With Covid-19 cases rising, several worried parents have started giving immunity boosters like vitamins C and D to their children.
Hetal Kukadiya, a mother of a three-year-old in Rajkot, said: “My neighbour suggested I give vitamin C tablets to my child. My child… has not faced any side-effects or other illness. I believe immunity boosters reduce the risk of being infected by Covid.”
Minal Godhaniya, a mother of a five-year-old at Porbandar: said, “I give Divya Amla Rasayan of Patanjali Ayurved to my girl. We believe it will improve her immunity and prevent her from getting infected.”
According to Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, the intake of vitamin C tablets depend upon the age. Children aged one to three years should consume 400 mg vitamin C tablets only if required. Those in the 4-8 age group should consume not more than 650 mg. However, parents give vitamin C tablets without considering their children’s age or consulting experts.
Devashree Joshi, from Ahmedabad said: “I have a four-year-old child. He often gets cough and cold with changes in weather. Therefore, we give him vitamin C tablets….”
Doctors warn unnecessary consumption of immunity boosters could cause serious diseases.
Dr V.K. Rathod, a Rajkot pediatrician, said: “Taking vitamin C regularly doesn’t reduce the chances of getting a cold. Further, I always recommend giving a vitamin C-rich diet to children rather than giving vitamin C supplements. Parents must consult experts before opting for any supplements.”
“It can cause more harm than good to those below five years. It may cause diseases such as arthritis, rheumatic diseases, etc. at an early stage. Also, it disturbs the growth of a child to higher extent. A well-balanced diet is enough to strengthen their immunity.”
Vitamin C tablets might cause severe side-effects like mouth ulcers, red eyes, muscle pain and fever.
Preeti N. Odedara, a homoeopathist at Porbandar said: “A child gets all nutrients from the food he/she consumes. If he/she doesn’t have any deficiency, then one must not give any supplements.”
Parents who face such issues blame information published in newspapers and on social media platforms.
Deepali Mehta, a mother from Ahmedabad, shared: “I didn’t consult any doctor before giving vitamin C tablets to my four-year-old. For the first few weeks, he didn’t have any side-effects. However, after consuming it continuously, he got mouth ulcers. The doctor said it is due to intake of vitamin C tablets.”
Pharmacies have experienced a rise in the demand for immunity-boosting supplements.
Manoj Kishore, an employee at Miraj Medical Stores, Porbandar, said: “The demand for vitamin C tablets has increased by around 80 per cent. Earlier, people used to buy them only if they have any deficiencies or on prescription by doctors. However, now most of the people buying vitamin C tablets don’t have prescriptions.”