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Dr K K Aggarwal

Water Hygiene

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Safe water is an essential commodity for prevention of most water- and food-borne diseases, like diarrhea, typhoid and jaundice. These diseases are 100% preventable. All of them can be potentially life-threatening if not prevented, diagnosed or treated in time. Transmission of parasitic infections can also occur with contaminated water. Here are a few tips:

  • Travelers should avoid consuming tap water.
  • Avoid ice made from tap water.
  • Avoid any food rinsed in tap water.
  • Chlorination kills most bacterial and viral pathogens.
  • Chlorination does not kill Giardia cysts.
  • Chlorination does not kill amoeba cysts.
  • Chlorination does not kill Cryptosporidium.
  • Boiled/treated/bottled water is safe.
  • Carbonated drinks, wine and drinks made with boiled water are safe.
  • Freezing does not kill the organisms that cause diarrhea. Ice in drinks is not safe unless it has been made from adequately boiled or filtered water.
  • Alcohol does not sterilize water or ice. Mixed drinks may still be contaminated.
  • Hot tea and coffee are the best alternates to boiled water.
  • Bottled drinks should be requested without ice and should be drunk from the bottle with a straw rather than with a glass.
  • Boiling water for 3 minutes followed by cooling to room temperature will kill bacteria and parasites.
  • Adding two drops of 5% sodium hydrochloride (bleach) to quarter of water (1 liter) will kill most bacteria in 30 minutes.
  • Adding 5 drops of tincture of iodine to a quarter of water (1 liter) will kill bacteria within 30 minutes.

Signs of Spiritual Awakening

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • More experiences of telepathy
  • More experiences of reverse telepathy
  • More spontaneous fulfillment of desires
  • Increased tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen. Work done with the least effort.
  • Change in the nature, more smiling, laughter and thankful nature.
  • Feelings of being connected with others and nature.
  • Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experience.
  • Ability to enjoy each moment.
  • Living in the present.
  • Loss of worry.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of interest in judging others and self.
  • Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return.
  • Quality of converting an adversity into opportunity.
  • Dislike for drugs, smoke and excess of alcohol.
  • Happiness in doing random acts of kindness.
  • Looking for good in every one.

Food poisoning with rice dishes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Staph and Bacillus cereus can cause acute food poisoning within 6 hours of ingestion of food. B. cereus is likely when rice is the culprit.

  • B. cereus is able to persist in food processing environments due to its ability to survive at extreme temperatures as well as its ability to form biofilms and spores.
  • B. cereus has been recovered from a wide range of foods, including rice, dairy products, spices, bean sprouts and other vegetables.
  • Fried rice is an important cause of emetic-type food poisoning associated with B. cereus.
  • The organism is frequently present in uncooked rice, and heat-resistant spores may survive cooking.
  • Cooked rice, subsequently at room temperature, can allow vegetative forms to multiply. The heat-stable toxin that is produced can survive brief heating such as stir frying.
  • Two distinct types of toxin-mediated food poisoning are caused by B. cereus, characterized by either diarrhea or vomiting, depending on which toxin is involved. The diarrheal toxin is produced by vegetative cells in the small intestine after ingestion of either bacilli or spores. The emetic toxin is ingested directly from contaminated food. Both toxins cause disease within 24 hours of ingestion.
  • The emetic syndrome is caused by direct ingestion of the toxin.
  • The number of viable spores and vegetative bacteria that produce diarrheal toxin is reduced by heating, although spores associated with emetic toxin are capable of surviving heat processing.
  • Cereulide is heat stable and resistant to gastric conditions.
  • The ingested toxin itself may therefore cause disease despite sufficient heating to kill B. cereus.
  • The emetic syndrome is characterized by abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. Diarrhea also occurs in about one-third of individuals. Symptom onset is usually within one to five hours of ingestion, but it can also occur within half an hour and up to six hours after ingestion of contaminated food.
  • Symptoms usually resolve in 6 to 24 hours.
  • Rice-based dishes, in particular, have been implicated in emetic toxin-mediated disease, usually as a result of cooling fried rice dishes overnight at room temperature followed by reheating the next day.
  • The infective dose of cereulide required to cause symptoms is 8 to 10 micrograms per kilogram of body weight.

Positive Attitudes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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All those out there who feel you are at your wits’ end wondering how things don’t ever work out for you, can now relax and dwell on all those failures that life has taken you through and turn failure into success.

  1. Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure. But it does mean you haven’t succeeded yet.
  2. Failure doesn’t mean you have accomplished nothing. It does mean you have learned something.
  3. Failure doesn’t mean you have been foolish. It does mean you had a lot of faith.
  4. Failure doesn’t mean you’ve been discouraged. It does mean you were willing to try.
  5. Failure doesn’t mean you don’t know what to do. It does mean you have to do it in a different way.
  6. Failure doesn’t mean you are inferior. It does mean you are not perfect.
  7. Failure doesn’t mean you have wasted your life. It does mean you have a reason to start afresh.
  8. Failure doesn’t mean you should give up. It does mean you must try harder.
  9. Failure doesn’t mean you’ll never make it. It does mean it will take a little longer.
  10. Failure doesn’t mean God has abandoned you. It does mean God has a better idea.

