Health

Dr Larisa reflects on her time on the frontline

She's been our resident This Morning doctor on the frontline of the Covid 19 fight, but as Dr Larisa completes her final night shift at a London hospital, what happens now for her, and most importantly, the NHS? And as the number of cases continues to fall, what's really going on behind the scenes to prepare for the future? Dr Larisa explains it all.

Lockdown sees rise in dangerous DIY dentists

Dentists are warning that patients are being left in extreme pain and in need of urgent treatment as emergency facilities are overwhelmed by high demand during lockdown. This has led to a worrying rise in patients resorting to dangerous DIY procedures. Fay Rayward who attempted to pull her own tooth out using a pair of pliers after being denied an emergency appointment joined us alongside Dr Monik Vasant who believes dental surgeries should be allowed to open.

Could vitamin D help protect you from coronavirus?

As the forecast turns towards scorching sunshine, new reports this week have suggested a link between vitamin D deficiency and the severity of the Coronavirus.

Dr Chris separates fact from fiction when it comes to this important vitamin, and gives his advice on how to make sure you’re getting the right amount.

WHAT DO HEALTH AUTHORITIES SUGGEST ABOUT VITAMIN D?

Public Health England, and the Scottish and Welsh governments already issue recommendations for supplements for all adults from October to March, and supplementation all year round for adults living in care homes or nursing homes. Also for those who are required to wear clothes that cover most of the skin when outdoors - or who have dark skin.

CAN VITAMIN D STOP CORONAVIRUS?

There is no evidence that it reduces the risk of catching or getting ill with coronavirus. However, experts do think that it may have benefits during the pandemic.

Some researchers have suggested that Vitamin D deficiency might be linked with poorer outcomes if someone catches coronavirus. But other underlying risk factors, such as heart disease, are common in these patients too, making it hard to draw conclusions.

Dr Chris says: 'After social distancing, mask wearing and frequent hand washing - as well as making sure you’re following all of the government’s guidelines - your last line of defence is your body's own immune system.'

WHAT FOODS ARE GOOD FOR VITAMIN D?
Dr Chris says: 'Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods. Sources include: oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and fresh tuna, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals. Another source of Vitamin D is dietary supplements. Yoghurt provides millions of friendly bacteria to your gut, which is actually 70% of the body's total immune system. Beans and bananas are prebiotics, which feed those friendly bacteria.'

Dr Zoe busts myths around coronavirus testing

The US government has granted a licence for a test meant to detect antibodies to coronavirus and help identify those who may have developed immunity. So why haven’t the makers of a similar UK test been given NHS approval, and how accurate are they?

Dr Zoe joins us to separate fact from fiction, and explain the methods of testing for Covid-19.

The secret diet behind Adele's transformation

It’s the incredible weight-loss picture that everyone is talking about. Popstar Adele showed off her svelte new figure in a birthday snap posted on Instagram yesterday.

The 32-year-old is thought to have lost between three and seven stone and rumours are circulating about how she shifted the pounds. They include the Sirtfood diet, pilates, hypnotherapy and even a gastric band. We speak to Sam Rubin to find out the Hollywood reaction, weight loss expert Steve Miller and Vanessa who shed the pounds following surgery.

Don't let your back lock up in lockdown!

Is working from home taking its toll on your back? Has your posture gone wrong? Back specialist Garry Trainer joins us with tips on maintaining a strong spine and what to do if you find yourself in pain.

DID YOU KNOW?

- About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes.

- Back pain is the second most common cause of absence from work in Great Britain.

- On average an employee with back pain takes 17 days off to recover from an episode.

- Treating all types of back pain costs the NHS more than £1 billion per year.

THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF LOCKDOWN ON YOUR BACK

Garry says this extended period in lockdown is likely to have a negative impact on our back: “We’re spending an unprecedented amount of time sitting on our sofas watching TV. When you do this, the last thing you think about is maintaining a good posture, and your back naturally goes into a banana shape, where your chin is jutted forward, and your neck is overcompressed. Over time, this compromised posture can cause muscles, nerves, discs and joints to not work as efficiently, and develop into back pain.”

THE IMPACT OF WORKING FROM HOME
Garry says, “Prolonged sitting, even in the best ergonomically designed chairs is a challenge. But sitting on a dining chair is even more of a challenge, because it doesn’t assist posture or provide any support - which you need if sitting for longer periods. An incorrect posture can lead to some parts of your back becoming overstretched, which will eventually lead to pain and discomfort. This can also have a knock-on effect to the nerves in your back, which don't have room to move, meaning they get squashed and could cause sciatica, pins and needles, and numbness down your arms into your fingers.”

HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT WORK FROM HOME SET-UP

  1. Place a small folded in half cushion onto the back half of a chair.

  2. Once seated place the other cushion into the small of the back, where there is that nice concave curve for extra support.

Garry says, “By doing this, it lifts the pelvis a little higher than your knees, nd in turn, throws the lower back into its proper position - offering a nice concave curve. When the back is its right position, it doesn’t over stretch or compress structures like muscles, nerves discs and joints.”

SIMPLE RELIEF TECHNIQUES TO HELP BACK PAIN IN LOCKDOWN
With osteopath, massage and acupuncture services closed for the foreseeable, Garry has two simple techniques that could make a lot of difference to people who have tightened up in lockdown, or for those who suffer with back pain.

