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Festive season: Top tips for responsible travel

We all love to travel and see new places. But then COVID-19 hit us and we were home bound. Things are easing now. However, we still need to be sensible travellers

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Source: Artem Kniaz on Unsplash

Travelling can be an amazing experience and provide memories of the fun times and days of relaxation. But when you leave familiar surroundings behind and travel to a place that is different from where you stay, the first thing that strikes you is the extreme contrast in almost everything.

People, climate, sights, sounds, streets, and even the sky and the moon look different. Though it becomes a race to take in as much of the new experiences as possible in a comparatively short time, in this mad rush don’t fall victim to a range of pitfalls that can be avoided with a little bit of common sense and precautions.

First

If you are travelling to a place where there is sunshine, remember to take precautions against sunburn and dehydration. Carry sunblock and drink water wherever you go. Carry a bottle of water. To keep the humidity at bay, wear a hat and sunglasses.

Second

If you are going to a place where there is a beach, watch out for jellyfish stings and other similar hazards. If you are at a deserted beach where the sea appears calm, think twice. Some areas have strong undercurrents that just might prove dangerous. Always get enough information from local authorities about the best and safest places to swim or go for a hike.

Third

Eating out is exciting. You get to eat different dishes. It’s natural to want to try everything. Remember that you are away from your hotel. Carry toilet tissue with you. Most restaurants don’t have them. Even a salad or iced drink can make you double over. Avoid salads and ice unless you’re sure of the source. Make sure you carry generic medication recommended by your doctor. Drinking from the tap is a strict no-no.

Four

Mosquito repellents and bug sprays are a must when travelling. Try and stay indoors during late evenings when the mosquitoes swarm around. Shut doors and windows or use screens if they are available.  You’ll be better off in the hilly areas where you get to enjoy all the benefits of tropical countries without the hassle of blood-sucking insects.

Five

Make sure you get up to date information about seasonal viruses that are about at your tropical destination. Get authentic information about occasional health hazards such as bird flu, dengue fever, or other epidemics that may be making the rounds.

Six

Read up on the place you intend to visit. Have an idea of what to expect, local customs, and food habits. It will help you relax and you can enjoy the vacation. Get to know the locals and gain an understanding of their way of life and culture; it will enrich your experience.

But don’t abandon your caution. Watch out for pickpockets and petty crime. Never pull out money in public. Always keep small change in separate pockets for easy access.

But not everyone plans a vacation during vacation. Many stay at home and celebrate the festivities with family and friends. But that doesn’t mean that you will not take precautions. With the deadly second wave of COVID-19 earlier in the year and a third one possibly looming large, it is indeed necessary to celebrate festivities cautiously.

Although Government and health officials have established rules to prevent the spread of virus during the festivals, we must exercise self-discipline.

Safety first

You should participate in the festival responsibly and follow safety regulations. Spend the holidays with their families in the privacy of their homes. Avoid crowded places. Wear a mask at all times when going out.

Sanitise hands regularly. When we talk about safety, we limit it to social distancing and overlooking the surface and air hygiene aspect marred by the presence of garbage, contaminated and stagnant water and insects. Be careful of everything around you.

Cleanliness

Love our home but when it comes to the cleanliness we falter. When the festive season approaches, cleaning the house becomes a challenge. Using home cleaning and disinfection services to make the house safe and clean is quite simple and hassle-free nowadays.

Calling in professionals and getting them to disinfect the entire house is an excellent method to ensure that all your tasks are completed on time. Professional disinfection services can play a crucial part in eliminating all or most microorganisms, thus ensuring your home is entirely safe and protected from germs, especially during festive days.

Keep pests away

We are aware of how pests can be a big nuisance. They are unsanitary. Cleaning entails not only the washing and dry cleaning of carpets, windows and the entire house but also pests. When visitors come home, it is embarrassing to see pests like cockroaches and mosquitoes around.

Moreover, the festive season is also the peak time for unwanted insects such as houseflies and dung flies that can spread disease through food and surfaces. Bites and stings can also be caused by flies and mosquitoes leading to diseases.

Breath clean air

Good indoor air quality is critical for maintaining a healthy and comfortable environment at home. People today spend about 90 per cent of their time indoors, exposing them to indoor air contaminants for extended periods of time.

