Nature is reporting on scientific studies (performed internationally) looking into the reasons for a sharp jump in influenza during the later part of the year each year, particularly after the Winter Solstice. The Flu kills about 1 million people a year worldwide so there is a lot of interest in understanding how to prevent it besides simply immunizing 6+ billion people.
They found numerous causes for the seasonal spikes including: “Low relative humidity favours influenza virus aerosols, and indoor crowding facilitates transmission. Autumn brings young children together in schools, and Christmas travel mixes up previously separated populations.”
But they also found a slight but interesting relation to Vitamin D deficiencies which could be due to reduced sunlight during the Winter months. You can read the full assessment of the studies in the article above, but it makes me wonder if suntanning salons provide the body with the vitamins necessary to help combat the flu.
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