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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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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Stomach bloating – the lunch food swap to ‘beat bloating’ and avoid trapped wind

Stomach bloating affects most people at some point in their lifetime, according to the NHS. But you could avoid feeling bloated by simply adding more cucumber to your daily diet, it’s been claimed.

Bloating can make the stomach feel swollen, hard, and it’s generally quite uncomfortable.

Your bloating pain may be caused by eating certain gassy foods, or by eating too fast or too much.

But, one of the best and easiest ways to limit your risk of bloating is to start eating more cucumber, it’s been revealed.

Cucumber is a great lunchtime snack for anybody that usually feels bloated due to its high water content, according to TV doctor, Dr Oz.

It’s a natural diuretic with a low fibre content; both of which help to release pressure inside the gut.

Eating cucumber can stimulate urination, which will subsequently make people feel slimmer, he added.

Everyone should consider eating cucumber on a regular basis to avoid feeling puffy, which can have a knock-on effect on our overall health.

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“This feeling is not only physically uncomfortable but also may affect our mood and self-esteem,” said Dr Oz.

“We all will experience bloating from time to time. Often caused by natural processes during digestion, bloating is typically triggered by the accumulation of fluid or production of gas in the body.

“The occasional puff up can be reduced through some wise food choices and lifestyle changes.

“If you’re already bloated, cucumbers can make a great tummy-flattening snack. The high water and low fibre content of these tasty vegetables can cause increased urination, which in turn, makes you feel slimmer.”

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Meanwhile, you could also lower your chances of stomach bloating by eating more bananas, he added.

The potassium in banana counteracts the effect of sodium in the body.

Sodium causes the body to retain water, and may lead to bloating.

Maintaining a balance between sodium and potassium is crucial for water balance, he said.

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Your bloating pain could be caused by constipation, trapped wind, irritable bowel syndrome, or even by swallowing too much air.

You could swallow air by drinking through a straw, or by talking with your mouth full of food.

People are more likely to feel bloated after a big weekend – especially around the festive season.

Speak to a doctor if your bloating symptoms don’t go away, said the NHS. It could be caused by something more serious, including ovarian or bowel cancer.

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Mental Health Awareness Week: How YOU can help others this week

This year’s theme for Mental Health Week is kindness – something that has been at the forefront of peoples minds due to recent events. High profile suicides, such as that of Caroline Flack, have recently brought the dire effects of what having poor mental health can do to a person and their loved ones.

The aim of Mental Health Awareness week is to drive conversations about mental health and encourage kindness and thoughtfulness between people.

Kindness is an innate human quality but it’s easy to forget to be kind as we become consumed with ourselves – especially given the current circumstances.

The week is particularly relevant this year, as coronavirus continues to kill people around the world and millions are still under lockdown regulations, leaving almost no corner of the world unaffected.

The NHS defines ‘good mental health’ as ‘a positive state of mind and body, feeling safe and able to cope, with a sense of connection with people, communities and the wider environment.’

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Mental health is really no different to physical health – everyone has it, and you need it to be good to live freely, without problems.

How can I support others?

It can be difficult for everyone involved when a loved one is suffering from bad mental health, and it can be extremely upsetting watching someone get worse.

Poor mental health affects one in four people each year – so it’s important to recognise the leading signs that someone might be getting ill.

Leading mental health charity Mind has plenty of guides for specific disorders on its website, but below is a more general guide to approaching and helping anyone who you think or know has been struggling.

Show your support

If you know someone has been unwell, don’t be afraid to ask how they are. They might want to talk about it, or they might not.

But just letting them know they don’t have to avoid the issue with you is important.

Spending time with your loved one lets them know you care and can help you understand what they’re going through.

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Ask how you can help

Everyone will want support at different times and in different ways, so ask how you can help.

It might be useful to help keep track of medication or give support at a doctor’s appointment.

If your friend wants to get more exercise, you could do this together, or if your partner is affected by lack of sleep, you could help them get into a regular sleeping pattern.

Show trust and respect

Trust and respect between you and your friend or family member are very important – they help to rebuild and maintain a sense of self-esteem, which a mental health problem can seriously damage.

This can also help you to cope a bit better if you can see your support having a positive impact on the person you care about.

Don’t just talk about mental health

Keep in mind that having a mental health problem is just one aspect of your friend or family member’s life.

Most people don’t want to be defined by their mental health problem, so keep talking about the things you’ve always talked about together.

If you are struggling yourself, reach out to someone you trust and see if they can help you.

Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans free any time on 116 123 or email at: [email protected]

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Type 2 diabetes: The 60p vegetable shown to reduce blood sugar levels

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that can be brought under control if you commit to a healthy lifestyle. That’s because the primary threat posed by type 2 diabetes – high blood sugar levels, is kept at bay by healthy living. Diet holds the key to regulating blood sugar levels and certain rules must be followed.

