Time Outdoors Can Keep You Healthy
You may have noticed that being outside, especially in places like a forest or on a beach feels good. In fact, time outside is an investment in your health. Sunlight allows our body to produce vitamin D to support a healthy immune system. Wandering through a forest we inhale compounds given off by trees and plants that also energize the immune system.
Fresh air and sunlight can also help us recover from illness. The 1918 flu pandemic was the deadliest flu of the 20th Century. In the United States so many people were sick that they were housed in tents and put outside to breath the fresh air and bask in the sunlight. They didn’t know why it worked, but"open air therapy" was commonly used to treat soldiers in the Great War in Europe. We would later learn that fresh air is a natural disinfectant killing flu bugs. Sunlight also kills bacteria and stops flu viruses. If one report is correct, fresh air and sunlight reduced deaths among hospital patients from 40% to about 13%.
Open air treatment for respiratory ailments including tuberculosis would continue until it was replaced by antibiotics in the 1950s.
Coronavirus is new and we don’t know for sure how effective fresh air and sunlight might be. But the treatment is free and fun. So, if you are like me and you like free and fun; get outside--every day!
For more information:
The Coronavirus is Heading Your Way. Grab a Tree and Hold On
Coronavirus and the Sun: a Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
Jeanne Christie (and Navia)