How Sudden Weather Changes Affect Your Health
In much of the United States, having four distinct seasons apparently isn’t enough. Within those seasons, we have lots of dramatic shifts, with temperatures abruptly rising or falling or storms developing almost instantly and moving out as quickly as they came in. Sharp left turns in our conditions can be jarring to our systems. Sudden weather changes affect your health in a number of ways. Here’s how you can weather that weather—whether it’s hot, cold, or rainy.
Barometric Pressure Headaches
When the mercury drops suddenly or a heavy weather system comes rolling in, we seem to feel it in our skulls. Some people even claim to know that bad weather is on the way because their splitting headache tells them so. But if the barometric pressure is dropping rather than rising with the arrival of a storm, why would that make people feel as if the atmosphere is crushing their heads? The answer lies in our blood vessels. When it’s time to accommodate a pressure drop, our blood vessels dilate to bring more oxygen to the brain. However, with this dilation can come discomfort, which many of us feel as the weather changes abruptly.
Mold and Pollen Activity
When the weather warms up ahead of schedule or a cold front tricks certain plants into believing autumn is on the way, they may start prematurely producing pollen. If you have pollen allergies, this burst of plant matter in the air can put your immune system into high gear as it acts as if there are heavy pathogens all around you—certainly, enough to spoil the beauty of an early bloom. Those dramatic summer thunderstorms leave behind moisture which can propagate mold growth and spore dispersal, spelling trouble for people with mold allergies.
Sudden changes in weather can affect your health particularly if you suffer from asthma. Quick shifts to warmer or colder air can trigger attacks in many sufferers. Both excessively warm and cool air can constrict the airways, leading to shortness of breath. That mold and pollen that causes simple allergic rhinitis in most allergy sufferers travels well in warm air, which can cause allergic asthma attacks in the spring and summer.
Colder Temperatures: More Favorable To Viruses
If we weren’t well aware of it before the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now: most viruses do much better in the cold. Colder temperatures encourage many viruses to develop a stronger exterior, while ultraviolet light from the sun can quickly denature structurally weaker viruses. With a sudden shift to colder weather, our bodies face new threats from tougher viruses—not to mention that the weather discourages us from lower viral loads in the great outdoors.