How the weather affects our health

July 16, 2010 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

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We all have heard the idiom „being under the weather.“ But there is some truth in this. The weather can affect our health, though not in the most obvious way in cases of extremely hot or cold temperatures. Here are some examples of weather-related health issues (source: WebMD):

Nonallergic rhinitis. Stuffy nose, scratch throat but anti-histamines do not help? Chances are, it is not allergy. Nonallergic rhinitis is frequently mistaken for allergic rhinitis and the reason is obvious: the signs and symptoms are the same. However the treatments are not the same. For nonallergic rhinitis, decongestants and nasal sprays might work. However, doctors warn against self-medication.

Asthma. Depending of what triggers the asthma, weather changes can result in inflamed airways. Thunderstorms, for example, can trigger asthma by generating winds that carry pollens closer to the group – and your nose. This, however, is only true for pollen-triggered asthma. Exercise-induced asthma can be triggered by cold weather. When we breath fast outdoors in the winter time, the air exchange doesn’t get to warm up. The airways are cooled down and react by swelling. The ozone in the air is another asthma trigger. The ozone levels tend to be high on very hot days.

Migraines. What triggers that splitting headache? No one really knows but each individual migraine sufferer can tell you what trigger their specific migraine and 53% of those asked blame the weather. A friend of mine blames the current European heat wave for her worsening migraines. Others believe it is the cold winter wind. Experts think that sudden changes – be it temperature, air pressure, and air humidity can trigger migraines. Living in an area with more or less stable weather conditions help.

Depression. Winter blues is a real medical condition, brought about by lack of sunlight in the wintertime. No wonder that therapy for this problem is – go get some light!

Arthritis. Cold, damp weather can be hard on the joints, as arthritis patients would tell you. It is no wonder senior citizens with arthritic joints tend to move where it is warm: the Americans to Florida, the northern Europeans down south to Spain.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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