As if you needed another reason to enjoy some sunshine.
Welcome to April and the fresh start this time of year has to offer. This month's blog is going to discuss some research about the increasing sunshine we are hopefully all enjoying and the covid-19 virus. I'm sure we're all a little burnt out on this topic, but the research I will be sharing offers an easy prevention suggestion and hope of natural virus protection.
We are now one year and counting into a pandemic that has changed our world, and effected each of us, on many levels. The continued social distancing and lifestyle changes of the pandemic feel like they have been here for a lifetime, but in terms of science, the virus has happened in the blink of an eye. The research that is available is very limited and offers no long term data to support a reasonable treatment plan or cure for those who get symptomatically infected.
Depending on your viewpoint, the vaccine has offered many hope, but new data provided by the CDC shows that 5,800+ people who have completed their vaccinations contracted the virus in what are called breakout cases. Positive infection after vaccination is not uncommon and is even expected with all vaccines. Whether you are going to, have gotten, or are not getting the vaccine; these breakout cases highlight how important it is to give you body the best advantage of preventing this virus (and all other sorts of infections) with the tools nature has already provided. And the easiest/cheapest option is to get outside and enjoy the sunshine!
An article from the American Journal of Infection Control (see link #1 below) has identified a positive link between UV radiation and decreased covid-19 mortality rates. It is suspected that the decreased covid-19 rates found in the study's subjects living closer to the equator (and therefor getting more UV radiation) is due to increased Vitamin D levels. Other bodily reactions to sunlight that are not as well understood could be the reason for decreased covid-19 symptoms and more research is needed to identify what exactly is creating this effect.
If you take the millions of possible chemical interactions and variables associated inside the human body out of the equation, sunlight is still a great preventative medicine. More research (see link #2) from the American Journal of Infection Control shows that simulated UV light can inactivate the corona virus on surfaces in less than 15 minutes. This is extremely significant considering the virus can survive in specific (but typical) household settings for days. Sunlight has also been shown to reduce general bacterial levels on regular surfaces by nearly 50% compared to rooms without UV light exposure. (See link #3)
Although more research is needed on natural light; including the varying degrees of intensity and optimal exposure time, preliminary studies are showing significant findings that warrant more discussion and attention. So what are you waiting for, put on your shades and get outside already.
Take home message:
1. Prevention by boosting your natural immune system and general health is the easiest way to prevent disease, including covid-19.
2. Sunlight is medicine! You are meant to enjoy a healthy amount, just don't go overboard and damage your skin by getting burnt.
Link #1 - https://www.ajicjournal.org/action/showPdf?pii=S0196-6553%2820%2930574-5
Link #2 - https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/222/2/214/5841129
Link #3 - https://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40168-018-0559-4