Health

Child's Fatigue, Pain Has Parents Rethinking Sun Exposure Concerns

| by Sean Kelly

An 8-year-old girl in England was left with aches and pains from Vitamin D deficiency after her parents became too cautious of sun exposure. 

Hattie Benton’s mother, Fiona, said the trouble began several years ago around the holidays.

“It was Christmas 2013 and we'd all had flu but Hattie deteriorated,” she told The Daily Mail. “Then she developed hives and lower back pain which escalated to her groin and hamstrings.”

The worried parents took Benton to the doctor, who blamed the issues on growing pains. Fiona, however, wasn’t convinced. 

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“Hattie is usually so lively and energetic but she was utterly wiped out,” she said. “She was just about getting into school but wasn't able to do PE or even sit on the floor because she found it too painful. She would come home and go straight to sleep because she was so tired.”

A month later they returned to the doctor, who told them the pain was from a pulled hamstring. She was prescribed painkillers, but they did nothing to ease the daily pain.

A pediatric physiotherapist ultimately demanded that their doctor perform blood tests, which revealed the truth behind Benton’s intense pain and fatigue.

“They said her vitamin D was so far below the minimum level that they couldn't even measure it,” Fiona said.

Vitamin D deficiency is commonly caused by a lack of exposure to the sun through increased indoor activity and an overuse of sunscreen.

“As a parent, you want to protect your children against skin cancer and think you're doing the right thing, but it's possibly the wrong thing,” the concerned mother said.

Benton subsequently began taking a high dose of vitamin D on a daily basis and eventually recovered.

“I've been much more conscious of vitamin D deficiency since she was diagnosed,” Fiona said. “We use supplements and also try to get 15 minutes of sunshine every day in the summer if possible.”

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to other health complications, such as rickets, high blood pressure and osteoporosis, according to Liftbump.

Sources: Daily Mail, Liftbump

Photo Credit: Jalal Hameed Bhatti/Flickr, Robert S. Donovan/Flickr