Cooking preparations, fragrances, air fresheners, and cleaning products, waste and rubbish, body odours, scents from candles and incense, paints and varnishes, and building dampness can all cause chemical compounds to be released into the air, resulting in indoor air pollution.

With stubble burning hanging over our heads, it is better to be prepared in advance. Poor indoor air quality can increase the risk of disease transmission from viruses, bacteria, molds, fungi and other allergens.

Protecting children, the elderly and pets, as well as people with allergies or compromised immune systems, requires good indoor air quality at home. It is important to have good ventilation. It can help to recirculate the air in the home. There are many clean air devices that can eliminate dangerous airborne pollutants.

Personal hygiene

Precautions will come to naught if you don’t maintain personal hygiene. Taking good care of our body is extremely important to avoid many illnesses. Always wash hands before you start cooking. Wash all the veggies properly. Eat while the food is hot and choose freshly cooked food made in clean utensils.

If you are eating out, see if the food stall is clean. Watch the staff. See if they wash their hands after handling money or other dirty things before serving food. Look out for pests. Don’t eat at places with poor hygiene.

Social distancing

It is important to maintain social distancing. Avoiding large family gatherings and crowds. It can help protect you and your loved ones. You never know if the individual you’re interacting with is virus-free.

Festivities are a time for fun and cheer and it is easy to forget about the ongoing pandemic. The same is true if one is travelling. Let’s celebrate this festive season in a clean and hygienic environment and ensure to keep yourself and your family safe. We will get many more festivals to celebrate if we follow COVID-19 protocols!

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Lifestyle

What you need to know about Transient Ischaemic Attack

Winter is here. Therefore, it is important to diagnose Transient Ischaemic Attacks. This can help to identify a patient who is at risk for subsequent stroke and prevent the same

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Transient Ischaemic Attack
Source: @Oklahoma Heart Hospital

An episode of stroke in any family is devastating. The sad part is that it can result in premature death and lifelong disability. In India, the incidence rate of stroke is estimated to be 119-145 per lakh. This means that there are 1.44 to 1.64 million cases of strokes annually. Unfortunately, when we do not heed the warning signs of stroke, we end up becoming victims of this devastating episode.

One such sign is a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) or a mini-stroke. The risk of stroke in the first three months after a TIA is 2-17%. About 33% of those with a history of TIA have a major stroke within a year if not treated. Hence, it is important to raise awareness about TIA so we can alert ourselves regarding the subsequent stroke.

TIA cause

When the blood flow to the brain cuts off for a short while (less than 5 minutes) it causes transient neurological symptoms. This is similar to observed in stroke but is rapidly reversible. This is known as TIA. TIA is also referred to as mini-stroke because it is like a miniature version of a full-blown stroke. It causes less damage but it sure needs emergency care without delay.

The difference

When an artery that is supplying blood to the brain gets blocked due to a blood clot, it causes oxygen starvation resulting in TIA. In a TIA, such a temporary clog is generally pushed along and is broken down. The normal flow of blood to the brain returns quickly.

Symptoms of a TIA usually subside within an hour (typically less than 15 minutes) but may last up to 24 hours in some cases. In an ischemic stroke, the brain goes oxygen-deprived for a longer period. This causes more damage and brings long-lasting effects that can be fatal and cause permanent disability or death.

Risk

Apart from the risks that are not under our control like age and family history, generally, women have a higher risk of stroke/TIA than men. Obesity, carotid artery disease, high BP, high cholesterol, Diabetes, and preexisting heart conditions are also found to increase the odds of stroke/TIA. Excess smoking, alcohol consumption, eating foods high in cholesterol, and using drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine and heroin can increase the risk.

Symptoms

We must attempt to remember the term FAST — Face, Arms, Speech, Time. These are seen if a person is having a TIA. These include:

The facial droop may be observed where the eyes or mouth may droop to one side. One may also experience trouble smiling.

Problems related to speech such as slurred, garbled, or difficult to understand. Also, one may find it difficult to gather the right words.

Weakness or numbness of limbs may be experienced.

There might be trouble lifting or holding up the arms.

One may also notice balance and coordination related troubles, blindness or transient blurring of vision, inability to move one side of the body, dizziness, confusion, and difficulties in understanding others.

