Dear Willa Derewianka

She might or she might not.

Meat is a very good source of iron so if you don't eat meat you have to be very careful to eat lots of the other things that have iron, such as green, leafy vegetables like spinach and silver beet. Taking Vitamin C at the same time helps in absorbing iron. A good, healthy vegetarian diet with lots of fresh vegetables should do the trick.

But some people who don't eat meat get anaemic. That's when you don't have enough iron available to make the red stuff in your blood which carries oxygen around your body. It makes you feel tired all the time. There are other problems associated with it as well.

Along with birth control and literacy this is one of the biggest issues for women in poor countries. Millions of women in rich countries are anaemic too.

In this country it's very easy to get iron from the chemist or the health food store in tablets. But one of the things you should know about iron is that...

For the average kind of iron tablet that you get from the chemist...if a toddler was to take 6 of those he or she would die. Yes, that's right. As few as six could kill a small child.

Unfortunately for quite a long time a lot of iron tablets really looked like Smarties or M&Ms. There have been quite a few deaths from iron overdoses with little kids taking iron tablets thinking that they were sweets. So if you do ever have to take iron tablets you should keep those tablets in a very safe place .

Don't ever think that if you've forgotten to take an iron tablet for the last few days that you should take several day's worth at once. You could poison yourself.

If you have taken iron by accident then get straight to hospital. It's not a very good way to kill yourself. It's a very slow unpleasant death. If you go to hospital straight away they've got a special thing they can give you that collects up the iron and helps to stop it damaging you.

Yours sincerely 

Virginia R. Claire

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