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As the NHS explains, there’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.

The main culprits to cut down on are starchy items, such as bread, pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, breakfast cereals.

The reason for this is that starchy foods have a high carbohydrate content.

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

This also means that some foods present hidden health risks for people with type 2 diabetes.

It is important to get your five a day fruit and veg, for example, but you should opt for non-starchy vegetables to minimise the risk of high blood sugar levels.

Non-starchy vegetables are those which contain smaller amounts of carbohydrate.

In fact, the American Diabetes Association recommends dedicating half your plate to non-starchy vegetables.

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One particular non-starchy vegetable that has been shown to lower blood sugar levels is broccoli.

According to a study published in Science Translational Medicine, broccoli contains an ingredient that can help those with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar level.

A chemical found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and sprouts called sulforaphane is thought to be responsible for the blood sugar-lowering effect.

To identify the suitable compound, researchers used computer models to identify gene expression changes linked with type 2 diabetes, and then sift through thousands of chemicals that might reverse these changes.

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The study found participants who took the equivalent of around five kilograms (11 pounds) of broccoli daily saw a reduction in their blood sugar levels of about 10 percent.

According to the study researchers, that reduction is sufficient to reduce complications in the eyes, kidneys and blood.

The finding is not surprising.

According to Diabetes.co.uk: “Vegetables are one of the most powerful defences against complications and a plentiful intake of non-starchy vegetables is highly recommended for all people with diabetes.”

How do I know if I have type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes can be tricky to spot because the symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.

If symptoms do appear, you experience:

  • 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

You should contact your GP immediately if you recognise these symptoms, advised the NHS.

“Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems,” warns the health site.

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Hepatitis alert: Rats are infecting humans with deadly virus – 11 confirmed cases in Asia

Hepatitis E is a deadly viral infection that causes almost 50,000 deaths every year. Now, scientists have revealed that the virus is being spread to humans from rats, with many people not even aware that they have the disease.

On April 30, a 61-year-old man was hospitalised for abnormal liver function in Hong Kong.

Scientists were surprised to find that he had hepatitis E; although it was a strain of the virus that isn’t usually found in humans.

In fact, it was a type of virus that stems from rats, sparking concern that there were more people in the region unknowingly spreading a new infection.

But, they later discovered that he was the 11th person to be diagnosed with hepatitis E from rats in Hong Kong since 2018.

The virus can be transmitted to humans if rats contaminate our food or drinking water.

But, the scientists were particularly concerned as the most recent hepatitis patient didn’t have any signs of rat infestation at his home, and hadn’t taken any recent trips.

“Suddenly, we have a virus that can jump from street rats to humans,” said Dr. Siddharth Sridhar, the Hong Kong University who made the discovery.

He told CNN: “What we know is the rats in Hong Kong carry the virus, and we test the humans and find the virus.

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“But how exactly it jumps between them – whether the rats contaminate our food, or there’s another animal involved – we don’t know. That’s the missing link.”

It also doesn’t help that because the virus is relatively new, the incubation period and infectiousness of the disease are unknown.

The treatment used for human-based hepatitis E strain has also proven to be ineffective for the rat strain.

This may also be the tip of the iceberg, as hundreds of other ‘silent’ cases of the infection may exist.

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Hepatitis E is found all across the world, but it’s most commonly reported in East and South Asia.

In the UK, an average of 942 people have been diagnosed with the virus each year, over a five-year period.

It’s an illness of the liver, and it usually produces a mild disease.

But, symptoms can vary from person-to-person, and in some cases – mainly in pregnant women – it can be fatal.

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The most common hepatitis E symptoms include pale stools, a yellowing of the skin, and darkening of the urine.

Patients have also reported tiredness, a fever, committing, abdominal pain, and a loss of appetite.

The UK government has urged anybody who thinks they may have hepatitis E to speak to a doctor.

You could lower your risk of infection by cooking meat thoroughly, washing your hands before preparing and eating food, and by boiling all drinking water when you’re travelling.

(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)

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Beverley Callard health: Coronation Street star reveals she will be ‘medicated forever’

Beverly Callard is instantly recognisable as the face of Liz McDonald, the hapless heroine in Coronation Street. Liz has fought her fair share of battles over the years, with a string of failed marriages and long standing feuds. Unfortunately, Beverly’s life has not exactly provided a peaceful retreat from her character’s drama. 

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Beverly lives with bipolar disorder, a mental health condition characterised by volatile mood swings.

Beverly’s longstanding battle with bipolar drove her to attempt suicide at one point. 