Changes to make

After knowing about TIA, it is important to make efforts to have a better lifestyle and adopt preventive measures to reduce the risk of experiencing a TIA/stroke. These include:

  • Quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to second-hand smoke from tobacco.
  • Eating a healthy and nutritious diet that includes a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Having a check on the excessive intake of salt and fats
  • Exercising regularly
  • Keeping away from recreational drugs.
  • Maintaining ideal body weight.

Following the advice of the specialist and or timely treatment plan for heart disease, Diabetes and other health conditions can go a long way in managing TIA. A person can live a healthy life for a long time.

Management

Diagnosis is generally established through a full body physical examination. Neurological tests and various imaging techniques (MRI, Angiography), medications like blood-thinners, anti-cholesterol medications with or without the use of minimally invasive procedures (carotid angioplasty/stenting) and surgical procedures (Carotid endarterectomy) may be advised depending upon the severity of TIA.

When the symptoms of a TIA strike one should get medical help immediately. It must be remembered that there is a lot of uncertainty about whether the blood flow will restore on its own or not. It is impossible to predict if one is having a TIA or stroke because the symptoms are more or less the same. Given the present pandemic, it can lead to blood clots in the vessels supplying the brain. This can subsequently progress to TIA and stroke.

Disclaimer: The article is meant only to create awareness among the people. For any treatment one must always consult a qualified and certified health professional.

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Lifestyle

Top 5 online learning tools for your children

Today, parents re looking for overall development of their child. Let’s look at some of the tools that can help sharpen the child’s mind

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Learning Tools
Source: @Pew Research Center

Technology has really changed the way we learn today. From a face-to-face tutor to a tutor online to offline classes to online, technology is playing a big role in the education sector. It is providing them with various opportunities.

Not only this, the benefits of e-learning are tremendous. For this reason alone, there has been an exponential boost in the use of online learning platforms.

Learning becomes interesting if the learner enjoys the process. There are many learning tools that make this process effective. E-learning platforms enhance children’s education. It helps them to engage with edutainment videos, fun-packed kits, innovative teaching, and several practical co-curricular activities.

These online courses have an attractive design, suitable graphics, animations, clear instructions and easy language that makes learning fun. The companies provide flexibility to the kids. They can learn at their own pace. Kids are rewarded once they compete in quizzes or chapters. This motivates them to study without outside pressure.

Let’s look at a few such companies.

Class Monitor

It is an Indore-based ed-tech start-up. It caters to today’s needs and provides world-class, comfortable home-based learning. This is an interactive way for early learners in India (0-8). Early childhood development is vital for developing socio-emotional skills. The firm offers fun-packed kits that let you play, teach and bond with your children.

The start-up provides effectively-researched early childhood education programmes blended with traditional and modern learning techniques. It focuses on developing your child fundamentally. It focuses on five core areas: Linguistic skills, logical thinking, sensory and motor skills, cognitive skills, and creativity. The firm’s hybrid early childhood programmes connect real-life learning experiences and hands-on activities with an app designed to help strengthen your children’s learning.

Flintoclass

It’s considered to be a market leader in early childhood education. It transforms homes and classrooms into interesting collaborative activity spaces. The company has innovated the early education industry. It follows the e-commerce subscription model. All learning products and tools are intensively researched. The research center works with parents and early childhood teachers to create an ecosystem conducive to realising each child’s true potential.

Kutuki

It is one of the first early learning apps in India. It uses proprietary stories and song-based lessons to appeal to the youngest students. This interactive app aims to change the minds of young people by creating contextual and multilingual content.

This makes it easy for parents and children to identify with. With over 1 lakh-plus user and over 130 kindergarten subscribers, the firm is entering tier I, II, and III with its regional language content.

Kangaroo Kids

It is an online preschool that balances learning and development suitable for children 2 to 6 years old. Its programme aims to help young children develop critical skills in literacy, emotional intelligence, and social and physical development. The goal is to provide children with a safe and well-structured learning environment. This allows them to develop in a fun and exciting way.

They can explore their curiosity and learn at their own pace. Its unique curriculum helps children learn in a friendly environment while giving parents peace of mind.

Ocky Pocky

It is one of the first interactive English learning apps for preschool children. It has been created by Whizkids in India. It uses Artificial Intelligence/natural learning processes to help children meet their English learning needs. It provides feedback and allows children to build an early vocabulary base through voice, video, and vernacular. It is primarily for non-English speaking families.

