Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Could Sun Valley Have Flu Fighting Weapon?
Thursday, March 19, 2020


Could Sun Valley have an edge when it comes to dealing with the coronavirus?

We’ll probably never know. But it’s tempting to wonder if the sun—something Sun Valley’s had plenty of this winter—might aid at least in recovery from the coronavirus and other flu.

An article by Richard Hobday in “Medium” notes that records from the 1918 influenza pandemic suggest that the sun was very helpful in reducing deaths during the 1918 Spanish influenza.

Medics found that severely ill flu patients nursed outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors during that epidemic. A combination of fresh air and sunlight seems to have prevented deaths among patients and infections among medical staff.

Research does show that outdoor air is a natural disinfectant. Sunlight is germicidal and fresh air can kill flu virus and other harmful germs, the article says.

Of course, one has to wonderful if the fresh air would have as noticeable an impact today given today’s better ventilation and antibiotics, which became widely used in the 1950s

In 1918 overcrowding and bad ventilation in military barracks and ships put soldiers and sailors at high risk. A medical officer in Boston noticed that the most seriously ill sailors had been in badly ventilated spaces. So, he gave them as much fresh air as possible by putting them in tents. And, when the weather cooperated, he took them out of their tents putting them in the sun for some open-air therapy.

One report said it reduced deaths among those patients from 40 percent to 13 percent.

Open-air therapy was also used on patients with tuberculosis. And military surgeons during World War I routinely used sunlight as a disinfectant to heal infected wounds as sunlight synthesized vitamin D in the skin.

Ironically, low vitamin D levels now are linked to respiratory infections and believed to increase susceptibility to influenza. Vitamin D strengthens immune systems.

Still authorities have said they don’t know how the coronavirus will react to more direct sunlight and the warmer temperatures of spring and summer, which generally sends more typical flu strains into hibernation.



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