I had Kawasaki disease and I won't be sending my daughter back to school soon

It was like fire under my skin – an agonising burning sensation, as hot as the fever that sent my temperature through the roof.

The speed at which the disease took hold and consumed me was frightening. Within days I went from being a normal five-year-old, running around the school playground, to being bed-bound and unable to walk.

Days later, when the fever finally subsided, my skin fell off in sheets, like I’d been scorched in the sun. I was too weak to return to school for months. 

More than 30 years on, I remember the horror of having Kawasaki disease, and the look of sheer panic on my mum’s face as she tried to get the doctors to find out what was wrong with me. I couldn’t eat or sleep, and battled the fever for days on end.

At the time, the doctor had ruled out all the usual suspects: meningitis, scarlet fever, glandular fever, measles. It was only years later that another doctor finally gave me a diagnosis.

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Until then, I had never heard of Kawasaki disease, and until very recently, most people probably knew very little about it.

Parents especially will now know its name, and many are no doubt more terrified of this illness than coronavirus, which has cost tens of thousands of lives in the UK alone. 

The disease causes the blood vessels to inflame and makes the coronary arteries swell, which can potentially lead to the infected person having an aneurysm.

Even after its effects have passed, it can be a factor in sudden death years later. 

As a whole, Kawasaki disease is more common in Asia than in Europe, but it’s now also the most common cause of acquired heart disease for children in the developed world.

That its emergence has coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic has understandably led to concerns that it is in some way linked to the virus.

Reports show that 100 children in New York have presented with Kawasaki symptoms, along with more cases in London, Paris and other major cities.

Some children have sadly died. 

It’s with this in mind that I watch reports of the UK government’s plan to send children in England back to school on 1 June.

Little is currently known about the links between Covid-19 and Kawasaki disease, but that knowledge should be learned by scientists – and not with children as guinea pigs

An email from our daughter’s school said that she would be among the first to be allowed to go back. She wants to be reunited with her little friends, and never stops talking about all the people she wants to hug ‘when the germs have gone away’.

But as a mum and dad who have spent most of her first term at school with red eyes and runny noses (and worse), we are all too aware of kids’ amazing ability to spread bugs and bring them back home.  

No matter what efforts the school took to protect my daughter and her playmates, children will be children. They live and learn with their senses – touching, smelling and tasting what’s around them. We could not send her back into a situation where there was a potential for her to become ill.

I imagine many parents are finding it hard to justify a government’s willingness to put the smallest children at the front of this experiment.

Little is currently known about the links between Covid-19 and Kawasaki disease, but that knowledge should be learned by scientists – and not with children as guinea pigs.  

In the beginning, some people were casual about the risk of coronavirus, and seemed almost blasé about it ‘mostly affecting the elderly’. Would they have taken the same view if children made up the majority of its victims? Probably not.

So, the idea that children should now be put into a situation that even the Sage (scientists advising the government) has admitted isn’t without risk, is not one that I am willing to support.  

Our kids trust us to keep them safe.

If I were to send my daughter back to school right now, I might as well let her play in the road, stick her fingers in plug sockets and get into a stranger’s car. 

Having felt the burning pain of Kawasaki disease, I have never wanted to play with fire – and I certainly won’t do it with my child’s safety.

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Saudi Arabia to end virus curfew from June 21

Saudi Arabia will end its nationwide coronavirus curfew from June 21, except in the holy city of Mecca, the interior ministry said Tuesday, after more than two months of stringent curbs.

Prayers will also be allowed to resume in all mosques outside Mecca from May 31, the ministry said in a series of measures announced on the official Saudi Press Agency.

The kingdom, which has reported the highest number of virus cases in the Gulf, imposed a full nationwide curfew during Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

The ministry said it will begin easing restrictions in a phased manner this week, with the curfew relaxed between 6 am and 3 pm between Thursday and Saturday.

From Sunday until June 20, the curfew will be further eased until 8 pm, the ministry added.

The kingdom will lift the lockdown entirely from June 21.

