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5 Hacks to Try When You Next Feel Anxious

5 Hacks to Try When You Next Feel Anxious


Those who know, know. That unpleasant heaviness in the chest, the racing heart, the butterflies in the stomach, and at its worst, panic attacks. Anxiety and anxiety disorders can be a heavy burden to carry and often the journey to healing can be long. 

What’s the difference between feeling anxious and having an anxiety disorder?

Almost everyone feels anxious from time to time: before a job interview, meeting an important client, a first date. Anxiety is a remnant of our ancient fight or flight response – alerting us to danger and prepping the body to either fight or run from the rabid sabre tooth tiger that’s about to attack us. 

Anxiety is normal when:

  • experienced in response to a particular event
  • lasting only as long as that event
  • is proportional to that event 
  • is a realistic response to the event 

It is when anxiety becomes an overwhelming constant, arising without reason, is disproportionately larger than the problem warrants or refuses to disappear after the event is over that it becomes a mental health disorder. 

How does anxiety differ from stress?

Whilst stemming from the same fight or flight response, stress is different to anxiety.

  • Stress doesn’t change the way you behave whilst anxiety causes you to avoid activities that cause anxiety.
  • Stress finishes with the event, anxiety can remain long after the event is over.
  • The same situation can make a lot of people feel stressed whereas others may not feel anxious in the same situation.
  • Stress can be pinpointed to an event but anxiety can occur outside of external events.
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How does anxiety differ from worry?

Anxiety is both a mental and physical response whilst worry is predominantly within the mind. This is why overwhelming anxiety can result in panic attacks where the body prepares itself physically to battle a real danger. 

Shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, sweating, shaking or trembling (and on the flip side indigestion) are all common experiences connected to the activation of the sympathetic nervous system for fight or flight. 

5 hacks to calm anxiety when it rears its ugly head

Part of the therapeutic response to anxiety is to activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system so the physiological responses start to calm down. 

Here are 5 quick hacks to try out the next time you feel anxious!


1. Breathing exercises

A sign of an anxiety attack is short rapid breathing. By forcing yourself to take long, deep breaths you allow the vagus nerve to activate which tells the body that there is no real immediate danger. 

Two easy techniques to remember are:

  • The box breath (inhale 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, exhale 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds) and
  • The diaphragmatic breathing (inhale 5 seconds, hold 7 seconds, exhale 8 seconds). 

2. Tapping

A rapid heartbeat is a common symptom so tapping at a regular slow interval over the heart or middle of the forehead, wrist, chin or upper lip combined with deep breathing helps slow the heart rate. 

3. Label your feelings

Sometimes the physiological reactions can creep up on you when you are doing the most mundane tasks and you may need to actively recognise your thoughts to pinpoint the origin of the anxiety. Once you have identified that you are feeling anxious, it may help to label that feeling verbally, “I am feeling anxious” or “I am feeling fear”. Once labelled, you may often find the feeling dissipates rapidly. 

4. Challenge your thoughts

A quick question to ask yourself when entertaining thoughts that promote anxiety is “is this thought true?” and “is this thought helpful?”. Often anxiety arises as we entertain “what if” thoughts that disassociate us from reality. Asking is it true or helpful helps us discard untrue or unhelpful thoughts. 

5. Anchor to reality

By engaging our senses we become aware of the current reality in the world around us. Helping us control not just our thoughts but the physiological responses to those thoughts. To use the senses during an anxious episode, name five objects in the room around you or close your eyes and try to identify five sounds. To use the sense of touch, pet your dog or outline the shape of an object with your fingers. 

