March 27th, 2008 - SPRING FEVER

By Dennis Gordon

Spring fever


A feeling of restlessness, excitement, or laziness brought on by the coming of spring.

After reading the definition of spring fever, I got really confused.  How can you feel restless and lazy at the same time?  How can you feel excited and lazy at the same time?  Well, maybe I can relate to this last one because quite often I feel excited about getting ready to lie down and take a nap and it doesn’t always have to be in the spring.  In many cases I guess you could call it summer fever, fall fever or even winter fever.

Spring fever can mean different things to different people.  Let us examine a few of the different types of spring fever and how it affects all of us differently.

Did you know that in past centuries, spring fever was actually a real disease?  This disease was very serious and often fatal.  It was called scurvy and was caused by the depletion of vitamin C in the human body. This depletion occurred because there were no fresh fruits or vegetables available in the late winters.

This loss of vitamin C, caused many people to feel weak, have swelling of the joints, loose teeth and poor healing of any wounds that they might have had.  It was called a spring disease because that was the time of the year that it occurred.

We do not have this problem in this day and age because of the advancement of our knowledge on how to store and keep fresh fruits and vegetables, and no, they are not called “left-overs.”

Also with the advent of modern day vitamins, many people who do not like or eat fresh fruits and vegetables are able to get the needed vitamins that their bodies require.

This feeling of listless and weakness has continued into our times as the loss of ambition that accompanies the first few warm days of weather in the spring.  This is what we now refer to as “spring fever”.

Another type of spring fever that could be attributed to the feelings of restlessness and excitement may have to do with what Lord Tennyson stated when he said, “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”.  Not only does this occur in humans who are normally serious-minded and under this spell become giddy and love starved, it also appears in nature as well.

Animals automatically know that this is the time of the year for love and procreation.  This is the time of the year that plants begin their rejuvenation and all living things since time began start over again to continue the cycle of life.

So, when a person is under this type of spring fever, it would fall under the first part of the definition with a feeling of restlessness and excitement.

Another type of spring fever with a feeling of laziness, researchers have contributed to the lack of light during the winter months.  The scientists call this “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” or SAD.  Although most of the signs and symptoms of SAD appear during the winter, some people are affected most during the spring.

Now, for the explanation for the type of spring fever that most of us experience.

It has been proven that the natural change that our bodies are going through this time of the year is the real culprit for spring fever. Those of us who feel guilty, or someone just trying to make us feel guilty, should be ashamed that we blame others or ourselves for this natural feeling of laziness.

As the outside temperature starts to rise, our bodies have to get rid of excess heat.  The way this happens is that our blood vessels start to dilate so that the blood can be carried closer to the body surface where the heat can be lost more quickly to the outside air.  The general feeling of laziness is simply the result of the work going on in our bodies, shifting our blood circulation to cope with a warming of the season of spring.  These feelings should only last for a few days until our bodies get acclimated to the changes in the weather. 

So as warm weather approaches, I’m starting to get highly excited about the prospect of taking afternoon naps and not feeling guilty about it. I think I’ve got the definition  pretty well covered. Now, I just have to convince my wife.


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