“Starting from Thursday, the kingdom will enter a new phase (in dealing with the pandemic) and will gradually return to normal based on the rules of social distancing,” Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia has reported around 75,000 coronavirus infections and some 400 deaths from COVID-19.

In March, Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round “umrah” pilgrimage over fears of the disease spreading in Islam’s holiest cities.

That suspension will remain in place, the interior ministry said.

Authorities are yet to announce whether they will proceed with this year’s hajj—scheduled for late July—but they have urged Muslims to temporarily defer preparations for the annual pilgrimage.

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Type 2 diabetes: Consume this green powder daily to significantly lower blood sugar

A type 2 diabetes diagnosis sends a very clear signal that your blood sugar levels are too high. Blood sugar is a type of sugar that enters your bloodstream through eating food. Type 2 diabetes doesn’t usually produce symptoms in the initial stages but consistently high blood sugar levels, a feature of diabetes, causes the body to undergo adverse changes in the long-run.

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Unstable blood sugar levels may seem benign but it can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs.

Eventually, this can increase the risk of deadly complications such as heart disease and stroke.

Luckily, you can bring blood sugar levels under control by making healthy lifestyle changes.

One of the most important adjustments you can make is eating a healthy, balanced diet.

While there is no single miracle worker, evidence shows that specific ingredients have a particularly potent effect on blood sugar levels so it would be wise to include them in your diet.

One ingredient that has yielded promising results is holy basil, a herb that is native to India.

According to medical site LiveStrong, holy basil, taken in powder form, has been shown to lower fasting and post-meal blood glucose levels.

Fasting blood glucose is a test to determine how much glucose (sugar) is in a blood sample after an overnight fast.

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In one study, 40 type 2 diabetics were asked to stop all of their diabetes medications.

Half of the patients were given 2.5g of holy basil leaf powder daily, and the other half were given a placebo for four weeks.

The groups were closely monitored and at the end of the study, holy basil was found to reduce fasting blood glucose levels by approximately 17.6 percent, and post-meal blood glucose levels by 7.3 percent.

Animal studies also support these claims.

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In one study, rats that received holy basil extract saw a 24 percent decrease in blood sugar after 30 days.

Blood sugar in rats that were fed holy basil leaf powder also decreased after a month.

General dietary tips

There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.

According to the NHS, you should:

  • Eat a wide range of foods – including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta
  • Keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum
  • Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – do not skip meals

Despite the NHS’s advice, it is important to restrict your intake of starchy items because they are often high in carb.

Carbohydrate is broken down into glucose relatively quickly and therefore has a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels than either fat or protein.

Type 2 diabetes – how to spot it

“Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell,” says the NHS.

If you do experience symptoms, these can include:

  • Urinating more than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Feeling very tired
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision

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Why COVID-19 could make the overdose epidemic worse

When Alberta’s chief medical officer, Deena Hinshaw, announced special exemptions to COVID-19 regulations for group therapy in residential addiction treatment centres, it was exactly what University of Alberta addictions expert Cameron Wild was hoping to hear.

“The whole concept of recovery is in part founded on developing strong social supportive relationships,” said Wild, principal investigator with the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Misuse in the U of A’s School of Public Health.

“The most commonly used form of treatment in programs throughout North America is founded on 12-step principles—essentially fellowship groups. These traditionally rely on in-person group meetings,” some of which have been severely limited, said Wild.

In other words, isolation and addictions simply do not mix, and Wild worries a rise in overdoses will result.

Just before COVID-19 hit, the number of deaths in Alberta as a result of fentanyl overdoses dropped to the lowest figures in three years, according to new provincial data.

In the final quarter of 2019, 109 people died from a fentanyl-related overdose, down from 158 in 2018 and 178 in 2017. But conditions caused by the pandemic could reverse that encouraging trend, said Wild.

“Any kind of retrenchment of harm reduction services has potential to negatively impact progress we were starting to see in overdose rates in the community.”