Whilst these hacks may help you through occasional episodes, if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed regularly, it may be more helpful to speak with a mental health professional on oDoc from the comfort & privacy of your home. To consult, please download the oDoc app here


  1. Anxiety Signs & Symptoms, Mind UK
  2. Breathing exercises for stress,
  3. What is EFT tapping?
  4. Anchoring yourself in reality, Psychology Today

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Why Video Channeling Is Right For You

Why Video Channeling Is Right for You

Do you dread getting sick? Not only because of the body ache, the fever or the migraines but because you know that you will have to make a trip to the hospital, sit around for hours, feeling worse by the minute, and rush through a few minutes with your doctor? Or maybe you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes, where you need to visit your endocrinologist every few months and show them your latest reports. You go to the hospital, wait till you’re called for your tests and then wait some more to show your results to your doctor? And in recent times, having to do all this with the worry that you might be exposing yourself to COVID-19?

It’s a good thing that oDoc has another option for you, one where you can start recovering without ever having to leave your home. oDoc allows you to channel your doctor on a video call so all you need is a mobile phone and an internet connection!

Online video consultations with doctors has been around for a long time but has definitely become more popular and practical during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know that it can be hard to wrap your mind around having your doctor’s appointment on your mobile phone where the doctor speaks to you and provides a diagnosis. But there are many advantages of channelling a doctor virtually.

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No transportation time or costs

When you video channel your doctor on your phone, you can save money on petrol and public transportation. You also don’t waste time travelling to a clinic or sitting for hours in a waiting room or risk running into a traffic jam.

For those of you who live outside the big cities, you don’t have to worry about setting aside your whole day or half your day to travel into the city for your appointment with the doctor.

Comfort and convenience when channelling online

You can consult the doctor on oDoc from your own bed if you feel like it.

A virtual consultation is much easier to fit into your busy schedule. You don’t need to take time off work, you can simply schedule a consultation during your break, or before or after work. If you are taking care of children or an elderly parent, usually you would need to find alternative care while you go to a clinic for your doctor’s appointment. But with oDoc, this worry is eliminated as you can still uphold your family responsibilities.

Reduced exposure to other diseases commonly spread in hospitals

With virtual consultations, you are less exposed to other people’s germs, which is an even greater benefit if you’re chronically ill, pregnant, elderly or immunocompromised. This reduces the spread of COVID-19, flu and other infectious diseases. Doctors are protected as well.

Immediate paediatric care for babies and children.

If your baby or little child has suddenly got sick in the middle of the night, you can immediately channel a doctor on oDoc who can ease your worries, provide a diagnosis and a prescription if needed.

Online psychiatric support

Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health, which is why oDoc gives you the opportunity to speak to a counsellor or psychiatrist confidentially and privately.

Channelling with a doctor online is not meant to take the place of in-person appointments but it can be an important addition to patient care. Consult with a doctor on oDoc today!


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කොරෝනා අතරට පැමිණි ඩෙංගු වසංගතය

කොරෝනා අතරට පැමිණි ඩෙංගු වසංගතය


 Dengue seemed to have taken a back seat in the news the last year but it is fast becoming  a household concern, yet again. With  9,669* dengue patients being reported in Sri Lanka so far in 2021, it is safe to say that dengue ‘is back’ (not like it ever went away though). So we at oDoc are breaking it down for you. We go into detail about the causes, treatment and prevention of dengue, so keep reading!

What is dengue and how is it caused?

Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease. Dengue viruses spread among people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These are the same types of mosquitoes that spread Zika and chikungunya viruses. These mosquitoes breed and lay eggs in still water (in buckets and pots in your garden which has collected water). These eggs can even survive up to 1 year and can withstand dry conditions till they are in water again.

Is dengue contagious?

Dengue is not contagious so you cannot catch the virus via contact with an infected person. However, an infected mother can pass the virus to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. In the case of infected breastfeeding mothers, it is encouraged that they continue breastfeeding their infant due to the benefits of breastfeeding. So far, there has only been 1 case of the virus passing to the infant via breast milk.


What are the symptoms of dengue?

