Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Can a century old remedy help us fight the Corona virus?

Can a treatment from 100 years ago teach modern medicine about fighting the 2020 corona virus?

It seems like grandparents were right. When I was sick as a child, they used to tell me that all I needed was fresh air. There is truth in it and as you see below, fresh air and sun has saved millions of people from pandemics.

The 1918 Spanish flu, also known as the great pandemic (see below why), infected more than a 25% of the worlds’ population killing as many as 17-100 million people.

Quarantine was the order of the day and sick people were housed in hospitals and barracks.

Make shift hospital 2The mortality rate was fairly high – as much as 40% of those treated in hospitals never made it out alive. The pressure on medical facilities was so great that makeshift hospitals were set up in halls and school gyms.

Many of the infected were soldiers returning home from fighting the first world war. Some Doctors had an inclination that since the soldiers were cooped up on ships and barracks that were poorly ventilated, that they needed some fresh air.

Tent cities used to house sick during 1918 Spanish flu

They placed the sick in tent cities where they could get plenty of fresh air. When possible, they were moved outside to get some sun too.

In essence, they were following up on what John Coakley Lettsom did in London in the early 1800’s to treat what would later be described as TB.

It was called “open-air” therapy.

It seems that breathing fresh air, being exposed to sun light and following extreme hygiene had a remarkable effect on recovery rate with only 13% fatalities in outdoor tented hospitals as opposed to 40% in normal hospitals.

Open-air therapy was used extensively to treat many ailments until Penicillin, an anti-biotic, was available widely from the 1950s onward.

Today we face a grave threat from the fast spreading corona virus. We are told to flatten the curve by staying at home and practice social distancing.

early attempt at social distancing

Instead of only playing Xbox or Sony PlayStation, and trying to see if we can watch the entire content library on Netflix, why not spend some time outdoors in the fresh air.

That probably means your patio, garden, pool side or balcony.

Eat, read, relax, lie and tan outside. Spend time with your family and loved ones.

Do it both night and day.

You never know. It worked wonders 100 years ago and should work well today.

Watch what do at Mobelli to keep our spaces clean.

If you liked what you read, check out Alon’s letter to our customers and staff titled – Not your normal Corona virus letter.


  1. National Library of Medicine
  2. Coronavirus and the Sun: a Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
  3. Wikipedia – Antibiotic
  4. Google – open air treatment

PS – interestingly enough, the Spanish flu did not originate in Spain. In fact, Spain was not even particularly hard hit by it. The flu spread during the first world war. Spain was a neutral country at the time and did not have strict war time censorship like the USA, Britain and France.

The unrestricted reporting in Spain, made it look like this was the country most affected by the flu and the name Spanish flu stuck.

Got some time on your hands? Check out some of our furniture inspiration here