Wild and his colleagues across the country have been monitoring changes experienced by people who use drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially marginalized drug users. The researchers are developing guidelines for harm reduction and addiction treatment in light of COVID-19 public health measures.

While outpatient programs now have reduced access, others are doing the best they can to continue operating with public health measures in place, said Wild.

“It’s fair to say addiction treatment has been disrupted. Clinicians across the board are concerned about maintaining critical therapeutic relationships between them and their patients, as well as the supportive social relations that go on in effective group treatment.”

More dangerous street drugs

Besides the disruption of social contact for recovering addicts, the pandemic can bring with it harmful consequences related to the illegal drug trade, said Wild. The closed Canada-U.S. border limits illegal supply, and that could lead to more adulterated and toxic drugs on the street.

“If the drug market is changing, there’s an economic incentive to maximize profit for a reduced number of drug transactions. There’s more motivation to adulterate drug supplies.

“We’re very concerned about that and the impact on drug users,” said Wild.

The pandemic has underscored the reality that many substance abusers are among the most vulnerable in society, said Wild, adding it’s hard to comply with a stay-at-home order if you don’t have a home.

“The impacts for people who are more marginalized are being felt both in drug supply chains and disruption in access to drugs because of concerns about infectious disease transmission.”

Support for substance abuse harm reduction had already been eroding before the pandemic, said Wild, especially in light of a report by the Alberta government’s Supervised Consumption Services Review Committee. It suggested supervised drug consumption sites produce increased needle debris in surrounding neighbourhoods and are a risk to public safety.

“That was the worst possible time for that to have come out,” said Wild.

“We’re really trying to promote the idea that we don’t want to exacerbate overdose death and drug-related problems by restricting harm reduction services further.”

Wild also recommends loosening restrictions on “opioid agonist” treatments such as methadone or buprenorphine to treat addiction to opioids.

“We support things like pharmacists being able to supply longer-term medication that can be more flexibly delivered,” he said.

Increased overall use of alcohol and cannabis

Wild and his colleagues have also been watching a rise in substance use—especially alcohol and cannabis—in the general population while people are sheltered at home during the pandemic.

According to a recent poll by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, 25 percent of Canadians aged 35–54 are drinking more at home, citing lack of a regular schedule, stress and boredom as the main reasons.

“We’re concerned about broader general population changes in substance use patterns triggered by some of the isolation and distancing issues that people are being asked to adopt.”

Wild said he hopes the experience of addicts will give us all fresh eyes to re-evaluate addictions services.

“This is a chance to look with a very sober eye at the patchwork of services that existed prior to the pandemic,” he said. “We need to reconsider several key components in how we respond to addiction.

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Stomach bloating causes: Bloating after meals could be a sign of this deadly condition

Stomach bloating can be a sign you’ve wolfed down your meal. But does it happen after every time you eat? It could be a sign of something more sinister.

Eating should be an enjoyable experience, but feeling the bloat afterwards can ruin the fun.

The tight, stretched and full feeling can be extremely uncomfortable and, usually, it’s a reminder to remember our good manners.

Chewing with your mouth open can result in excess air being swallowed, which leads to bloating.

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However, keeping the lips sealed while eating could still lead to a bloated stomach – what gives?

The deadly condition leading to bloating after meals could be stomach cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK, most stomach cancers start in the gland cells in the inner stomach lining – these are called adenocarcinomas.

Some cancers begin in the immune system cells in the stomach – known as non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Cancer Net lists possible symptoms of stomach cancer. These are:

  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting, particularly vomiting up solid food shortly after eating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sensation of food getting stuck in the throat while eating

It explained: “It is important to remember that these symptoms can also be caused by many other illnesses, such as a stomach virus or an ulcer.”

Advanced symptoms of stomach cancer may include weakness and fatigue, vomiting blood, blood in the stools, and unexplained weight loss.

Cancer Research UK stated that around 50 percent of stomach cancer cases occur in people aged 75 and older.