Poor hygiene may lead to typhoid fever

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Typhoid fever is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi and is transmitted through the ingestion of food or drink that has been contaminated by the feces or urine of infected people. Flying insects feeding on feces may occasionally transfer the bacteria through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions.

Though the cases occur round the year, more cases are seen during the summer and rainy seasons.

Symptoms usually develop 1-3 weeks after exposure, and may be mild or severe. They include high fever, malaise, headache, constipation or diarrhea and enlarged spleen and liver. A healthy carrier state may follow acute illness.

It can be treated with antibiotics. However, resistance to common antimicrobials is widespread. Healthy carriers should be excluded from handling food.

Sanitation and hygiene are the critical measures that can be taken to prevent typhoid.

Few salient facts about typhoid fever

  • Typhoid does not affect animals and therefore transmission is only from human to human.
  • Typhoid can only spread in environments where human feces or urine are able to come into contact with food or drinking water.
  • Careful food preparation and washing of hands are crucial to preventing typhoid.
  • Typhoid fever, in most cases, is not fatal.
  • Prompt treatment of the disease with antibiotics reduces the case-fatality rate to approximately 1%.
  • When untreated, typhoid fever persists for 3 weeks to a month.
  • Resistance to common antibiotics is now common.
  • Typhoid that is resistant to common antibiotics is known as multidrug-resistant (MDR) typhoid.
  • Ciprofloxacin resistance is an increasing problem, especially in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
  • Azithromycin is a new drug for drug-resistant typhoid.
  • Typhoid vaccine taken every 3 years is the best preventive approach.

The Science Behind Bhabhuti and Ash

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Lord Shiva is known to have Bhabhuti on his skin. Many people believe that Ash or Bhabhuti reminds one that the human body is perishable and will be converted into Ash ultimately after the death of the physical body.

But there is also another meaning behind this mythological ritual of applying Ash onto the body.

Fire in mythology means the fire of knowledge, knowledge about the true self-consciousness. Knowing about true self is obstructed by negative thoughts, animal tendency, egoistic vanities and foolish attachments.

Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha and Ahankara fall into the same category. Burning negative tendency, animal behavior, ego and attachment into the fire of knowledge is what spirituality is. Once you burn your negative tendencies in the fire of knowledge, the resultant Ash or Bhabhuti which is to be ingested as the Prasad is what Rishi Munis gave to their seekers.

Rishis are different from Pandits as Pandits are the ones who have knowledge but may not have spiritual experiences.

Rishi Munis have both the knowledge and the personal experiences. The Rishi Munis are the ones who have learnt to burn their negative tendencies and ego into an Ash and help their followers in turn to burn their negative tendencies.

The Ash given to their seekers is a constant reminder that the seekers need to burn their negative tendencies and convert them into the same Ash.

Expressive writing can relieve stress

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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One can significantly boost mental and physical health by spending 30 minutes each day for four days to write out the innermost thoughts and feelings.

This so-called expressive writing requires only pen and a paper.

In expressive writing therapy, patients are encouraged to express whatever is on their mind, letting their hopes and fears flow out in a natural, unrestrained way. It is like keeping a journal, but more focused on the things that might be bothering one or triggering stress.

Understanding exact speech

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Upanishads, Yoga sutras of Patanjali and teachings of Gautam Buddha, all talk about “the right speech”. As per Gautam Buddha, the right speech has three components:

  • It should be based on truthfulness.
  • It should be necessary.
  • It should be kind.

All three have to be in the same sequence with truthfulness taking the top ranking. For example, when a patient asks a doctor, “Am I going to die in the next few weeks or will I survive longer?” The truth may be that he is serious enough and may not survive but it is not necessary to speak the truth and also it is not kind. Therefore, that truth should not be spoken.

Lord Krishna in Mahabharata explained when not to speak the truth and when to speak a lie. The truth which is going to harm the society may not be spoken and a lie which can save the life of a person without harming others may be spoken.

  • A truth which is necessary and kind may be spoken.
  • A truth which is not necessary but kind may not be spoken.
  • A truth which is necessary but not kind may not be spoken.
  • A truth which is neither necessary nor kind may not be spoken.

Four of the best exercises you can ever do

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Swimming. It is a perfect exercise. Swimming is good for individuals with arthritis because it’s less weight-bearing.
  • Strength training. Lifting light weights won’t bulk up your muscles, but it will keep them strong. If you don’t use muscles, they will lose their strength over time.
  • Walking. Walking is simple yet powerful. It can help you stay trim, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure in check, lift your mood and lower your risk for diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Kegel exercises. These exercises won’t help you look better, but they do something just as important — strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder. Strong pelvic floor muscles can go a long way toward preventing incontinence. While many women are familiar with these exercises, they can benefit men too.