It is said that 1 out of 4 people who are infected with the dengue virus will get sick and can show mild to severe symptoms.  Mild symptoms include high fever along with a combination of aches and pain in muscles and joints, rashes and nausea. Symptoms last about 2–7 days. Most people will recover after about a week. Severe cases of dengue usually require hospitalisation. Symptoms and warning signs include:
  • Belly pain, tenderness
  • Vomiting (at least 3 times in 24 hours)
  • Bleeding from the nose or gums
  • Vomiting blood, or blood in the stool
  • Feeling tired, restless, or irritable

කොවිඩ් 19 වසංගත තත්වය මේ වන විට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ විශාල මරණ සංඛ්‍යාවකට හේතු වී ඇත. මෙම තත්වය මත ඩෙංගු වසංගතය හිස ඔසවා ඇති අතර ඩෙංගු රෝගීන් ප්‍රමාණය ද ඉහල ගිය හොත් අපට රටක් වශයෙන් විශාල අර්බුදයකට මුහුණ පාන්නට සිදු වනු නොඅනුමාන ය.

ඩෙංගු රෝගය වසර 50ක් දක්වා ඈතට දිව යයි. දැනට ලංකාව තුළ මදුරු වර්ග 150 ක් පමණ සංඛ්‍යාවක් සිටින අතර ඊඩ්ස් ඊජිප්ටි( Aedes Aegypti ) සහ ඊඩ්ස් ඇල්බොපික්ටස් ( Aedes Albopictus) යන මදුරුවන් වර්ග දෙක රෝග වාහක මදුරු විශේෂ දෙකක් ලෙස හඳුන්ව යි. මෙම ඊඩ්ස් මදුරුවාගේ බිත්තර කිසිම දේශගුණික තත්වයක් මත විනාශ වන්නේ නැත. එනම්, ඒවා ඕනෑම පාරිසරික තත්වයකට ඔරොත්තු දෙයි. එහෙයින් ඊඩ්ස් මදුරු බිත්තර විනාශ කළ නොහැකි දෙය කි. හිරු පායා පැය කිහිපයක් ගත වන කාලයේ මෙන් ම හිරු බැසීමට පැය කිහිපයක් ගත වීමට ආසන්න වන මොහොතේ දී ඊඩ්ස් මදුරුවන් දෂ්ඨ කිරීම ආරම්භ කර යි. ඊඩ්ස් ඊජිප්ටි මදුරුවා දෂ්ඨ කිරීමෙන් අනතුරුව දින 3 ත් දින 14 ත් අතර කාලයක් වෛරසය ශරීරයේ පවති යි. අනතුරුව ඇතිවන උණ අවධිය දින 2 ත් 10 ත් අතර කාලයේ පවතින අතර ඒ අවධිය වෛරසය ප්‍රතික්‍රියා කරන අවධිය යි.

මදුරුවන් ස්වභාවිකව වෛරස් රැගෙන නොය යි. තව ද මදුරුවන් රෝගය බෝ කරන්නේ වෛරස ආසාදිත පුද්ගලයන්ට දෂ්ඨ කිරීමෙන් ය.ඔවුන් නැවත දෂ්ඨ කළ විට වෛරසය ඊළග පුද්ගලයාට සම්ප්‍රේෂණය විය හැකි ය. මදුරුවන්ගෙන් බෝ වන රෝග ව්‍යාප්ත වන ප්‍රධාන ආකාරය වන්නේ මෙය යි.මිනිසුන්ට දෂ්ඨ කරන්නේ ගැහැනු මදුරුවන් පමණක් බැවින් වෛරසය පැතිර විය හැක්කේ ගැහැනු මදුරුවාට පමණ කි. ඩෙංගු (Dengue), සිකා(Zika), චිකුන්ගුන්‍යා(Chikungunya) සහ කහ උණ (Yellow Fever ) හි ප්‍රධාන සම්ප්‍රේක්ෂකයා වන්නේ ඊඩ්ස් ඊජිප්ටි මදුරුවා ය.