The charity added that this specific type of cancer tends to be more common in men than women.

Stomach cancer risk factors

An infection with Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) causes around 40 percent of stomach cancers.

H.pylori is a bacteria that lives in the mucous of the lining of the stomach.

For most, it won’t cause any issues, but long-term infection may lead to inflammation and stomach ulcers.

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Another risk factor is smoking tobacco, with one in five cases of stomach cancer being related to the harmful habit.

The risk of stomach cancer increases in those who drink three or more units of alcohol each day.

Three units of alcohol is equivalent to one large glass of wine (ABV 12 percent).

It’s also the same as one pint of lager, beer or cider that has an ABV of 5.2 percent.

Cancer Research UK point out that the most common symptoms of stomach cancer include:

  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Weight loss
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia) that doesn’t go away
  • Feeling full after eating small amounts
  • Feeling or being sick

If you’re concerned about any of your symptoms do speak to your GP – regardless of the coronavirus pandemic.

Your health is just as important now as it was before the start of the global crisis.

Medical professionals will still try to make time for people concerned about cancer.

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Preventing ‘cytokine storm’ may ease severe COVID-19 symptoms

For some COVID-19 patients, the body’s immune response may be as destructive as the virus that causes the disease. The persistent high fevers, severe respiratory distress, and lung damage seen in some critically ill patients are all signs of an immune system in overdrive.

Now, a new clinical trial will test a treatment that targets this overactive immune response, says Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Bert Vogelstein. He and his team at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are currently recruiting individuals for the trial, which includes patients ages 45 to 85 at the Johns Hopkins Hospital who have COVID-19 but who aren’t on a ventilator or in the ICU.

Their treatment, a common type of prescription drug called an alpha blocker, might break a cycle of hyperinflammation before it ramps up, their findings from mouse studies and a recent analysis of medical claims data suggest.

“The approach we’re advocating involves treating people who are at high risk early in the course of the disease, when you know they’re infected but before they have severe symptoms,” says Vogelstein. If the trial’s results suggest the drug is safe and effective against COVID-19, it could potentially help many people recover safely at home and lessen the strain on hospital resources, he says.

Runaway reaction

A hyperactive immune response isn’t unique to COVID-19. People with autoimmune diseases and cancer patients receiving immunotherapy can experience similar symptoms. These responses are referred to as macrophage activation syndrome, cytokine release syndrome—or simply “cytokine storms.”

When macrophages (and some other kinds of immune cells) detect virus particles, they send out alert messages by releasing various proteins known as cytokines. Those cytokines recruit other immune cells to the scene—an inflammatory response that, in moderation, helps the body fight off a virus. But macrophages can also release other signaling molecules, called catecholamines, that amplify this response further, triggering the release of more cytokines. The result is a runaway feedback loop, like a snowball getting bigger as it barrels down a hill.

“It seems that once this process starts, there’s this inability to properly switch it off,” says Maximilian Konig, a rheumatologist at Hopkins who is helping to coordinate the trial.

Before COVID-19 hit, Vogelstein’s team was already exploring ways to ease the hyperinflammatory immune response in cancer patients treated with immunotherapy. The researchers were interested in drugs called alpha blockers, which are widely prescribed for prostate conditions and high blood pressure—and also interfere with the cell signaling that triggers cytokine storms. In theory, alpha blockers might stop a cytokine storm before it starts.

Giving mice with bacterial infections an alpha blocker lessened cytokine storms and decreased deaths, Vogelstein’s team reported in the journal Nature in 2018. And, the researchers found, the treatment didn’t seem to harm other aspects of the immune response.

Staving off the storm

As the COVID-19 pandemic escalated in the United States over the past few months and severely ill patients presented with cytokine storm symptoms, the idea of testing alpha blockers in humans has become more urgent, Vogelstein’s team recently argued in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

To obtain approval for an alpha blocker clinical trial, Vogelstein’s team first surveyed medical claims data. They combed through records from people hospitalized for pneumonia and acute respiratory distress and analyzed whether patients’ outcomes were better if they had been taking alpha blockers for unrelated conditions. The team’s tentative conclusion: taking alpha blocker drugs correlated to a lower risk of death from respiratory distress.

