H umans are creatures of habit by definition. And this is something that we can even see regarding climate change. As sudden shifts in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, or anything else weather-related occur, our bodies react by trying to adapt to the new settings. But the human body needs time to adjust. When the transition during a weather change isn’t smooth, improper or late adaptation to current conditions can trigger illnesses.
You might have felt bad when seasons changed or if there were sudden temperature spikes without knowing that the weather was causing the trouble. This is what I want to talk to you about today; how weather changes affect your health. In some situations, you can get a hold of things to alleviate symptoms or avoid unwanted effects. You must be aware of the weather’s impact on your body first. So let’s stop wasting time and dive into our day’s topic to get you informed!
Although the list could get longer than this if we were to enter all the small details, we will limit the article to the 10 most important ways in which the weather directly affects your body. Without further ado, here is what you need to know:
#1 – Joint Pain
The soft tissues around your joints expand when the weather is cold or damp because of reduced air pressure. As the tissues extend, there is more pressure on your joints, which leads to pain. Luckily, you have two effective solutions to reduce the stress on your joints and get rid of the pain. For one, you can take medicines specifically intended to provide joint pain relief that pharmaceutical companies sell. Secondly, you can start exercising routinely, even during temperature changes. Your body is set in motion and warmed up when you are active. This alone helps loosen your stiff joints. There is also the added benefit of weight loss through exercise, which ultimately reduces joint stress since your body has less weight to carry around.
#2 – Difficulty Breathing
In low temperatures, the airway muscles tend to have spasms. This leads to shortness of breath as the spasms cause the airway to become narrower. It’s something we all experience, especially in winter when walking outside. That is why you should wear a mask or a scarf that covers your mouth and nose. Since your mouth is covered, your warm breath warms the air before you inhale it. As a result, you won’t have trouble breathing normally.
#3 – Vitamin D Deficiency
Sun exposure is one of the most optimal sources of vitamin D. When you are outside, sitting in the sun helps transform the stock of cholesterol stored in your skin into vitamin D13. When it’s cold, though, we inevitably prefer to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid the bad weather. Sure, this might keep you comfy since you are in a warm environment, and you don’t have to deal with snow or rain, but there is one downside – vitamin D deficiency.
Along with vitamin D deficiency in the body come issues like higher pain sensitivity, lack of energy, and muscle weakness. You will notice that the weather station indicates a low UV index in cold weather. This, combined with your lack of activity outdoors, naturally leads to the unwanted outcome of deficiency. However, there is a fix, one that I recommend you always turn to in bad weather. Make it a habit to increase vitamin D intake through different methods in periods when you sit indoors longer. Some of your best options include taking vitamin D supplements and changing your diet. The best food sources for vitamin D include beef liver, salmon, cod liver oil, fortified milk, fortified orange juice, and sardines.
#4 – Blood-Sugar Changes
A cold front spells terrible news for people with diabetes because it makes it much harder for them to control blood sugar levels. What leads to this occurrence is that cold fronts cause an increase in blood viscosity. Ultimately, this makes controlling blood sugar much more challenging for individuals who have diabetes. Therefore, you should avoid going outside in this specific weather or dress appropriately to diminish the unwanted effect.
#5 – Headaches and Migraines
You get headaches when brain blood vessels are constricted. When it’s cold outside, there is reduced blood flow to the brain. In turn, this leads to headaches. You can also suffer migraine attacks during weather changes like sun glare, extreme cold, or storms since these weather shifts cause chemical imbalances in the brain. No wonder most of us aren’t big fans of the cold; it can literally cause headaches!
#6 – Exacerbated Asthma and Allergy Symptoms
Inhaling cold air can easily trigger a severe coughing episode if you suffer from asthma or bronchitis. This happens due to the airways tightening because of the cold air. What I recommend is that you always have your inhaler with you when you go outside. Asthmatics aren’t the only people vulnerable to weather conditions, though. The same is valid for allergy sufferers. As seasons change, the weather gets warmer, and more allergens linger, their symptoms inevitably go haywire. So don’t forget to take your meds before allergy season to have as much control as possible over your body’s response to your surroundings.
#7 – Sinus Pressure
Feeling pressure in your sinuses is unpleasant but, unfortunately, unavoidable. It happens as barometric pressure changes, which often occurs with weather shifts. When the pressure changes, your sinuses instantly feel it. Aside from the sudden pressure in your sinuses, you can experience other unwanted symptoms, including facial pain, congestion, and sinus headaches. If the symptoms persist and the sinuses become inflamed and blocked, you might also get an infection.
#8 – Dry Skin
In winter, air moisture levels drop. In turn, your skin receives less moisture. To add to the problem, winds tend to be stronger in cold weather, drying and irritating the skin even more. You can’t control the weather outdoors, but you can ensure that humidity levels are elevated indoors by running the humidifier during the year’s cold months. When you go outside, you should use a primer that contains silicone for water loss prevention to protect your skin from the weather as much as possible. And, of course, ensure that you hydrate appropriately by drinking enough fluids daily.
#9 – Weak Hair and Nails
Even your healthy-looking hair and nails can fall victim to weather changes. The small blood vessels on your toes, fingers, and skin become narrower when it’s cold. As a result, blood flow is reduced. Fewer nutrients and oxygen are delivered to your hair and nails, weakening them. With freezing temperatures comes low humidity too, which causes the skin and nails to become dry and more prone to injuries and cuts. From this point of view, you might not have any control over the environment outdoors, but you can turn on the heat and a humidifier to keep the blood flowing normally and your skin and nails moist when indoors.
#10 – Low Energy
When there is less light exposure during the day, you might fall victim to seasonal affective disorder. This condition causes excess production of SERT, a chemical that lowers serotonin levels. With the feel-good hormone reduced, you start to feel lethargic and lacking energy. Try to get more sunlight while the sun is still up to fight this. You will feel happier and full of energy, prepared to face the tasks ahead.
We are one with nature in more ways than we can imagine. The weather dramatically impacts our state of mind and health, as you already understood if you made it to this point in the article. Luckily, in most cases, there are actions that you can take to reduce or cancel the potentially adverse effects of weather changes on your body and health. Apply what I taught you here, and you won’t have to experience any unpleasant situations described above.
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