Remember, a child learns the most in his first five years of age. In the first five years, experiences and relationships stimulate children’s development, creating millions of connections in their brains. A child’s brain develops connections faster in the first five years than at any other time.

It is therefore important to give the child the best that there is so that he has an all-around development. It will help him get the edge that this competitive world needs today.

Disclaimer: There are several other such platforms in the market today. The attempt here is to introduce a few of them and not to be considered as gospel truth.  Parents can choose whatever is best for their children.

 

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Job Portal

Looking to get recruited? Here are 5 newage technologies for recruitment

There are a few companies that are using newer technological advancements that can be used to solve hiring issues.

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Recruitment

The present pandemic has made it tough for everybody looking for a job or for a fresher to get hired. It is just as tough for recruiters looking for the right man for the right job. But there are a few companies that are using newer technological advancements that can be used to solve hiring issues.

It is not just the people who are looking for jobs that find it tough to match their skills with the job. Even recruiters are constantly looking for skilled people to match the job description. Therefore, sourcing and acquiring top talent has always been essential and involves a lot of time and cost for the companies.

However, now, newer technological advancements have made it possible for recruiters in making better hiring decisions and thereby breaking the chain of traditional methods of recruiting. These technological innovations are helping recruiters to plan their hiring processes better and provide the best-fit candidates for the required roles. Several start-ups are using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Analytics to meet the needs of companies.

Artificial Intelligence is one of the most disruptive technologies today. Its potential to evolve and enable innovations is now being leveraged by several industries across the globe, HR is no exception. Integration of AI is aimed at making life easier. This allows HRs to play an increasingly strategic role.

Here are 5 platforms that are leveraging technology to simplify the HR processes.

GetWork

This is a SaaS-based HRTech and EdTech platform. The idea is to democratise job opportunities and empower college placement cells in Tier II and III cities in India. It is a technologically advanced two-way marketplace. It trains students and gives universities access to companies and startups. It connects corporates to over 18,000 placements cells across colleges and private institutes.

Today, there are several challenges. There is also a huge skill gap in students. The challenges faced by talent acquisition and campus recruiters make it tough to hire the right people. GetWork founders managed to recognise the potential of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to build this company as a solution and scale it up through college placement cells.

ReferHire

It was started in 2016. In the last five-six years, it has managed to create a peer-to-peer (P2P) networking platform. It brings together organisations and those seeking new career opportunities on one platform. The Delhi-based firm aims at building transparency and efficiency.

The entire process involves hiring the right candidate. Once the user identifies the companies they are interested in, the firm starts introducing them to peers in those organisations so that they can look out for an opportunity.

iXceed Solutions

This is a talent and workforce solutions services company. It is a service provider to Fortune 500 companies. It primarily focuses on these domains globally: Technology, IT consulting and Engineering Consulting.

The company uses Artificial Intelligence-based recruitment solutions. It creates an in-class experience for both clients and candidates. Its list of clients is impressive and hence those looking for a change in their job or freshers looking to get recruited should at least come here to check out the options. Some of their clients are: Infosys, HCL, Oracle, Mindtree and NIIT.

InCruiter

This was established in 2018. It is an online recruitment platform based on SAAS in the B2B space. It provides an online recruitment marketplace for recruitment agencies and independent recruiters to speed up the hiring process 10 times.

The platform connects specialised recruiters. They have the best track records for matching jobs. Multiple agencies working on a single job with a single point of contact makes hiring fast and efficient. This enables employers to hire accurately. It also saves them cost and time.

The firm helps in finding companies with the best candidates in the shortest time without any hassle of phone calls, emails, invoices, and agreements from multiple vendors.

Instahyre

This is another Delhi-based HR-tech start-up. It is an advanced hiring platform that uses Artificial Intelligence. This means that recruiters can hire top talent effortlessly. Getting the talent and the employer on the same page has never been an easy task.

This is so true in the present scenario of innovation and competition. With revamped technology, it is easy to find a suitable job or suitable candidate. Finding jobs or source talents has become much easier with the help of this firm.

There are several other companies that are in the business of hiring and recruitment. The idea here is to just give a sneak peek into a few of them and not to be considered as a rule of thumb.

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