Home food or ‘ghar ka khana’ always holds a special place in people’s hearts, especially with hectic lifestyles of today. It is true that, in general, food prepared at home is healthier than outside food. But for home cooked food to be truly safe, it is necessary to follow certain basic guidelines with respect to storage and handling of food that need to be followed.

Here are some common myths that too many believe, especially when it comes to home kitchens.

Myth 1: “Food when refrigerated, is protected from cross-contamination and the temperature is too cold for germs to survive.”

Facts:
• There are categories of bacteria that survive and even breed in cool and moist physical environments like the refrigerator.
• Fresh stocks of vegetables and fruits must be stored separately from raw meat, poultry items, seafood and eggs.
• Clean refrigerator to prevent the risk of cross-contamination.

Myth 2: “I am a vegetarian, so I don’t need to worry about food poisoning.”

Facts:fruits-320136_1280
• Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but like other categories of foods, they too may carry risks of foodborne illnesses. So, don’t underestimate the importance of washing fruits and vegetables, along with skins, preferably under running tap water.

 

Myth 3: “Leftovers are safe until they smell bad.”

Facts:thali-51996_640
• Smell is not the sole indicator of whether food is safe to eat or not. There are bacteria that cause foodborne infections but do not affect taste, smell or appearance of food!
• Leftover foods need to be stored within an hour of cooking at below 5 degrees Celsius strictly. Before eating, food should be heated at above 80 degrees Celsius.
• GOLDEN RULE of food safety “When in doubt, throw it out” is applicable.

Myth 4: “Freezing food kills harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.”

Facts:
• Much to the contrary, bacteria can survive the most freezing temperatures! So, freezing is not a scientific method for making food safe enough to eat.
• After food has been thawed, there is a chance that bacteria might be present, and may begin to multiply too, as usual. Cooking food to the right internal temperature is recommended to kill harmful bacteria. Keep handy a thermometer to measure the temperature of cooked foods.

Myth 5: “If I microwave food, the microwaves kill the bacteria, so the food is absolutely safe!”

Facts:
• Microwaves themselves don’t kill bacteria. The heat generated by them kills the bacteria in foods.
• Microwave ovens do provide us with some advantages, but there is a possibility that foods may be cooked unevenly, if they are shaped irregularly or vary in thickness, among other factors. Techniques such as rotating and stirring the food during the cooking process, may help in some cases.
• Checking the temperature of microwaved foods with a food thermometer in and across several spots ensures total heating.

Some general guidelines for storage and handling of food:

• Wash fruits and vegetables – This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is something that is often not followed as diligently as it should be. Especially if you are using raw fruits and vegetables for salad or juice-making purposes, make sure you clean them thoroughly and discard any bruised or spoilt parts.
• Eat food as soon as it is cooked – Delay in consuming cooked food poses risks such as contamination, bacteria formation, loss of nutrients etc. The more the delay, the greater the risks. Ideally, consume food within four hours of preparation.
• Understand optimal cooking temperature – Different varieties of food require different temperature levels for cooking well. Use the right temperature to ensure food is completely and uniformly cooked.
• Storage – While storing food, raw ingredients must be segregated from cooked food. This prevents contamination. Containers should also be well-chosen, depending on the nature and varieties of food to be protected, and must be closed at all given times.
• Follow package instructions – For processed food follow storage and cooking instructions mentioned on the package, pay attention to expiry date. Also, from a nutritional perspective, it is best to limit heavily processed food.
• Hygiene – Hands must be washed regularly – both before and after serving food.The premises used for cooking should be meticulously cleaned and maintained, including the kitchen and storage area. Scraps of food crumbs and waste materials must be cleaned and disposed off aptly after cooking. Check the quality of water.

At Doorstep Health Services, the emphasis is on overall wellness as much as it is on curing illness. Write in to us at care@doorstephealth.in for any questions or queries.

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There are few things that scare people as much as the thought of being bitten by a snake. Roughly 46,000 people die of snakebites in India every year. But what’s really sad is the fact that most of these deaths are entirely avoidable. A snake bite is not as big a problem as the lack of awareness about how to treat it. The depiction of snakes in popular movies as well as mythology makes matters worse.

Immesnakediate medical attention is crucial, but here are a few handy tips on the first level of care that needs to be administered when someone is bitten by a snake.