මෙම ඊඩ්ස් මදුරුවා අප්‍රිකාවේ ඉපදුණ නමුත් ලොව පුරා නිවර්තන සහ උප නිවර්තන කලාපයන් හරහා ලොව පුරා ව්‍යාප්තව ඇත. 15 සහ 19 සියවස අතර කාලයේ දී සිදු කළ වහල් වෙළඳාම හරහා මදුරුවන් පිටතට ව්‍යාප්ත වී ඇත. එසේම 18 ත් 19 ත් යන සියවස් අතර ආසියාව තුළ සිදු වූ වෙළඳාම් හරහා මදුරු පැතිරීම වූ අතර පසුව නැවතත් දෙවන ලෝක යුද්ධ සමයේ දී හමුදා භට කණ්ඩායම් සමග ව්‍යාප්ත විය.

මෙම ඩෙංගු රෝගය වැළඳීම අතිශය භයානක තත්වය කි. මෙම තත්වය ප්‍රධාන අවධි දෙකක් ගනි යි. එනම් ඩෙංගු උණ තත්වය සහ ඩෙංගු රක්තපාත තත්වයයි. ඩෙංගු උණ රෝගයේ දී අධික හිසරදය සමග ඇති වන උණ තත්වය ඇතිවෙ යි. එමෙන් ම හංදි සහ පේශිවල වේදනාව සහ ශරීරයේ ඇතිවන දද ස්වභාවයන් දැක්විය හැකි ය. ඇතැම් අවස්ථාවල දී විදුරුමස් නාසය සහ ශ්ලේෂ්මල පටල මෙන් ම සමෙන් ද රුධිරය වහනය වීමට ඉඩ ඇත.ඩෙංගු රක්තපාත උණ තත්වය රෝගය උත්සන්න වූ විට ඇතිවන තත්වය කි. එය අවධි තුනක් ඔස්සේ පැහැදිලි කළ හැකිය.

  • දින හතකට අඩුවෙන් පවතින තද උණ සහිත කාලය.මෙය උණ සහිත අවධිය ලෙස හඳුන්ව යි.
  • උණ් බැස යාමත් සමග ඇතිවන රුධිර වහනය පවතින අවධානම් අවධිය, මෙම තත්වය දින 1 ත් 2 ත් අතර කාලයක් පවතියි.
  • රෝගියාගේ කෑම රුචිය වර්ධනය වී හෘද ස්පන්දනය අඩු වන අවධිය තෙවන අවස්ථාව යි. එය සුව වන අවධිය ලෙස හඳුන්ව යි. මෙම කාලයේ දී රතු පැහැති පසුබිමේ සූදු පැහැ ලප ඇතිවීම ශරීරය පුරා ඇතිවෙන කැසීම මුත්‍රා වැඩි වශයෙන් පහ වීම සිදු වෙයි.

