(I just love this word. Scurvy, scurvy, scurvy).
You may have heard of it. It's a disease cause by a Vitamin C deficiency, and cured by drinking a gallon of OJ.
But let's talk a little more about this. Here, have a clementine while we chat.
What is Vitamin C? It's a chemical, also called ascorbic acid, which is needed by the human body to make collagen.
What do humans have in common with Rodents of Unusual Size (ROUSs, or capybaras), guinea pigs, and bats? None of us can make our own Vitamin C. We need to get it from our food. Most animals and all plants can make their own Vitamin C.
|Capybara. I should like to have one. (Source: Wikipedia)|
What are the signs of scurvy? Malaise and tiredness, bleeding gums, bruising, petechiae (little blood freckles), poor wound healing, bloody gums, and shortness of breath.
What if I have a really, really bad case of scurvy? Swelling in the limbs, nerve problems, seizures, and death can occur. Not fun.
Can I get scurvy if I eat nothing but boxed macaroni and cheese, three times a day? Yes. Do not do this.
If you get Vitamin C from citrus fruits, then why do Eskimos never get scurvy? Because liver and fresh meat (from animals that make their own Vitamin C) provides enough to prevent scurvy.
How long have humans known about scurvy? Since ancient times. Hippocrates knew of it, as did the ancient Egyptians.
Sailor factoid: in the 18th century, scurvy killed more sailors than were killed in combat. Long voyages with a lack of fresh fruit and meat and an abundance of preserved and cooked food (which destroyed Vitamin C) caused rampant scurvy that plagued sea voyages for centuries. Arrr, that sucks.
So...I should eat a ton of Vitamin C, then, right? Actually, anyone reading this blog probably already eats more than the daily requirement of Vitamin C without trying. So, don't eat a crate of grapefruit every day. Be warned. There is such a thing as Vitamin C toxicity.
If you've got a fictional medical question, let me know!
All I ask is that you become a follower and post a link on your blog when I post your answer. This is for fictional scenarios, only. Please check out the boring but necessary disclaimer on my sidebar. :)
And don't forget . . . one week from today is the official, exclusive cover reveal of CONTROL! Yay!