On its own, that’s not strong enough evidence to prescribe the drug for a wholly new disease like COVID-19, says Susan Athey, an economist at Stanford University who collaborated with Vogelstein’s team on the claims analysis. But it helps bolster the case for the team’s clinical trial.

In the trial, COVID-19 patients will take gradually increasing doses of an alpha blocker called prazosin, sold under the brand name Minipress, over six days, says Chetan Bettegowda, a neurosurgeon at Hopkins who is helping to design and run the trials. Then, the team will evaluate whether people who received this treatment had a lower ICU admission rate or ventilator use than patients who received the standard treatment. They’ll follow each patient for 60 days, but preliminary data from the first patients could be available within weeks to months, Bettegowda says.

If the trial’s results suggest alpha blockers are safe and effective, the team hopes to run a second trial with patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 but are not yet hospitalized. They’re also encouraging colleagues at other hospitals to join their clinical trial efforts, to gather patient data more quickly.

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Dementia symptoms: Three warning signs in your sleep to watch out for

Dementia is a terrifying prospect because there is no known way to prevent it and it becomes increasingly destabilising for the person affected and their loved ones. Dementia is not a disease in itself but a collection of symptoms associated with brain damage. Spotting these symptoms can be tricky at first because they can be easily confused with general defects of ageing.

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It is imperative to stay alert to the warning signs of dementia because the sooner you receive a diagnosis, the sooner you can take steps to slow the onset.

There are a number of symptoms associated with sleep that may help you spot dementia.

In fact, according to Dementia UK, sleep disturbance is very common in dementia, with a significant percentage of people with dementia experiencing disturbed sleep at some point in their condition.

“This may involve people waking up during the night confused, sleeping during the day and being awake at night, waking too early as well as an increase in restlessness in the early evening or night making it difficult to get to sleep,” explains the health body.

Sleep can be particularly worrying for people with Lewy body dementia.

Lewy body dementia, also known as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s.

As Dementia UK explains, many people with Lewy body dementia experience REM sleep behaviour disorder, which can cause vivid nightmares and violent movements during the night, insomnia, excessive daytime sleeping and restless leg syndrome.

Understanding the link between dementia and sleep disturbances

According to Dementia UK, these problems arise as dementia can affect the part of the brain that controls our circadian rhythms, otherwise known as our body clock.

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“This leads to a disruption in the sleep/wake cycle and can be extremely difficult to manage both for the person but also their family carers,” explains the health body.

In addition, people with dementia may be experiencing other problems which can disrupt sleep, such as anxiety, depression or untreated pain.

“They may have decreased activity during the day or may struggle to relax if they are in an environment that feels unfamiliar,” says Dementia UK.

As the health site points out, this may be even more difficult during the coronavirus outbreak, as many usual routines and levels of activities have been reduced causing increased levels of distress for families.

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Why sleep is critical for someone with dementia and tips to aid the sleep-cycle

“Good sleep hygiene for the person with dementia and the carer can help to reduce difficulties such as avoiding caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals prior to bedtime,” explains Dementia UK.

What does the health site recommend?

Trying to maintain a regular routine and including some exercise and/or activity during the day is important as is reducing the frequency and length of any daytime napping if possible.

“A good environment for sleep is essential which includes making sure the temperature is not too hot or too cold and reducing noise or bright lights,” says the health body.

Other key tips

If the person with dementia needs to get up during the night to use the toilet, try using a low level light and keeping the light on in the bathroom so they are less likely to disturb others, says Dementia UK.

“Having a night light and a clock which indicates day and night may help orientate someone with dementia and reduce distress,” it adds.

Sleep and dementia risk

Certain sleep routines may raise your risk of developing dementia too, research has found.

According to a study conducted by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, sleeping more than nine hours per night was linked to a decrease in memory and episodic learning, both risk factors of dementia.