නමුත් උණ බැසයන අවස්ථාවේ දී යම් රෝගියෙකු තද පිපාසය, බඩේ කැක්කුම, නොනවත්වා වමනය කිරීම, ආහාර ප්‍රතික්ෂේප කිරීම, අධික නිදිමත සහ සිහි මද බව, අසාමාන්‍යය ලේ ගැලීම එනම් ඔසප් වීම නියමිත කාලයට පෙර හෝ ඊට පසුව සිදුවීම, අත් සහ පාද සුදුමැලි වීම සහ සීතල බව නොසන්සුන් බව, සමේ පැහැය වෙනස් වීම, හැසිරී මේ වෙනස්කම්, සිහි මද ගති ලක්ෂණ පෙන්නුම් කරන්නේ නම් වහාම වෛද්‍යය උපදෙස් පිළිපැදිය යුතු ය. ඩෙංගු වෛරසය ශරීරගතව ඇතිබව තහවුරු කිරීමට සිදු කරන NS 1 සහ ඩෙංගු ප්‍රතිදේහ පරීක්ෂාවන් මගින් ඩෙංගු උණ සහ ඩෙංගු රක්තපාත උණ වෙන් කර හඳුනා ගත හැකිය. එසේම, ඩෙංගු රෝගියෙකු සුදු රුධිරාණු අඩුවීම, රුධිර පට්ටිකා සහ රුධිරයේ ඝන භාවය වැඩිවීම පිළිබඳ අවධානය යොමු කළයුතු ය. සියලු රෝගීන් උණ් වැළඳී තෙවන දිනයේ රුධිර පරීක්ෂාවක් සිදු කර ගැනීම අවශ්‍යය වේ. ගර්භනී කාන්තාවන්, වයස අවුරුද්දට අඩු දරුවන්, මහලු පුද්ගලයන් යන අය පලමු දිනයේ දී ම රුධිර පරීක්ෂාවක් කර ගත යුතු ය. විශේෂයෙන් මෙම ඩෙංගු තත්වය පවතින රෝගියෙකු පිටස්තර ඖෂධ ගැනීමේදී අතිශය සැලකිලිමත් විය යුතු ය. මෙම රෝගීන්ට පැරසිටමෝල් ඖෂධයක් පවා ලබා ගත හැක්කේ වෛද්‍ය උපදෙස් මත පමණි. මෙෆනෙමික් ඇසිඩ් ( Mefenamic Acid ) ඇස්ප්‍රින් (Asprin) ඩිස්ටොෆෙනැක් ( Distoenac)ඉබියුප්‍රොෆෙන් ( Ibuprofen)යන කාණ්ඩ ඖෂධ කිසි විටකත් භාවිත නොකළ යුතු ය. මෙබඳු ඖෂධ භාවිතයෙන් රුධිර වහනය උග්‍ර වෙයි.

රුධිර පට්ටිකා ප්‍රමාණය ≥150,000/ mm3 නම් දිනකට දෙවරක් සම්පූර්ණ රුධිර පරීක්ෂාවට යොමු විය යුතු ය. නමුත් රුධිර පට්ටිකා ප්‍රමාණය ≥100,00/ mm3 වන අවස්ථාවලදී රෝගියා රෝහලකට
ඇතුළත් කිරීම අනිවාර්ය වේ.

ඩෙංගු රෝගියෙකු විසින් ඉතා සැහැල්ලු සහ පෝෂ්‍යදායී ආහාර වේලක් ලබා ගත යුතු ය. යම් ආකාරයකින් දින දෙකකට වඩා පවතින උණ තත්වය ඇති පුද්ගලයෙකු රෝහල් ගතවීම සුදුසු ය. ඩෙංගු රෝගියෙකු හොඳින් විවේක ගැනීම කළ යුතු අතර මහන්සි වීම තෙහෙට්ටු වීම නුසුදුසු ය. වැඩිපුර දියර වර්ග පානයට ගැනීම, නිදසුනක් ලෙස කිරි කැඳ, පළතුරු යුෂ, තැඹිලි, සුප් ආදී ද්‍රව්‍යයන් භාවිතයට සුදුසු ය.රෝගියාට ආහාර රුචිය ඇත්නම් ඝන ආහාර ලබා දිය හැකි අතර බීට් රූට් චොකලට් රත් පැහැයට හුරු පැණි බීම වර්ග ලබා දීමෙන් වැළකිය යුතු ය. මෙය මලපහ පිටවීමේ දී රුධිරය යාමේ තත්වය හඳුනා ගැනීමට බාධාවක් වෙයි.ඩෙංගු රක්තපාත අවධියේ දී වකුගඩු අක්මාව අකර්මණ්‍ය වීම මොළයට බලපෑම් සිදුවීම විය හැකිය.

