Te Whanganui-a-Tara – This is not the sort of good news Kiwis want to hear at the end of summer, but new research has shown sunbathing could reduce the risk of dying from coronavirus.
Scientists say sunbathing causes the skin to release a chemical that dampens inflammation and alleviates coronavirus symptoms and can help it from developing into a more life threatening disease.
A study conducted by the University of Edinburgh has revealed the unusual findings after they investigated the impacts of sunlight exposure.
Looking at people in the UK, Italy and the US, the team found that the areas with the highest level of UVA rays were the ones with the lowest coronavirus deaths.
The Edinburgh research leader Dr Richard Weller says there is so much people don’t understand about covid, which has resulted in so many deaths worldwide.
“These early results open up sunlight exposure as one way of potentially reducing the risk of death.”
The team have suggested that the findings could be used as a simple public health intervention to help the mortality rates remain low.
Researchers considered factors known to be associated with increased exposure to the virus and risk of death.
These included age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, population density, air pollution, temperature and levels of infection in local areas. Previous research has shown sunlight also improves cardiovascular health.
An earlier Harvard University study found that among nearly 30,000 women in Sweden, who were each monitored for about 20 years, those who spent more time in the sun actually lived longer and had less heart disease and fewer non-cancer deaths than those who reported less sun exposure.