According to reports, "tomato flu" is detected in children in Tamil Nadu's neighbouring State, Kerala. In a bid to stop the mysterious flu from spreading to Tamil Nadu, a medical team is carrying out tests on those entering Coimbatore for fever, rashes and other illness at Walayar checkpost on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border. But what is this new flu and what are its symptoms? Let's find out.

Over 80 children below five years of age in Kollam district in Kerala are suffering from what is called "tomato flu", an unidentified fever. What is of concern is that the number from this rare viral infection is predicted to go up.


Infected children experience skin irritation, and develop huge red blisters on different parts of the body, and hence the name "tomato flu." They feel dehydrated and run a high temperature. It is said that the symptoms of the tomato flu are very much like in a chikungunya infection.

Besides a high fever, skin irritation and blisters, the symptoms of the tomato flu include fatigue, body ache, swelling in joints, coughing, sneezing, and runny nose. Some children reportedly experience abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea. With the cause of the fever still not known, parents should exercise caution. As of now, there is no specific medicine to treat this fever.


*Consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

*Drink a lot of boiled-and-chilled water to stay hydrated.

*Stay indoors and take ample rest.

*Keep yourself isolated and avoid close contact with family members, as this infection is likely to spread from person to person.

Do not scratch the blisters as it may spread the infection.

Last but not least, maintain hygiene.

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Include these locally-available foods that are rich in fibre, antioxidants, essential vitamins, minerls and healthy fats in your diet.


 Few can resist the joy of eating a gooseberry preserved in brine. Offering a delicious mix of salty, sour and sweet after tastes, the gooseberry has always had a place in our hearts. Had as pickles or plucked directly off the tree and eaten, this every-day berry has a number of health properties. It is a natural blood purifier, boosts immunity, helps in weight management and is good for the skin and hair. Next time you find gooseberries, make sure you eat them.


 Packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals, the moringa is a powerhouse of nutrients. Containing seven times more Vitamin C than oranges and 15 times more potassium than bananas, in addition to iron and amino acids, it helps build muscle and helps the body heal. Eat it as a simple curry or add it to a salad. You could even add moringa leaves to your pasta.


 The humble jackfruit is today celebrated for its multiple health benefits. It is considered more nutritious than other fruits because consuming a small cup of sliced jackfruit can give you carbohydrates, protein, fibre, Vitamin A and C, riboflavin, magnesium, pottassium. copper and manganese that your body needs. It helps prevent diseases, especially diabetes. You can eat it ripe or cook raw jackfruit into a stir-fry. Jackfruit is used to make chips, too, and its flour is now used to make cakes, biscuits and even papads.


Also known as finger millet, ragi is a cereal rich in protein and minerals. Known for its anti-microbial properties, ragi helps boost immunity and bone health. Ragi is also known for its ability to prevent cancer. Normally had as a porridge or dosa or steamed like an idli or mudde, ragi ncan be had in fancy forms too - it can be added to cookies, muffins, and even in cakes.


A rich source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, the banana flower helps in development of a healthy body and mind. It has the power to cure infections, too and aids digestion. If you don't want to have it as a traditional stir-fry, you could make an interesting salad out of it, by adding other vegetables or fruits, as the banana blossom can also be had raw.


 Many of us started consuming more of turmeric during the first wave of COVID-19. This is because turmeric can help build immunity against viral infections. It contains curcumin, a substance that helps reduce inflammation. In addition to turmeric's anti-spectic and anti-bacterial properties, it can also help relieve pain. So, next time you have your favourite curry, add an extra spoon of turmeric to it.

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Gardening has been around for as long as humans have been growing plants for their personal needs. Through the years, gardens have served not only as places to grow plants but as spaces for people to relax, to focus, and to connect with nature and each other.

Gardening can improve many aspects of mental health, focus, and concentration and also enhance the positive well-being of an individual. Some of the ways in which gardening helps include:

1. Enhancement of mood: Gardening can make you feel more peaceful and content. It enhances a positive mood and also helps in directing your attention towards immediate tasks and details of gardening that can reduce negative thoughts and feelings.

2. Self-esteem development or boost: Self-esteem is how much you value and feel positively about yourself. When you see your work pay off with healthy plants, your sense of pride gets a boost. Many people find a sense of purpose and meaning in looking after plants and feel that plants are like children that they are rearing.

3. Improves attention and concentration: Gardening can change how well you pay attention to any activity. If you struggle with staying focused on any task, gardening can help you learn to concentrate on what's right in front of you without getting distracted. The gardening process involves multi-tasking and improves co-ordination and attention to tasks and minute details.

4. Serves as a source of exercise: Weeding, digging and raking are good exercises. Regular exercise reduces anxiety, depression, and other mental issues, and can help prevent dementia. If you don't like going to the gym, gardening can be an enjoyable task to still get these benefits as it includes a lot of movement and lifting of plants and pots.

5. Promotes social bonding: Gardening with others at a community garden or as a family takes teamwork to achieve shared goals. Being part of a larger group can benefit your mental health by increasing your social connections and your support systems. Appreciation from others on gardening also enhances social interactions.

Gardening reminds us of our connection to nature, and helps us focus on the bigger picture, which can alleviate symptoms of depression. Also, the physical aspect of gardening releases feel-good chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. In short, working with soil makes us happier.

Flowers and ornamental plants increase levels of positive energy and help people feel secure and relaxed. Adding flowers to your home or work environment reduces your perceived stress levels and makes you feel more relaxed, secure and happy. Many flowers help filter out carbon dioxide pollution for oxygen (which helps keep us alive); they also eliminate chemical toxins (benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, etc.) and their effects found in our homes. Health professionals should therefore encourage their patients to make use of green spaces and to work in gardens, and should pressure local authorities to increase open spaces and the number of trees, thus also helping to counteract air pollution and climate change. Therapeutic gardens have been used in hospitals for many years, and were strongly supported by Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, as they improve the surroundings for patients, visitors and staff. Few complementary therapies have been convincingly shown to be effective, but gardening and nature, which are alternative therapies, offer a proven, cheap and nearly universally available means to improve a nation's health.

So, get a plant and enhance your mental health today!

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Care for a soft drink? Now, have you wondered how it was chilled? Dry ice is nothing but frozen carbon dioxide. It sublimates (turns to gas without first turning into a liquid) and that is why it's called dry ice.

There is no harm in cooling a drink with dry ice as long as it is food grade. It will turn to gas and though a little may get dissolved in the drink it won't poison you. Don't we drink soda? Soda is nothing but water that has carbon dioxide dissolved in it.

However one should not try to hold dry ice in the hand for too long. It is very, very cold (-78.5 degrees C) and it can cause a burn. For the same reason, one should not eat or swallow pieces of dry ice.

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Municipalities around the world have used chlorine to make water safe for drinking for decades. Chlorine kills deadly bacteria and viruses including those that cause life-threatening diseases like typhoid fever, dysentery and cholera.

Chlorination is not only the most effective way of making water safe for drinking; it is also the most economical method. Other methods like ozonation are far too expensive and far less effective.

The amount of chlorine used in the water treatment process is too small to pose any danger to health, even if the water smells of chlorine. However, chlorine reacts with organic matter in the water such as decaying leaves, and forms a group of chemicals known as disinfection by-products. The most common of these by-products are trihalomethanes (THMS) that include chloroform.

Some studies have found a link between long-term exposure to high levels of chlorination by-products and a higher risk of cancer.

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