1) Move the person beyond striking distance of the snake.
2) Keep the person calm and at rest, reassure him/her – Being bitten by a snake can be extremely terrifying, so it’s important to calm the victim down and reassure them
3) Wash the bitten area with soap and water to remove any venom on the skin.
4) The wound must be below the heart so that flow of blood from the area is reduced.
5) Remove any jewellery from the area that was bitten. Similarly, remove shoes if the leg or foot was bitten.
6) Immobilize the affected area by a splint.
7) Cover the wound with loose, sterile bandage
8) Manage for shock
9) Ensure an ambulance has been called. Transfer to hospital is absolutely essential

DO NOT
1. Try to catch the snake
2. Cut a bite wound
3. Attempt to suck out venom
4. Apply tourniquet, ice, or water
5. Give the person alcohol or caffeinated drinks or any other medications

Building awareness is key when it comes to mitigating the effects of snake bite to prevent death. Dedicated training programs to handle emergencies such as snake bites should be undertaken by corporates, residential societies, rural panchayats to help prevent avoidable deaths.

We, at Doorstep Health Services, have undertaken several training camps to help raise awareness on emergency care. Write to us at care@doorstephealth.in to know more.

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The response to this question depends, of course, on the situation and location for which the kit is being designed. For instance, the first aid kit designed for a factory/manufacturing unit will look very different from the one that required in an IT or retail environment.

Factors to consider

There is no ‘ideal’ first aid kit. First aid kits should be designed keeping in mind the likely risks that it needs to address; specific to the processes and occupational risks. It should also be equipped for disaster mitigation and for all human emergencies.

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Contents of the first aid kit

Ideally, there should be two levels of kits – one for the public and a more elaborate one for health care personnel. Of course, it must contain items for minor ailments such as cuts, fever etc., But most importantly, it MUST have simple life saving equipment such as a pressure dressing, a cervical collar, splints, blankets and such; depending on the hazards present in that location.

Training and accessibility

Just having the kits is not enough. It is equally important that the location of the kit must be very visible and accessible.

The first aid kit must NOT be under lock and key.

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Secondly, personnel should be trained in using the first aid kit. The India Factory Act, originally articulated in 1948 and later amended in the year 1987, states that extensive awareness needs to be created on how to use the contents of a kit amongst at least 10 percent of the employee base. Although, at Doorstep Health, our recommendation is at everyone should be trained on using the first aid kit. Why stop at ten percent?

Unfortunately, emergencies cannot be predicted; so being well-equipped to handle them can help contain the damage.

Write in to us at care@doorstephealth.in for a free list of basic first aid kit contents that every organisation must have. Doorstep Health Services also helps design customised first aid kits to meet the requirements of your organisation.

 

 

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We’ve all been there or seen it happen. Let’s take the case of a guy we can call Rajesh. He briefly fell unconscious at work the other day. He’s feeling fine now, but his wife is worried that there might be something wrong. She goes to a doctor who advises a battery of tests.

All tests appear normal, except for the eternally high lipids! Rajesh knows he needs to consult a doctor, but his hours are such that by the time he comes home, the clinics are closed. Leave is an issue because there is an upcoming client deliverable that is at a crucial stage. So, what does do? He just goes about his life till he has another health emergency. Unfortunately, this story is far too familiar.

With our busy schedules today, health (ours and our family’s), often takes a back seat till the point that it starts affecting our day-to-day lives. That is why, at Doorstep Health Services, our aim has always been to provide professional primary care and support services at your doorstep – when you want and where you want.

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Technology is essential to ensure that primary care is adequately integrated, through backward linkages to homes and offices and forward linkages to specialists and hospitals. It is the one tool that improves access and responsiveness of any healthcare organization. To this end we have a comprehensive telemedicine platform through which you can connect to us when you want and from wherever you are.

Good health is not just about the absence of disease or early diagnosis and treatment. Rather, it is about the physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing of an individual. Health and illness both start at home. It is about how we go about our daily lives, the food we eat, the work we do and even how we think!

So nutrition, exercise, rest and recreation need as much emphasis as the need to treat illness. These are areas in which we provide support-to corporates and communities.

At Doorstep Health Services, we promote a multipronged approach to healthcare that is centered around:

  • Encouraging Adherence to best practices around healthcare management
  • Emphasis on prevention through regular monitoring
  • Focus on food hygiene and quality
  • Making health management convenient
  • Community initiatives
  • Using technology as an advantage

As an organization that specializes in Professional, Primary Health Services, DHS works closely with individuals, communities and Corporations, and is thus better able to understand issues that affect our community.

Our Doorstep Health Services blog is a platform to talk about interesting insights on healthcare in India, share our expertise and offer useful tips on handling emergencies and day-to-day issues. We also hope to share our observations along the way and give readers an insight into our philosophy.

So, do read, subscribe, share our blog and feel free to chime in with your questions or comments.

Happy Blogging!

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