COVID: Effectiveness of Vitamins among Children

In the age of COVID-19, many health officials have stressed the need to maintain a healthy diet. But are there specific concerns about diet, nutrition or the effectiveness of vitamins among children with special and/or complex healthcare needs? 

“Vitamin deficiencies present themselves in a child with special healthcare needs,” said Gina Salvatori, a registered dietitian with CHC Solutions, Inc. “The risk of deficiency is greater in the special needs community due to numerous issues that make it difficult for those kids to meet their nutritional needs.” 

A nutrition-focused physical exam is one way to identify vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The other is traditional bloodwork. 

The biggest obstacle to getting sufficient vitamins, Salvatori said, is a feeding difficulty, such as oral motor issues, limited volume and variety of foods children are able or willing to eat.  

Here are some signs that a child might be experiencing a vitamin deficiency, according to the National Institutes of Health
  • Hair – if easily plucked with no pain, or if it is also dull and dry, may indicate a protein or essential fatty acid deficiency. 
  • Face – an unhealthy pale appearance may indicate an iron, folate, vitamin B12 or vitamin C deficiency. 
  • Lips – soreness or burning may indicate a riboflavin deficiency. 
  • Tongue — a sore, swollen or “raw-beefy” red tongue may indicate a folate or niacin deficiency. 
  • Gums – swollen, spongy or retracted gums may indicate a vitamin C, niacin, folate or zinc deficiency.  
  • Teeth – gray-brown spots may indicate excess fluoride intake. 
  • Skin – eczema may indicate a riboflavin or zinc deficiency. 

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If anyone has any questions about nutrition, they can reach Gina Salvatori, a registered dietitian with CHC Solutions, at

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.