Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What are Steroids?

Steroids are very useful and potent form of drugs. Although they have side-effects if administered with proper medical advice would definitely be life-saving. These are found in the body naturally. These are secreted by the adrenal glands as hormones. The steroids are of two types one that is found naturally the other is manufactured synthetically.

Steroids are medically administered in acute and chronic inflammatory conditions. In certain cases of acute asthma which does not respond to ordinary drugs steroids are used as life saving drug. It is also administered for people suffering because of ‘Addisons disease’ . This is a condition where the human body stops secreting natural hormones. However, if the steroids are administered for longer periods the body tends to decrease the secretion of natural steroids.

Steroids although has some vital uses, it also has certain side- effects like ulceration of the stomach, swelling of the neck, weakening of bones, Increasing the body hair, the skin would tend to lose its texture, blood pressure levels would increase in some cases.

In spite of all these side-effects the steroids are being misused world-wide, the most common types of misuses are : To provide instant relief from body aches, fever, in cases of skin inflammations.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Not long ago, many people thought that comets were a sign that something bad was about to happen to them. People didn't understand how objects in the sky moved, so the sight of a comet must have been very disturbing. There are many historical records and works of art which record the appearance of comets and link them with terrible events such as wars or plagues.

One of the most famous comets is Halley's comet named after the famous astronomer Edmund Halley. Halley accurately calculated its time to orbit around sun as 76 years. This comet appeared in 1910 after which it appeared 1986 after 76 years as calculated by the great astronomer. In 1985-1986, a spacecraft called Giotto visited the most famous comet, Halley, on Halley's most recent visit to the inner solar system.

Unlike the other small bodies in the solar system, comets have been known since antiquity. Comets are sometimes called dirty snowballs or "icy mud balls". Comets are invisible except when they are near the Sun. Comets are small, fragile, irregularly shaped bodies composed of a mixture of non-volatile grains and frozen gases. They have highly elliptical orbits that bring them very close to the Sun and swing them deeply into space, often beyond the orbit of Pluto. The Comet structure consists of the nucleus, coma, hydrogen cloud and a dust tail. Comet structures are diverse and very dynamic, but they all develop a surrounding cloud of diffuse material, called a coma, that usually grows in size and brightness as the comet approaches the Sun. Usually a small, bright nucleus (less than 10 km in diameter) is visible in the middle of the coma. The coma and the nucleus together constitute the head of the comet.

As comets approach the Sun they develop enormous tails of luminous material that extend for millions of kilometers from the head, away from the Sun. When far from the Sun, the nucleus is very cold and its material is frozen solid within the nucleus. In this state comets are sometimes referred to as a "dirty iceberg" or "dirty snowball," since over half of their material is ice. When a comet approaches within a few AU of the Sun, the surface of the nucleus begins to warm, and volatiles evaporate. The evaporated molecules boil off and carry small solid particles with them, forming the comet's coma of gas and dust. When the nucleus is frozen, it can be seen only by reflected sunlight.

Meteor shower sometimes occur when the Earth passes thru the orbit of a comet. Some occur with great regularity: the Perseid meteor shower occurs every year between August 9 and 13 when the Earth passes thru the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle.

Now we know that comets are lumps of ice and dust that periodically come into the center of the solar system from somewhere in its outer reaches, and that some comets make repeated trips. When comets get close enough to the Sun, heat makes them start to evaporate. Jets of gas and dust form long tails that we can see from Earth. These tails can sometimes be millions of miles long.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What is Paracetamol?

An individual is said to have fever if his or her body temperature exceeds 37 degree Celsius. Fever is a sign of illness. Fever causes a great deal of discomfort. Fever is usually a resultant of some viral attack. Fever is rarely complicated. Sometimes it could be accompanied by dehydration and convulsion. It is always recommended to wear light clothing and consume plenty of water when affected by fever.

Paracetamol is the most commonly used drug to treat fever. It is a mild but very effective drug. It is available in variety of names in the market. It is otherwise known as ‘Acetaminophen’. On consumption of paracetamol the body heat is reduced by sweating. Paracetamol can be used during pregnancy also as it is less toxic in nature. Sometimes high doses cause nausea, drowsiness etc., and sometimes may result in renal failure too. In such cases it is recommended to meet a doctor. Paracetamol also reduces body pain caused during fever.

It is available in the market in variety of dosages. For children it is available as syrup and in form of tablets for adults. Paracetamol injections are also available. When consumed in tablet form, on has to consume lot of water.

When being treated with paracetamol one has to restrict to the prescribed dosage. Avoid fasting while taking the tablet. Refrain from consuming alcohol during usage of paracetamol. Usage of paracetamol for children should be done only under medical advice and guidance.