This week marks the official change from winter into Spring: warmer weather, flowers, sunlight – Spring is in the air! Well, Spring fever is at least. Many places still have wind chills and snow, but the annual laziness is upon us all. Students and teachers waiting for Spring break or being less motivated after getting back from it; people dreading their pollen allergies or shift-in-weather sicknesses; and retail and food workers preparing for how much busier they will be in the next few months. Spring holds the idea of new beginnings and new life, but in the 1600s to mid 1700s Spring often came along with death.
Centuries ago Spring Fever or disease, also known as scurvy, was a very real and deadly disease that caused weakness, loss of teeth, swollen joints, and poorly healed wounds. Rather than Spring Fever it was more accurately an “End of Winter” fever as this disease stemmed from a severe lack of vitamin C due to fresh vegetables and fruits being impossible to come by in an 18th century winter. People’s bodies ate up whatever amount of vitamin C they had stored from last harvest and then ate up their strength just before spring time. Today, however, fresh produce is available year-round so the sickness is less known to us, but we still use the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” as a reminder.
We tend to use the term “Spring Fever” much more lightly nowadays to refer to “a lazy or restless feeling often associated with the onset of spring”(Merriam-Webster.com). Schools, as was mentioned before, are the best example: the warmer weather gives students a taste of summer which instead of making them work harder to finish the semester, makes them work slower because they have already fallen into the mindset of being free from academics (especially seniors). The last stretch of any semester is the hardest, but it’s worth it for the season ahead.
It’s not all diseases and sloth, though, as Spring is one of the most loved seasons. Springtime means longer days, festivals, sports, Cinco de Mayo, and being outside and actually liking it. The nice weather encourages us to enforce our New Year’s resolutions of walking more or going to the gym while also allowing children to play outdoors without catching a cold. It’s true we all suffer when we lose an hour, but studies from the Review of Economics and Statistics show that crime, specifically robberies, goes down 27% because of daylight savings and the extra hour of sunlight.
Whether you’re looking forward to it or dreading it, Spring is here and so are all the nice days and the allergies. So get out there and play with your dog, go see a concert, or stay home and curse the sun; whatever you typically do during this time of year. Just remember to get plenty of vitamin C and stay strong, school kids!