Is Spring Fever a Real Condition?

Did you know that spring fever is an actual disease? The moniker, that today connotes a yearning for fresh air, light and outdoor activities, used to mean a medley of maladies, including scurvy.

You probably think of spring fever as the time of year you can’t wait to shed winter wool sweaters and days indoors for watching crocuses pop and jogging outdoors in the sweet spring air. Yet spring is also the harbinger of seasonal discomforts like allergies, colds, asthma, Lyme disease, and sports injuries. Did you know that centuries ago it was the name for the time of year following winter when people would feel listless and weak and suffer from a dreadful disease? Find out all the reasons we think March is the best month of the year.

Spring fever was a real disease

Paul Janson, MD, an emergency physician affiliated with Lawrence General Hospital, notes in an article in Emergency Medicine News, that spring fever is an actual disease that has been around for centuries causing maladies such as swelling of the joints, loose teeth, and wounds that won’t heal. Back in the 18th century, scurvy was called “spring fever” or “spring disease” because it occurred right after the winter.

Spring disease, aka scurvy, was caused by a lack of fresh produce

Due to a lack of availability of fresh produce in the winter, people could not get enough vitamin C and started to develop signs of scurvy before the fresh fruits and vegetables became available. The old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” may have been rooted in the fact that apples are a great source of vitamin C that can be stored all winter long.

Today spring fever connotes a happy end to winter and its maladies

While the notion of spring puts a smile on most people’s faces, there is scientific proof that the season makes people feel better. A study referenced in Scientific American noted that a study of 500 people in the United States and Canada and found that the more time people spent outside on a sunny spring day the better their mood.” It is also well documented that people afflicted with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) begin to feel better in the spring.

Spring’s light is more like medicine than a disease

While for some, spring may be a fever, it’s the cure for even more. “There are numerous anecdotal pieces of evidence that some people feel energized, higher spirits and sleep better in spring,” says Kathryn A. Roecklein, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and seasonal mood expert, in an interview with NBC. “Light has two types of effects. First, it tells the circadian clock when dawn occurs, keeping our bodies synchronized to earth. Second, light has acute alerting effects that can make people feel less depressed, more alert, cognitively better able to process tasks, and more energetic within just a few minutes.” Along with sleeping better, people often eat lighter, smile more, and find great pleasure in spring cleaning. Read on to see spectacular photos that celebrate the joy of spring.

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Stacey Marcus
Stacey Marcus is a lifestyle writer and regular contributor to where she covers subjects ranging from zodiac insight and penguin secrets to trivia and trends. She earned a BA in Communications from Simmons University. When not pitching story ideas and cherry picking words, she can be found capturing sweet moments with her fluffy dog and office mate Theo.