To do a Kegel exercise correctly, squeeze and release the muscles you would use to stop urination or prevent you from passing gas. Alternate quick squeezes and releases with longer contractions that you hold for 10 seconds, and then release for 10 seconds. Work up to three sets of 10–15 Kegel exercises each day.

(Source: Harvard HealthBeat)

Think positive and think different

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The mantra to acquire spiritual health is to think positive and differently. When you think positive, it creates positive hormones and takes you from sympathetic mode to parasympathetic mode. When you think different, it gives you opportunities and from multiple options available, you can ask your heart to choose one of them.

Thinking positive was a message given by Lord Buddha and thinking different by Adi Shankaracharya.

The candle light march for justice in the Jessica Lal murder case has been picked up by most of the protest campaigns because it was positive and different.

I have seen three examples in my life where I used this approach of thinking positively and thinking differently, which prolonged the life of those persons. My grandfather-in-law at the age of 85 thought it is time to go but when we made him work positively and differently, he die at the age of 100 years. He was asked to teach youngsters law, write to the Prime Minister every day on certain issues and find matrimonial matches for the youngest persons in the family.

In other two cases, one was suffering from terminal prostate cancer and the other terminal brain cancer. The first one lived for ten years as did the other person.

Both were told that they had a very early cancer and that was cured by a surgery.

When you think different, it creates creativity and when it is with positive attitude, it is accepted by all.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

Guidelines about Eating

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Eat only when you are hungry.
  • Do not eat for pleasure, social obligations or emotional satisfaction.
  • Eat slowly.
  • Eat less; dinner less than lunch.
  • Take small mouthfuls each time; chew each morsel well, swallow it and only then take the next morsel.
  • Do not eat while watching television, driving a car or watching sports events. The mind is absorbed in these activities and one does not know what and how much one has eaten.
  • Do not talk while eating and never enter into heated arguments. The stomach has ears and can listen to your conversation. It will accordingly send signals to the mind and heart.
  • Plan and decide in advance what and how much food you will be eating.
  • Use low fat or skimmed mild dairy products. Use oils which are liquid at room temperature for cooking.
  • Do not take red meat and if you are a non-vegetarian, you may take poultry meat or fish.

What are three great sentences of importance other than mahavakyas?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya Jivo Brahmaiva Na Aparah – Brahman only exists truly, the world is false, and the individual soul is Brahman only and no other.
  • Ekam evadvitiyam brahma – Brahman is one, without a second (There is one absolute reality, without any secondary parts).
  • Sarvam khalvidam brahma – all of this is brahman.

Women Beware of Heart Disease

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Cardiovascular disease is very common in women. The warning signals of heart attack include:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

However, women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Pain in one or both arms.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Sweating.
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • Unusual fatigue.

In the presence of any of the above, one should not wait for more than five minutes and get to a hospital right away.

More than 80% of cardiac events in women can be prevented by modifying diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.

Negative thoughts are absence of positive thoughts

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Darkness cannot be removed physically; it can only be removed by switching light or going into sunlight or lighting fire. Similarly, negative thoughts are absence of positive thoughts.

In Bhagavad Gita also, it has been said that the period of Uttarayana with longer days, the first half at full moon, in the presence of light or agni, one acquires more positive thoughts as compared in Dakshinayana before Amavasya or no moon or in absence of light.

Bhagavad Gita also says that whatever you think the whole life, you think at the time of death and if at the time of death you have positive thoughts, you are likely to get Moksha. That may be the reason why in Hindu mythology it is said that just before the death, we should light a diya or chant in front of agni (fire) so that dying person’s thoughts become positive.

In computer language, it can be explained as follows: When you open a file repeatedly, it becomes a priority file and comes in search engine on priority as compared to other files.

Sangat and smoking

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Sewa, Simran and Sangat are the three principles of life as per the Vedic literature. Even Adi Shankaracharya described Sangat as the main force for living a spiritual life.

Sangat is the company of people you live with. Living in the company of good people makes one good and the reverse is also true.

The same is now being proved in the allopathic context. A research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that when one person quits smoking, then others are likely to follow. One person quitting can cause a ripple effect, making others more likely to kick the habit.

  1. If your spouse stops smoking, youre 67% less likely to continue smoking.
  2. If your friend kicks the habit, its about 36% less likely that youll be smoking.
  3. When a sibling gives up cigarettes, your risk of smoking decreases by 25%.
  4. Your risk of smoking drops by 34% if a co-worker in a small office quits smoking. Its sort of like watching dominoes. If one falls, it very quickly causes others to fall.

People should be treated in groups, rather than as individuals. Friends and family need to be involved. If you want to quit, try to get close friends and family to quit as well.

Quitting smoking may have the side benefit of improving social well-being, just as it improves physical health.