Spring is finally here, and for many people it’s a season for getting outdoors, getting active and getting healthy after a winter trapped indoors with limited movement. That’s why April is a great month for increasing your awareness of easy ways to help improve your health.
April 4 is Vitamin C Awareness Day. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that supports normal growth and development and helps your body absorb another essential nutrient, iron. This vitamin is often associated with boosting immunity as well.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, a healthy diet provides an adequate amount of vitamin C for most individuals. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for adults is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg a day. Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, megadoses of vitamin C supplements might cause:
- Abdominal cramps
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. Citrus fruits, tomatoes and tomato juice, and potatoes are major contributors of vitamin C to the American diet. Other good food sources include red and green peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe. Although vitamin C is not naturally present in grains, it is added to some fortified breakfast cereals.
It’s important to remember that a healthy, balanced diet provides an appropriate amount of most essential vitamins and other nutrients a body needs for growth and good health.
The importance of immunizing infants and other children
National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance highlighting the importance of protecting children two years and younger from vaccine-preventable diseases. This year, NIIW is being observed April 24-May 1 and it’s particularly critical for families to stay on track for children’s routine checkups and recommended vaccinations in light of the general health concerns and disruptions caused by COVID-19.
A CDC report released in May 2020 found a troubling drop in routine childhood vaccination as a result of families staying at home. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that children’s health stay protected and well-child appointments are kept even during the pandemic. As in-person learning and play become more common, on-time vaccination is even more urgent to help provide immunity against 14 serious diseases.
The CDC and other health officials stress the importance of infant immunization and childhood vaccinations, highlighting these important facts:
- Newborn babies are immune to many diseases because they have antibodies they got from their mothers. However, this immunity goes away during the first year of life.
- If an unvaccinated child is exposed to a germ from a disease, the child’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as whooping cough, measles, and polio. Those same germs exist today, but because babies are protected by vaccines, we don’t see these diseases nearly as often.
- Immunizing individual children also helps to protect the health of our community, especially those people who cannot be immunized (children who are too young to be vaccinated, or those who can’t receive certain vaccines for medical reasons), and the small proportion of people who don’t respond to a particular vaccine.
- Vaccine-preventable diseases have a costly impact, resulting in doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, and premature deaths. Sick children can also cause parents to lose time from work.
If you would like to learn more about vaccines and immunization or schedule an appointment for your child, contact the pediatric healthcare professionals here at Community Health Connections.