When new, virulent diseases emerge, such SARS and Covid-19, the race begins to find new treatments for those affected and as the current situation unfolds, governments are enforcing quarantine and isolation, and public gatherings are being discouraged.
Health officials took the same approach 100 years ago, when influenza was spreading around the world. The results were mixed.
But records from the 1918 pandemic suggest one technique for dealing with influenza — little-known today — was effective - Open-Air’ Treatment.
Put it simply, medics found that severely ill flu patients nursed outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors. A combination of fresh air and sunlight seems to have prevented deaths among patients and infections among medical staff.
There is scientific support and research shows that outdoor air is a natural disinfectant. Fresh air can kill the flu virus and other harmful germs. Equally, sunlight is germicidal and there is now evidence it can kill the flu virus.
Open-air therapy, as it was known, was widely used on casualties from the Western Front, and it became the treatment of choice for another common and often deadly respiratory infection of the time; tuberculosis.
Patients were put outside in their beds to breathe fresh outdoor air. Or they were nursed in cross-ventilated wards with the windows open day and night.
The open-air regimen remained popular until antibiotics replaced it in the 1950s.
Rambling Salamanders are having similar approach to this current situation and we are remaining open and keep offering our own "Open-Air Therapy" outdoor programmes for young people and adults with supported and special needs.
We are still operating as normal, taking precautions and following advice from the government and Public Health England who have been providing regular updates.
Being based in England, we cannot guarantee having sun all the time , however we can make sure to be outside, in the fresh air as much as possible, quite possibly with some fresh rain too :)
You can read about our current walking programmes, day trips, weekends and walking holidays on our webiste.
The full length of this interesting article about Open-Air Treatment written by Dr. Richard Hobday can be found here;