Campaigning begins to provide at-risk groups in the UK with the vitamin D they need during COVID-19 self-isolation
With many people already at high risk of vitamin D deficiency being advised to spend three months self-isolating indoors, identifying the signs of low vitamin D levels and prescribing vitamin D3 has never been more important.
Huddersfield, UK. 16 April 2020 – As millions of elderly people and pregnant women are advised to self-isolate at home to reduce their chance of infection with COVID-19, Thornton & Ross is campaigning to ensure that healthcare professionals are supported to recognise and address the increased risk and consequences of vitamin D deficiency for these already high-risk groups.
Thornton & Ross are providing a range of educational resources on vitamin D, including a free CPD accredited e-module and a diagnostic toolkit. These contain information on the implications of vitamin D deficiency and its management in clinical practice. Their aim is to enable healthcare professionals to identify individuals who could benefit from licensed vitamin D supplementation to help them keep healthy – so they can continue to stay safe at home.
Why vitamin D?
With very little vitamin D in dietary sources, sunlight remains the main source.1 People following government guidelines to self-isolate for 12 weeks will inevitably experience a significant reduction in time spent in the sun. Elderly people and pregnant women are already at high risk of vitamin D deficiency2 and are also among those advised to self-isolate. This combination of factors could lead to those with undiagnosed deficiencies experiencing worsened symptoms and those not previously deficient being at increased risk of becoming so whilst self-isolating.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, and fractures in older people,3 and is associated with increased risk of pre-eclampsia in expectant mothers and life threatening complications in infants such as hypocalcaemic seizures.4 Wider awareness of the symptoms of deficiency/insufficiency, how to test and when to prescribe a licensed vitamin D supplement could alleviate pressure on the healthcare system in the short term by reducing appointments and hospitalisations, and provide better health outcomes longer term.
Healthcare professionals are continuing to provide care to the elderly and pregnant women, albeit at a distance. However, every virtual healthcare appointment is a patient who hasn’t been out to get their daily dose of sunshine. The need for measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable is undeniable, but it should not overshadow the potential impact that such measures may have on the health of the very people they aim to protect.
The importance of such considerations as healthcare professionals adapt their practice during the pandemic is outlined by Dr Suma Uday, a consultant paediatric endocrinologist at the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital who says: “During these uncertain times it is critical to consider how the response to containing the spread of COVID-19 could impact our patients, and adjust our practice accordingly. As healthcare professionals, supporting pregnant women, new mothers and specifically the vulnerable newborn through an anxious and stressful period of self-isolation is crucial. Hospitalisation in infants and children due to hypocalcaemic seizures and rickets are entirely preventable, simply by keeping vitamin D deficiency at the forefront of our minds and remaining aware of the need for supplementation. Reminding the at-risk population of the need for supplementation at each contact is a positive and proactive way for us to make a huge difference to both the mother and the baby.”
Increased awareness of the possible health consequences of self-isolation will benefit individuals at risk of vitamin D deficiency by ensuring those who need it are prescribed a licensed vitamin D supplement.
Roger Scarlett-Smith, President UK at STADA Group, said: “We are deeply appreciative of and grateful to the dedication of the NHS in recent weeks. We support all preventative approaches to ensure that the health of the population, particularly high risk groups, is protected to prevent unnecessary appointments and hospitalisations at this time.
“Identifying and treating those at risk of vitamin D deficiency could help reduce the need for hospitalisation during self-isolation. We are working to provide healthcare professionals with the information that they need. If supplementation is needed, prescribing a licensed vitamin D product provides extra reassurance. Fultium-D3 is formulated for all patient groups, with doses suitable for use during pregnancy and breast-feeding.5”
How to access the education
To learn more about vitamin D deficiency and the implications and management in clinical practice, you can access the free CPD-accredited e-module or download an infographic here. To request a copy of the diagnostic toolkit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Thornton & Ross
Established in 1922, Thornton & Ross grew to become the largest independent pharmaceutical manufacturer in the UK, before becoming part of the STADA group in 2013.
From a base in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, Thornton & Ross develop and supply a growing portfolio of healthcare products including leading brands such as Fultium-D3, Flexitol, Covonia, Hedrin, Cetraben and Metanium.
For further information on Fultium-D3 visit www.fultiumd3.co.uk
For further information
Please contact Jen Lewis, Pegasus PR
Tel: 01625 664118