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Parkinson’s disease: The lesser-known symptom which lies in your bowel movements

Parkinson’s disease gets progressively worse over time but picking up  the condition early on can help those affected to manage their symptoms and maintain  quality of life for as long as possible. Finding little clues help one to identify the condition in the early stages and constipation has been described as one of the lesser-known signs.

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Constipation is a common complication of Parkinson’s disease.

Many people who have Parkinson’s disease notice difficulties with constipation before they notice motor symptoms such as tremor or stiffness.

Constipation may appear years before other symptoms of Parkinson’s, and often appears before a diagnosis is made.

Signs and symptoms of constipation include having fewer than three bowel movements per week, passing hard, dry or lumpy stools, having to push or strain to have a bowel movement, painful bowel movements, feeling as though the rectum is blocked or a feeling as though the rectum is full, even after having a bowel movement.

Parkinson’s disease has a wide-ranging effect on the brain and the body, many of which researchers have yet to fully understand.

There are several factors attributing as to why constipation is prevalent with Parkinson’s.

People with Parkinson’s have a lack of dopamine which is a neurotransmitter involved in controlling muscle movement. 

The dopamine sends signals that helps the muscles to move.

People with Parkinson’s have a lack of this and therefore this makes it more difficult for the bowel muscles to push matter through the GI tract, leading to constipation.

Research suggests that Parkinson’s disease impacts the physiology and functioning of both the anus and rectum.

Researchers found that people who’d been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s were more likely to have reduced anal sphincter pressure.

This causes anorectal changes which causes constipation for Parkinson’s sufferers.

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Poor muscle coordination is another cause of constipation.

Parkinson’s disease weakens the muscles of the bowels and pelvic floor.

That means that those muscles may be unable to contract, or they might relax instead of contracting.

Either of those malfunctions can make it difficult for a bowel movement to occur.

The NHS said: “It’s thought around one in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease.

“Most people with Parkinson’s start to develop symptoms when they’re over 50, although around one in 20 people with the condition first experience symptoms when they’re under 40.

“Men are slightly more likely to get Parkinson’s disease than women.

“Although there’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, treatments are available to help reduce the main symptoms and maintain quality of life for as long as possible.”

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Amwell scores $194M, as telehealth business booms during coronavirus pandemic

This morning telehealth giant Amwell raised a whopping $194 million in a Series C funding. Allianz X and Takeda were among the participants this round. 

Amwell has a history of large funding rounds. In 2018 it raked it a cool $365.4 million in Series B funding, and in 2014 it raised $81 million.  

This latest funding news comes as telehealth gets its era in the spotlight, as providers and patients look for alternatives to in-person care due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“As we come out of covid there is going to be a newfound understanding of how digital plays a role in the fabric of healthcare. It is a new balance of physical vs digital,” Amwell President and CEO Dr. Roy Schoenberg, told MobiHealthNews last week. “With that comes that mature understanding that we are going to regularly care for our patients through telehealth. It is going to be part of the way our relationship happens.”

WHAT THEY DO 

Founded in 2006, Amwell is one of the largest telehealth companies in the U.S. Its offerings include virtual urgent care, pediatrics, telestroke, population health management, telepsychiatry and chronic disease management. 

It is able to work with health systems in order for them to create their own telehealth program that can integrate with the system’s EHR. Its markets also includes health plans, Medicare advantage plans, and employers. 

In mid-April, Amwell announced its new virtual-health offering geared towards small and medium physician practices with less than 100 providers.

Clinicians using the platform, dubbed Amwell Private Practice, will be able to begin scheduling virtual appointments for their existing patients. Amwell also noted that the tool is currently available to these practices through June 30, with fully waived per-provider fees.

WHAT IT’S FOR 

The company plans to use the new money to help expand its technology and services and help providers scale. 

