Thursday, January 30, 2014

1876: Colorado cures hay fever

Dr. George Beard lists the above approximate altitudes above sea level for
various areas of Colorado, stating that such high altitudes benefit people
suffering from hay fever and asthma. 
In the mid 19th century it was discovered, perhaps by mere accident, that higher altitudes present themselves to easier breathing. I already covered how tuberculosis patients benefited from sanatoriums set up in Denver, Colorado, and how later these TB sanatoriums were converted to asthma hospitals.  Yet did you know that hay fever sufferers also found relief in the centennial state.  

Vacationing to the State of Colorado was actually recommended as a remedy for hay fever in an 1876 book "Hay-fever; or, Summer Catarrh," by George Beard, president of the American Hay Fever Association.  He writes that:
In 1873 a pamphlet was issued under the indorsement of the Medical Association of Denver, Colorado, giving details of over one hundred cases of ordinary asthma and hay-fever that had been cured, or more or less benefited, by residence in or near that region. The Committee of Asthmatics, who represented the Asthma Association, state in their report that probably not one half or one quarter of those in Colorado responded to the call for information. They state, furthermore, that the amount of sunshine there is remarkable; from July, 1872, to December 29, 1873, there were but three days (excepting perhaps in June, 1873) when the sun was not seen.
Dr. Henry K. Steele, President of the Medical Association, in a brief report, states that "in the opinion of the above medical association the climate of Colorado, in and about the range of the Rocky Mountains, has a wonderful curative power over asthma; that nearly all such patients coming into this climate are relieved—at least so long as they remain here; and that all, if not entirely relieved, are sooner or later benefited, with the exception of those cases dependent on or complicated with organic disease of the heart or lungs.
 Dr. O. M. Bryan, of Colorado, writes: "I have known a few cases temporarily relieved by visiting Colorado. Persons suffering from hay-asthma are generally relieved soon after crossing the Missouri River. My opinion is that ninetynine cases out of every one hundred would be relieved, or cured for the time being, by visiting the Rocky Mountains.
It's just interesting to note the various studies and reports confirming the benefits of breathing the cool, sunny air of Colorado, or similar places.

Reference:
  1.  Beard, George M, "Hay-fever; or, Summer Catarrh," 1876, New York, Harper and Brothers, Publishers, pages 151-153

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