මෙම මදුරුවාගේ බෝ වීම සිදුවන්නේ වතුර පිරුණු ටයර්, පොල්කටු, ප්ලාස්ටික් බඳුන්, යෝගට් කෝප්ප, පොල් සහ තැඹිලි කෝම්බ, වැහි පීළි, වතුර කාණු, ශීතකරණ තැටි, පොල් ලෙලි වලවල් යනාදී ස්ථානවල යි. ඔබ නිරන්තරයෙන් ඔබගේ නිවස සහ වත්ත පිටිය පිරිසිදුව තබා ගත යුත්තේ එබැවින් ය. මදුරුවන් දෂ්ඨ කිරීම් වලක්වා ගැනීම සඳහා පැඟිරි තෙල්, මදුරුදැල් භාවිතය, ශරීරය ආවරණය වන ඇඳුම් ඇඳීම වැනි ක්‍රම භාවිත කළ හැකි ය. පවතින කොරෝනා උවදුර හමුවේ මෙම ඩෙංගු උවදුරින් හැකි තරම් ආරක්ෂා වීමට ඔබට හැකියාව ඇත. ඔබ මේ වන විටත් පවතින ඇඳිරිනීතිය හමුවේ නිවසට වී සිටින අයෙක් නම් තම නිවස පිරිසිදුව තබා ගැනීමට ඔබට කාල වේලාව පවතියි. එබැවින් හැකිතාක් මෙම තත්වයෙන් ආරක්ෂා වීමට කටයුතු කරන්න.

ලෝකයේ රටවල් එක්ව ඩෙංගු මර්දනයට ‘වොල්බැකියා බැක්ටීරියාව’ යොදා ගත් ආකාරය පිළිබඳ ලිපිය මීළඟට බලාපොරොත්තු වන්න.

ආශ්‍රිත ග්‍රන්ථ නාමාවලිය

  • Comprehensive guidelines for prevention and control of Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, WHO
  • Dengue, Guideline for diagnosis, treatment prevention and control, WHO
  • Dengue and severe dengue, WHO
  • ඩෙංගු මදුරුවා, National Dengue Control Unit, Sri Lanka
  • World mosquito program, Sri Lanka
  • කොවිඩ් 19 මැද ඩෙංගු අවදානමක්: ජාතික ඩෙංගු මර්දන ඒකකය අනතුරු අඟවයි, BBC සිංහල

If you are showing any of these symptoms or warning signs, seek medical attention immediately. It is also important to note that these warning signs usually begin 24–48 hours after your fever has gone away.

What’s the treatment for dengue?

Unfortunately, there is still no specific treatment to cure dengue. However, it is vital that you rest as much as possible and keep yourself hydrated by taking a lot of fluids if you are diagnosed with dengue. You can also take paracetamol (do not take aspirin or ibuprofen) to help with the fever and body aches and pains. 

It is advised to seek medical advice rather than self-diagnosing and opting for self-treatment. 

What can you do to prevent dengue?

  • Keep neighborhoods clean and free of still water 
  • Frequently clean garden, pots, vases and balconies
  • Wear clothes that cover the body and minimize exposure to mosquito bites
  • Always use mosquito repellents
  • Use mosquito nets
  • Installing net screens on doors and windows.

In these difficult times, it is vital we look after ourselves and our loved ones. If you or anyone you know is suffering from any of the above-mentioned symptoms you can speak to an on-demand doctor on oDoc from the comfort of your home.

Stay indoors. Stay safe.

*At day of writing (13th July 2021)


  1. Epidemiology Unit – Ministry of Health. (2021, July 13). Dengue update. Epidemiology Unit – Ministry of Health Sri Lanka.
  2. Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, June 28). Dengue | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  3. Dunkin, M. A. (2010, July 26). Dengue Fever. WebMD.
  4. WHO. (2019, July 8). Preventing Dengue in Sri Lanka. World Health Organization.


Blog Article

Breaking down the Delta Variant

Breaking down the Delta Variant


It seems we hear of a news report of a newly discovered Delta COVID19 case in Sri Lanka almost on a daily basis. Resulting in the question, what is the delta variant and what does that mean for us?

For our more in-depth blog on variants, please click here

Short read: It is highly transmissible and has caused more hospitalisations than the Alpha variant in the UK (and India, though the data isn’t as neatly available), especially in young people and the unvaccinated. It is found to be more resistant to the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine responses especially after only one dose but continues to provide 80-90% protection after two doses against symptomatic disease. A widespread of this variant in Sri Lanka could overburden an already overwhelmed medical system. Until vaccines can be rolled out to the majority of the population, adhering to strict COVID19 protocols by businesses and individuals is our only avenue for protection. 

