No To Flu, Yes To Sunbeds!

A study shows that the risk of a flu epidemic occurring can also be influenced by vitamin D levels.

Winter is flu season. This is also due to the fact that viruses multiply best when humidity lies at around 50%, so in winter, heated rooms provide the perfect conditions. Flu vaccinations give some protection, however Norwegian scientists have shown that it is much more important to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D in the blood.

Their study reveals that infection rates and mortality during flu epidemics increase in line with a reduction in sun exposure and the resultant decrease in vitamin D levels. In winter, when sunlight is too weak to synthesise vitamin D, these rates can even increase 20-fold to 600-fold.

This is when moderate use of a solarium can work as an excellent preventive measure. A Norwegian and a Danish study have demonstrated that sunbeds stimulate vitamin D production via the skin in exactly the same way as natural sunlight.

"It is a proven fact that vitamin D boosts the immune system. Moderate sunbathing stimulates the production of vitamin D. Particularly in the winter months, when the sun is too weak to synthesise vitamin D naturally, it can make sense to visit a solarium to protect yourself against flu viruses", explains Ad Brand of the Sunlight Research Forum.

The Sunlight Research Forum (SRF) is a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands. Its aim is to make the latest medical and scientific evidence on the effects of moderate exposure to UV radiation available to the general public.

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Last revised: 27 November 2017
Next review: 27 November 2020