Last year, Beverly provided an update on her mental health condition.

Speaking to the Daily Star Sunday, she revealed how medication helps to keep her symptoms at bay.

She said: “I’ll have to be medicated forever. I know I will have to take medication for the rest of my life. I am grateful it’s there.”

The Corrie star also gave an insight into how her mental health condition dictated her life: “It’s really weird, but when you’re in the depths of it you can’t talk about it. You can only talk about it when you’ve got better.

“So I wouldn’t be able to discuss anything if I wasn’t well. But once I’ve recovered I can try to champion the cause then to help people going through it.”

Bipolar symptoms – what to look for

According to the NHS, people with bipolar disorder have episodes of:

  • Depression – feeling very low and lethargic
  • Mania – feeling very high and overactive 

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“Episodes of mania and depression often last for several weeks or months,”  explains the health body.

As the health site points out, if you have bipolar disorder, you may have episodes of depression more regularly than episodes of mania, or vice versa.

Between episodes of depression and mania, you may sometimes have periods where you have a “normal” mood, it notes.

The patterns are not always the same and some people may experience:

  • Rapid cycling – where a person with bipolar disorder repeatedly swings from a high to a low phase quickly without having a “normal” period in between
  • Mixed state – where a person with bipolar disorder experiences symptoms of depression and mania together; for example, overactivity with a depressed mood

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How to treat it

Treatment for bipolar disorder aims to reduce the severity and number of episodes of depression and mania to allow as normal a life as possible.

If a person is not treated, episodes of bipolar-related mania can last for between three and six months, warns the NHS.

As Beverly will attest to, medication is usually the most effective means of stabilising moods right away, says Mayo Clinic. 

“Bipolar disorder requires lifelong treatment with medications, even during periods when you feel better,” says the health body.

Other treatments include:

Learning to recognise the triggers and signs of an episode of depression or maniaPsychological treatment – such as talking therapies, which help you deal with depression and provide advice on how to improve relationshipsLifestyle advice – such as doing regular exercise, planning activities you enjoy that give you a sense of achievement, and advice on improving your diet and getting more sleep

“Most people with bipolar disorder can receive most of their treatment without having to stay in hospital,” according to the NHS.

The health site continues: “But hospital treatment may be needed if your symptoms are severe or you’re being treated under the Mental Health Act, as there’s a danger you may self-harm or hurt others.

“In some circumstances, you could have treatment in a day hospital and return home at night.”

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Coronavirus symptoms: Deadly inflammatory fever in children is linked to COVID-19

Coronavirus may be more dangerous in children than first realised. Increasing support is linking the notorious virus with an influx of youngsters sent to intensive care.

Experts looked into eight cases of children who had been admitted to intensive care at Evelina London Children’s Hospital in mid-April.

They all suffered from “unrelenting fever, rash, and pain”, and had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.

This means they had been previously infected with coronavirus, but they did not test positive for the active virus while in hospital.

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The children – ranging in age from four to 14 – had inflammation of the heart and blood vessels.

This led to one child having a “giant coronary aneurysm”, and another passed away following a stroke.

GPs around the country have been issued a warning by NHS England alerting them to be on the look-out for symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease in children.

The NHS explains that Kawasaki disease mainly affects children under the age of five.

Symptoms of the disease include a high temperature – that lasts for five days or more – a rash, swollen glands in the neck and dry, and cracked lips.

Other symptoms include red fingers or toes, and red eyes.

The condition causes the blood vessels to become inflamed and swollen, akin to the symptoms the children presented in intensive care.

Scientists have now published a report in The Lancet journal suggesting that the children’s extreme symptoms could be linked to coronavirus.

It’s their view point that it may be a delayed immune response from catching coronavirus.

Seven of the eight children monitored were clinically obese, and six were from Bame (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Shelley Riphagen, who led the investigation, said a further 12 children with similar symptoms have been treated.

Dr Jeremy Rossman, a virologist at the University of Kent, said the findings were “very concerning”.

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Dr Mike Linney, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, added: “All of these children were extremely unwell.

“[They had] features suggestive of sepsis such as a persistently high temperature coupled with rapid breathing, cold hands and feet and sleepiness.”

However, Dr Sanjay Patel, a consultant at Southampton Children’s Hospital, wanted to reassure the public.

“It’s important to keep this in perspective,” Dr Patel began.

“It’s a very rare condition and parents shouldn’t be alarmed.

“It remains extremely unlikely that a child will become unwell with COVID-19 [coronavirus], and it’s even more unlikely that a child will become unwell with this condition.”

For those concerned about their children, or grandchildren, it’s best to follow your instincts.

Do not hesitate to call NHS 111 if you’re worried about a loved one.

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