Want more details? Read on!

The Delta variant (B.1617.2) was first sequenced in India post its recent COVID wave of March 2021. The variant was classified as a variant of concern by the WHO alongside the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) first discovered in Britain, the Beta variant (South Africa) and the Gamme variant (Brazil). Variants of concern are those that are considered highly transmissible, highly infectious and/or deadly.

So what do we know about this newest variant on the block?

Image source: Dr. Eric Topol

How transmissible is it?

WHO’s Dr Mike Ryan described the Delta variant as “faster, fitter and will pick off the more vulnerable more efficiently than the previous variants”. The variant is the fastest spreading one in the UK and has prompted medical professionals to estimate that it is around 60-70% more transmissible than the Alpha variant. 

Tracked data shows that COVID cases have grown 75% week over week in May in the UK (mostly amongst young people and the unvaccinated). 

Why is more transmissible more dangerous?

To quote Zeynep Tufecki on a New York Times op-ed:

“Increased transmissibility is an exponential threat. If a virus that could previously infect three people on average can now infect four, it looks like a small increase. Yet if you start with just two infected people in both scenarios, just 10 iterations later, the former will have caused about 40,000 cases while the latter will be more than 524,000, a nearly 13-fold difference.”

What are its symptoms?

Even in the early throes of the Indian third wave, reports of different COVID19 symptoms began to circulate amongst social media. 

Updated COVID19 symptoms as per the CDC now include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea and vomiting

How does it affect hospitalisations and the death rate?

A Public Health Scotland study found that the risk of hospital admissions was almost doubled with Delta vs. Alpha. 

Amongst those vaccinated with Pfizer or AstraZeneca, the Public Health England study reported that those with one dose of vaccine were 75% less likely to be hospitalised and those with both doses are 94% less likely to be hospitalised when compared to the unvaccinated population.

How does it respond to vaccines? 

A report published by Public Health England indicated that the variant is moderately resistant to vaccines, especially just the first dose. A single dose of AZ or Pfizer reduced a person’s risk of developing symptomatic illness by 30% (vs. 50% for the Alpha variant). A second dose of AZ increased protection to 60% (compared to 66% for Alpha). Two doses of Pfizer were 88% protective against the variant (compared to 93% against Alpha). 

No studies are available about the Sputnik or Sinopharm response to the new variant.

How can we stay safe?

Whilst richer countries look to rapid deployment of vaccines to counteract the rising Delta cases, Sri Lanka – with limited access to vaccines – must rely on the tried and tested COVID19 safety precautions:

  • Limiting physical gatherings (especially, AC & indoors)
  • Masking indoors & outdoors (over nose & mouth, when around those that are not of the same household)
  • Washing hands with soap
  • Sanitising high touch surfaces

As the third wave has taken us to the brink of medical capacity, any spread of the Delta variant in Sri Lanka could have serious ramifications to public health, but also to the overburdened medical system.

We encourage all Sri Lankans to get vaccinated, to stay home and follow COVID19 protocols to the utmost of your abilities. 

If you are experiencing any COVID19 symptoms or would like to speak with a doctor about your general health, download the oDoc app here

If the uptick of cases and variants are causing your mental health to suffer, speak to a psychologist on the oDoc app safely from your home.


  1. Stowe, J. et al. Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against hospital admission with the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant., Preprint at (2021)
  2. Sheik, Z et al. SARS-CoV-2 Delta VOC in Scotland: demographics, risk of hospital admission, and vaccine effectiveness., The Lancet: 397: 2461-262 (2021)
  3. WHO says delta is the fastest and fittest Covid variant and will ‘pick off’ most vulnerable, CNBC (2021)
  4. UK reports 6,238 daily Covid cases amid fears over Delta variant infectiousness, The Guardian (2021)
  5. Tufecki, Z., Covid’s Deadliest Phase May Be Here Soon, The New York Times (2021)

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Understanding the dynamics – breastfeeding, pregnancy and COVID vaccines

Understanding the dynamics - breastfeeding, pregnancy and COVID vaccines


As Sri Lanka rolls out its vaccination program, the questions have shifted from “Which vaccine should I get?” to “Should pregnant and breastfeeding women get vaccinated?” 

