How the Weather Can Affect Your Health

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The Weather Can Affect Your Mind and Body in 7 Ways
The Weather Can Affect Your Mind and Body in 7 Ways
The weather forecast can tell you a lot more than if you’ll need an umbrella or a coat. Rain, wind, sleet, and snow all have an impact on your health. With these suggestions, you can reduce the downsides.

It’s not just your imagination: a change in the weather can have an impact on your mind and body. Each season brings its own set of obstacles, such as fewer daylight hours and fluctuations in air pressure, humidity, and temperature. On the other hand, weather changes can induce chemical imbalances in the brain, which can provoke headaches, and it’s been stated that roughly 7% of Americans suffer from the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) throughout the fall and winter months. We asked experts to explain how the weather influences health in the most frequent ways and how to stay healthy and safe throughout the year.

family members who are not at home

  1. How Does the Weather Influence Your Mood?
    You may experience a seasonal slump in the fall and winter due to the lack of sunlight. According to Patricia Farrell, Ph.D., a psychologist in Tenafly, NJ, “light is one of the essential variables in the mood.” Reduced sunlight can produce internal clock disruption and a blue mood, which is a hallmark of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

According to Nitun Verma, M.D., of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, being in bright light first thing in the morning can practically replace sunshine. In your bathroom, use the highest wattage lightbulbs feasible. Try Amazon’s GE Lighting Reveal HD LED 9-watt (60-watt Replacement) 2-pack for $5.97. Regular exercise (15 minutes of brisk walking) helps keep your mood in check by releasing endorphins.

According to a growing body of evidence, spending time in nature can also help you cope with stress, worry, and depression. If you can’t go to a park or hike, Farrell suggests practicing your green thumb with houseplants, which can have a similar calming effect.

  1. You and Your Heart
    Extreme temperatures can strain the heart, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke in those with atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque, cholesterol, and fats on the arterial walls. Blood arteries constrict at cold temperatures, making the heart work harder to circulate blood.

Avoid overexertion on extremely cold or hot days. Don’t shovel heavy snow or undertake difficult yard work; for example, if you don’t exercise frequently, says Jennifer Haythe, M.D., co-director of Columbia University Medical Center’s Columbia Women’s Heart Center. Avoid direct sunlight during the hottest hours of the day to avoid overheating (noon to 3 p.m.).

  1. Allergies that are only present throughout certain times of the year
    The severity of allergy season is influenced by the weather since pollen and mold (both indoor and outdoor) are primarily responsible for symptoms, which are controlled by temperature and moisture. According to Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, a warmer-than-normal winter causes trees to pollinate earlier, causing symptoms to appear earlier and last longer; hot spells in spring can result in more intense periods of pollen released, and early snowmelt or wetter spring can intensify mold.

Depending on when it rains, it can be a godsend or a curse for seasonal allergy sufferers. A moist spring encourages rapid plant growth, which can trigger allergy symptoms that appear suddenly and aggressively. However, rain can temporarily relieve itchy eyes and a runny nose by washing away pollen from trees, grass, and weeds in the spring, summer, and fall. Dry, windy weather can exacerbate symptoms because pollen and mold are carried by the wind.

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Know when pollen and mold season is at its highest in your area, and avoid being outside for long periods of time during those times. Close all doors and windows, and remember that pollen levels are highest before 10 a.m.

Consult an allergist if you experience allergy symptoms on a regular basis. According to studies, allergy shots help roughly 85 percent of persons with hay fever, which is characterized by itchy noses and eyes, as well as inflammation produced by pollen.

  1. Skin Problems
    Winter is generally a season of skin dissatisfaction. According to dermatologist David Bank, M.D., “the dry outdoor air and interior heat cause the skin to lose moisture and become red, dry, and itchy.” Many common skin problems, such as rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis, can be made worse. Hot temperatures and exposure to the sun, on the other hand, can aggravate these disorders (as well as skin in general) by dilation of blood vessels and increased blood flow to the skin.

Hydrate, moisturize, and shield your skin after showering; pat moisturizer on damp skin to seal in moisture. Consider using a humidifier if you live in a dry region or during low-humidity seasons. Wear sunscreen when you’re outside (even in the winter), and if it’s windy, cover your face with a scarf to avoid chafing.

  1. Pains and Aches
    There is some truth to the phrase, “I can feel the storm coming in my bones.” According to Vinicius Domingues, M.D., a rheumatologist in Daytona Beach, FL, a drop in barometric pressure can cause the shock-absorbing elements of your joints to become too stretched and achy or painful. “It’s also more typical for folks to experience swelling at that time.” Muscles can also tense in cold conditions.

It’s critical to stay warm. Heat increases blood flow, stimulates pain-relieving skin receptors, and relaxes muscles. Maintaining a regular workout plan also helps to prevent symptoms. Joints and muscles that are not used can become tight and uncomfortable. Yoga has been demonstrated to help with chronic back and neck pain, as well as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis discomfort.

Asthma is number six.
High heat and humidity, dry wind, rain, and extremely cold air can all provoke an asthma attack, according to Mendez. Asthma is an inflammation of the airways, and harsh weather can irritate the airways by changing the sort of air you’re breathing. For example, very humid air is heavier and more difficult to breathe. The bronchial tubes (part of your airways) become dehydrated when exposed to cold, dry air, narrowing and restricting airflow. Allergens in the air (pollen, mold) can potentially trigger an asthma attack.

Asthmatics should monitor the weather forecast and minimize outside activities when triggers are at their peak. Get the EPA’s free AirNow app, which is available for Apple and Android users, to keep track of air quality in your neighborhood.

  1. Migraines and Headaches
    Some people are referred to be migraine meteorologists because a drop in barometric pressure, which occurs before a front or storm sweeps in, is such a good predictor of a migraine episode. In one study, over two-thirds of migraine sufferers experienced attacks when the barometric pressure dropped, probably due to a reaction in the brain’s pressure-sensitive receptors. Migraines have been linked to both wind and sunlight (even brief 5- to 10-minute exposure to direct, strong sunlight).

According to Noah Rosen, M.D., director of the headache clinic at Northwell Neuroscience Institute in Great Neck, NY, dehydration produced by excessive heat and humidity can be another trigger for migraines and headaches in general since dehydration may play a role in the overall inflammatory process.

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If you know a storm is coming, use a long-acting pain reliever like naproxen (Aleve) or a prescription pain reliever to avoid a migraine. Because the weather is only one of many triggers, minimizing your exposure to others (caffeine, alcohol, and the dietary ingredient MSG) can help you avoid or mitigate an attack brought on by a drop in barometric pressure. Wear sunglasses and remain hydrated regardless of the season. Consuming fruits and vegetables high in water, such as watermelon and cucumbers, can also assist.

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