinated!

They say prevention is better than cure. Vaccination is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family members against an array of diseases. Here are some vaccines that can help you and your family members stay safe in the coming year.

  1. Covid- 19 vaccine
  2. Hepatitis A and B vaccine
  3. HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine
  4. Tetanus vaccine
  5. Rabies vaccine
  6. Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis) vaccine
  7. Meningococcal vaccine
  8. Typhoid vaccine
  9. Cholera vaccine
  10. Yellow fever vaccine
  11. Polio vaccine
  12. MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine

With these points in mind, don’t forget the saying that health is the true wealth, and that it must be protected and flourished at all times. Be mindful of your actions, protect yourself and your loved ones from the harms of deficiencies and diseases by getting tested and vaccinated for the same. Have a happy and safe new year ahead!

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References:

Bailey R, et al. The epidemiology of global micronutrient deficiencies. Ann Nutr Metab. 2015;66 Suppl 2:22-33.

Recommended Vaccines for Adults at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/index.html