The answer in short: Yes, everyone should get vaccinated when offered the chance.

For a more detailed answer on how the vaccine affects pregnant and lactating women, read more below.

Breastfeeding and vaccinations 🤱🏾

Women who have recently given birth or are still breastfeeding should get the vaccine. 

Initially, the clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use did not include women who were breastfeeding. So, there was no clinical data on the safety of vaccines in lactating women, effects of the vaccine in breastmilk production and the consequences on the baby. However, now according to the WHO and new research, lactating women can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding women who have received COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies that pass on to the baby via breast milk, helping in protecting the baby. 

 A study conducted in Israel with thePfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with 84 breastfeeding women, showed that IgA antibody (the first line of defence when exposed to an infection) secretion was present as early as 2 weeks after vaccination in the breast milk. This was followed by a spike in IgG antibody (important for remembering the virus to prevent future infections) 1 week after the second dose in the breast milk. This suggests a potential protective effect against infection in the infant as these antibodies are passed on to them via the milk. No mother or infant experienced any serious adverse event during the study period.

More data is needed to understand what protection these antibodies provide to the baby. Even though the studies on breastfeeding and vaccinations are not advanced, the present data shows no indication of harm to the mother or child.

Pregnancy and vaccinations 🤰🏾

As with many other vaccines, the effects of the COVID-19 vaccines on pregnant women have not been studied extensively yet. However, health professionals assess the risks of COVID19 vs. the COVID vaccine when deciding whether pregnant women should receive the vaccine. 

Pregnant women with any of the following conditions are at a higher risk of contracting severe COVID than women who are not pregnant: 

  • have underlying health conditions (for example diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma)
  • are overweight
  • are aged 35 years or over

Preliminary findings in a study conducted in the US on the effects of mRNA vaccine in pregnant women did not show obvious safety signals among pregnant women who received mRNA Covid-19 vaccines compared to the control group.

It must be noted that injection-site pain was reported more frequently among pregnant women than among non-pregnant women, whereas other side effects such as headache, chills, and fever were reported less frequently. However, a more detailed and longitudinal study is needed to understand the full impact of vaccination on pregnant women. 

We already know pregnant women are at a higher risk of getting severe COVID and also at a higher risk of delivering a baby prematurely. So in a country like Sri Lanka, where the transmission rate is high, the benefits of getting the vaccine far outweigh the risks. 

Fertility and vaccinations 🌸

Women who are planning to get pregnant in the near future can absolutely take the vaccine. There is no evidence of COVID vaccines affecting fertility or the chances of getting pregnant. So get your vaccine when it becomes available to you. 

If you want more detailed information on getting vaccinated you can speak to one of our on-demand GPs at any time via the oDoc app. If you or your loved ones are showing any COVID symptoms please consult a doctor via oDoc immediately or use the oDoc COVID symptom checker to understand what you should do next.


  1. Perl, S. H., Uzan-Yulzari, A., Klainer, H., Asiskovich, L., Youngster, M., Rinott, E., & Youngster, I. (2021). SARS-CoV-2–Specific Antibodies in Breast Milk After COVID-19 Vaccination of Breastfeeding Women.
  2. Vaccination Considerations for People Pregnant or Breastfeeding. (2021, June 16). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  3. Public Health Scotland. (2021, June 18). Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the coronavirus vaccine. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine. 
  4. WHO. (2021, June 4). Episode #41 – Vaccines, pregnancy, menstruation, lactation and fertility. World Health Organisation.

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