“The past two months have accelerated telehealth by more than two years,” Ido Schoenberg, CEO of Amwell, said in a statement. “We intend to build upon this momentum to transform healthcare with digital care-delivery. Our strategic investors are providers, insurers, consumer gateways and healthcare innovators. Each of these partners play[s] a key role in creating a more interconnected digital healthcare ecosystem, where our mission is to deliver greater access to more affordable, high quality care.”

THE LARGER TREND 

It’s no secret that during the coronavirus pandemic rates of telehealth usage have skyrocketed. Teladoc, one of Amwell’s biggest competitors, announced a major spike in demand in its first quarter. In its April earnings call it disclosed that its year-over-year revenue grew 41%, from $128.6 million in 2019 to $180.8 million in 2020. It also reported that total visits grew by 92%.

“You have a perfect storm that says we need to fend all people’s healthcare concerns somewhere else,” Schoenberg said. “So, telehealth sort of stepped in to become the aggregator or the destination where people went to. … That translated in a matter of days or maybe a week. … Somewhere in the middle of March to what we see today which is a sustained about thirty-fold increase in volume. This is not 30%, this is not 300%, this is 3,000% of growth and increase in telehealth.”

 

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Adele's Former Personal Trainer Shares His Top Quarantine Health and Fitness Tips

Adele created a huge buzz when she posted a photo of herself with a new look and to celebrate her 32nd birthday on May 5.

London-based personal trainer Pete Geracimo is one of the health pros behind Adele’s fitness journey, having worked with the 15-time Grammy winner ahead of her 2016 and 2017 world tours.

"She quit smoking, reduced her drinking, got rid of sugar and stopped eating processed foods," Geracimo recently told PEOPLE. "She made healthier food choices and is training regularly."

The London-based trainer believes that there are lots of small, significant steps that you can take to keep in shape within the confines of your own home.



Set Your Timer

When it comes to getting the most out of a workout it's best to do mini circuits of exercises within a time limit. It keeps us focused on the task, pushes us to work harder to beat the clock, and stops us from wasting time procrastinating or being distracted by things in the house.

You will actually get the most out of your workout and spend less time doing it. I put a certain someone through her paces with mini timed circuits and, yes, I got an earful for it but it worked like a charm!

Challenge Yourself

One positive about being in quarantine is it allows us to work discreetly on things we're weak at in the comfort of our own homes. So in many ways, it's the perfect time to set ourselves daily challenges where we do an exercise or movement or whatever form we wish and progress it every day.

For example, learning to do a push-up. Start with one. Then with each passing day, add an additional repetition. You can even split the task to be performed in the morning and afternoon. You'll be surprised how quickly this will build your confidence and momentum and the next thing you know, you'll be doing 30+ push-ups in a row. Challenge accepted and beaten!

The Power of One

Another bonus of lockdown is that it allows us time to focus on our eating lifestyle so that we can filter out bad habits. A great rule of thumb that I tell my clients is to just change one thing and to do it for two solid weeks before attempting to change anything else. The problem most people face is that they try and change too much too soon and end up failing miserably.

Here's a list I told a certain songstress to slowly get rid of … processed food, sugar, dairy and reduce alcohol intake. I think you all know how that turned out! So, don’t do it all at once. Make it a gradual elimination.

All in Proportion

The one thing that I’ve been enjoying about being in quarantine is that I've reignited my love for cooking easy, creative meals again: 15-minute prep time dishes that take no time at all and include a diversity of ingredients.

Imagine yourself building your meal … pick a protein, pick some veg and pick a carb.

Now we all know that a big problem with today’s ‘diets’ is portion control. Everything seems to be super-sized. So, if you can't be bothered to measure out your food portions, a trick that I use when sizing up my food is to use my hands. One hand equates to the amount of total protein. My other hand equates to the combined total portion of carbs and fat.

Of course, nothing is more accurate than actually measuring your food. However, I’m realistic and know that people can't be bothered to measure. So, by eyeballing the measure and then ONLY eating until you feel satisfied and NOT stuffed, you can roughly get a good idea of the right portion size.

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