When I heard people at another drop-in centre had scurvy, I was taken aback. I had no idea this was an issue in a developed country such as ours. Symptoms of scurvy result from severe vitamin C deficiency. They include bleeding sores, tooth loss, anemia, and a reduced rate of healing for injuries. It can be fatal if left untreated. Scurvy is treatable with oral or intravenous vitamin C supplements.
With a little research I found that scurvy takes about three months to develop, although it can develop in as little as 4 weeks with a severe lack of vitamin C. It doesn't take much to prevent it. This is one of the reasons try hard to provide a vitamin C source in our meals/take home packages for our guests. Oranges, kiwi, strawberries, cantaloupe, red and green peppers, greens and broccoli are all good sources of vitamin C. For people on fixed income, or homeless, these items are difficult for them to access on a regular basis. Their living situation is a serious challenge to obtaining a healthy diet. If you have a limited budget, high fat, high calorie meals fill you up and you feel more satisfied than eating fruits and vegetables.
We will now be watching for symptoms of it in the guests who come to Oak Table, and we will certainly continue trying to prevent this disease.
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