- MASSAGE TECHNIQUE FOR NECK AND SHOULDERS

Go behind the individual who wants/needs back relief, and put both hands on their shoulders. Squeeze and release, then roll your thumbs up and over the shoulders, neck and rub down their arms. This should help ease muscular tensions which commonly accumulates in the neck and shoulders.

- ACUPRESSURE POINTS - HOW TO FIND AND TREAT THE TENDER SPOTS

*By rubbing over the shoulders - a person will be able to tell you where it hurts. You can usually feel that it feels tighter in places. Once you have located that tender spot apply a gradual fingertip pressure into the skin. This will help loosen any tightness.

Looking after your teeth during lockdown

All routine dentist appointments have been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, but what should you do if you’re in pain or you’ve lost a filling?

Dentist Monik Vasant joins us to explain some of the latest guidelines, who you should call and whether you can treat some common teeth troubles at home.

WHAT IS THE LATEST ADVICE FROM THE BRITISH DENTAL ASSOCIATION?

Despite the UK-wide shutdown, all practices should seek to maintain a basic service, that is providing telephone advice, triaging and writing prescriptions for painkillers and medication where appropriate. They are advising against all non-urgent dental treatment.

ARE DENTAL PRACTICES STILL OPEN?

Guidelines say all routine treatment needs to stop, however a lot of NHS practices are till open for emergencies only. Most practices are offering a triage service.

WHEN WILL PRACTICES REOPEN?
Chief Dental Officer Sarah Hurley has said practices might not open again until the end of June or July.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE A PAINFUL TOOTHACHE?

- Do not go to A&E for dental treatments.

- Call your clinic and follow the instructions they offer - over the phone we can give prescriptions and deliver to patients.

- You can also call 111. If they feel the patient needs seeing there are urgent clinics that can help sort the problem.

- Over the counter, subject to your own medical history, as an adult take paracetamol and ibuprofen. Alternate between the two. And for children, Capol and paracetamol will do.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU LOSE A FILLING?

- If a simple clean filling has dropped out with no pain then it's not an emergency.

- You can go to a chemist and buy a temporary filling kit which is a type of putty that fits in the hole.

- If you are having consistent pain contact your clinician or 111.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU LOSE A TOOTH?

- This is usually a sign of gum disease. The tooth will become wobbly and pop out.

- If it's pain free and you don't have a fever, bite on cotton wool to check there is no blood. It should heal itself.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU CHIP A TOOTH?

- Chipping a tooth can often be uncomfortable but is not an emergency.

- Fracturing a tooth is a bit more serious. You are advised to put it straight in saliva or milk to try and save the root. In this instance you should contact 111.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE BLEEDING GUMS?

- Bleeding gums is usually a sign of gum disease. It is not a big risk in the short term.

- Improve oral hygiene with a good electric toothbrush 3-4 times a day.

Coronavirus: Rare syndrome seen in children

Yesterday we heard the worrying news that children are suffering from different - but very dangerous - symptoms related to the coronavirus.

An urgent alert sent out to NHS doctors said that intensive care departments across the UK have been treating severely sick children with unusual symptoms involving ‘multi-system inflammation’.

Today Dr Ranj will join us to shed more light on the findings and explain why parents shouldn’t be worried.

Dr Ranj says: "Over the last few weeks we have noticed a pattern in a small number of children admitted to intensive care. These children appear to present with a hyper-inflammatory state where they have widespread inflammation in the body. Some have tested positive for coronavirus and some haven't. It is early days, but we are trying to work out what this means, quite what it is and how it ties in to coronavirus."

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THIS ILLNESS?
While this illness has characteristics of serious COVID-19, it also brings on abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms as well as cardiac inflammation. Dr Ranj says: "There isn't a consistent set of symptoms that we can pinpoint but the most consistent is a persistent fever lasting for more than five days. Some children have upset tummies and some have an unusual rash. That's what parents should be watching out for that they can see themselves."

IS IT A CAUSE FOR CONCERN?
"We don't know numbers yet, but we are probably looking at 20-30 children across the country being ill with this and not all will be in intensive care" says Dr Ranj. "We are not sure if this is now a genuine threat but it is not common and it's too early to make assessments as to whether it's something to be truly concerned about."

WHAT IS THE RISK?
Dr Ranj says: "It's a difficult thing to quantify, but the risk to children is still low and it's only when you see lots of cases of something that rare complications will manifest. This is a potential rare manifestation, but at the moment my advice remains unchanged. If your child is going to get coronavirus, they'll still most likely get mild symptoms. And while only time will tell, the numbers suggest this possibly or probably isn't going to be catastrophic. It may just fizzle out too, but it's just really early to tell."

WHAT SHOULD PARENTS DO?
"If your child is not getting better or is getting worse or getting more unusual symptoms, you really do need to pick up the phone and speak to a healthcare professional" says Dr Ranj. "People have been scared to seek help but they should be seeing someone. Do not sit at home with a sick child and do remember that it's most likely that your child is unwell with something else and will recover swiftly."

WHAT DO NHS ENGLAND SAY?
Professor Simon Kenny, NHS national clinical director for children and young people, says: "Thankfully Kawasaki-like diseases are very rare, as currently are serious complications in children related to Covid-19, but it is important that clinicians are made aware of any potential emerging links so that they are able to give children and young people the right care fast. The advice to parents remains the same: if you are worried about your child for whatever reason, contact NHS 111 or your family doctor for urgent advice, or 999 in an emergency, and if a professional tells you to go to hospital, please go to hospital."