10 Ways the Weather Can Really Affect Your Body
Gloomy weather boosts our brain, helping us to focus and think more deeply, psychologists say. Our memory works better on cloudy and rainy days than sunny ones. Perhaps on bright days, we’re too busy being happy.
We at Bright Side did our homework and learned more about the effects weather can have on us.
1. Your limbs might get swollen.
On extremely hot and humid days, your body can have problems cooling itself down. Normally, it directs warm blood toward the skin’s surface where it cools by sweating. But in hot temperatures, the sweat doesn’t vaporize, so instead, fluid gathers in your limbs, making them swell up.
- What to do: Cool off by other means, like a fan or dehumidifier. After a few days, your body will get used to the hot weather and the swelling will go away.
2. You can have a higher risk of a heart attack.
Extreme weather can put a strain on your heart. Cold temps make your heart work harder to keep your body warm yet it causes blood vessels to constrict and decrease oxygen delivery to the heart itself. This mismatch of supply and demand may end dramatically in a heart attack or stroke. The same also applies to wind and snow, according to research.
- What to do: Avoid overexertion — don’t physically overwork and overheat.
3. Your skin might be displeased.
As the weather cools, the air gets less moist, which can be seen through our skin. It becomes dry, cracked, and itchy, sometimes aggravating pre-existing conditions like eczema and dermatitis. Strong winds can also impair the skin’s protective lipid barrier, causing bleeding.
- What to do: Use moisturizers and sunscreen and avoid long, hot showers since they remove natural oils your skin produces.
4. Your hair and nails might weaken.
In winter, your hair and nails face the same problem as your skin. Blood vessels become narrow and the supply of nutrition and oxygen reduces. Of course, it weakens hair and nails, making them dry and brittle, and more prone to cuts and injuries.
- What to do: Shower no longer than 5-10 minutes in warm (not hot!) water. Moisturize, skip harsh soaps, and don’t be too zealous with hand-washing. Use less shampoo and more conditioner.
5. You might experience joint pain.
There’s truth to those who claim they can feel a storm coming in their bones. A drop in barometric pressure may turn joints achy and sore, especially for people with arthritis. The fluids inside the joints get thicker at low temperatures, so our bones feel stiffer. Cold weather also tightens muscles and tendons since the blood flow redirects from limbs to central organs to keep them warm.
- What to do: Stay warm! It pushes blood flow, improves pain tolerance, and relieves muscles. Exercise routines also fend off pain and stiffness.
6. Your allergies could worsen.
Weather influences seasonal allergies, causing watery eyes on windy days, stuffy noses during rain, and more. Specific weather triggers natural processes like tree pollination, which we can be allergic to. The immune system deems all that mold and pollen unsafe and activates defensive mechanisms like itching, sneezing, and a runny nose. None of these are actually dangerous, but they’re unpleasant all the same.
- What to do: Learn when mold and pollen season peaks in your area and avoid the outdoors during those times. Use a dehumidifier and an air conditioner to filter the air and ward off allergens.
7. You probably become deficient in vitamin D.
One of the main sources of vitamin D for us is sunlight. Cold seasons bring shorter days and people tend to stay inside more — inevitably, not getting enough sun. As a result, our vitamin D levels drop. Nasty symptoms of this type of deficiency include muscle weakness, high blood pressure, stress fractures, and greater pain sensitivity.
- What to do: Get your vitamin D from a different source. Eat more egg yolks, mushrooms, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna; and drink orange juice and fortified milk.
8. You might get caught in a blue mood.
With less sunlight in autumn and winter, you may experience unexplained tiredness. Low energy and exhaustion are symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), striking during the colder months due to a lack of vitamin D. It affects levels of serotonin — with less vitamin D, your brain produces less serotonin, making you likely to feel sad, cranky, and sleepy.
- What to do: Get as much light exposure as possible and eat vitamin D-loaded foods. Also, try to spend more time outside, exercise, and get good sleep.
9. You might have migraines and headaches more often.
The cold makes our blood vessels narrow, slowing the blood flow within. Less blood arrives in the brain, which may lead to severe headaches. And if you have a history of migraines, almost any weather change can be a trigger for an attack. Strong winds, extreme cold, bright sun, dryness, and drops in barometric pressure are among the worst offenders.
- What to do: If you suffer from migraines, always keep a diary and try to write down the signs before the attack. When you figure out the pattern, it’ll be easier to prepare.
10. Your asthma might do a flip.
Strong weather may trigger an asthma attack since any changes in the air can easily irritate inflamed airways. Hot, humid air is heavier and harder to breathe. Cold, dry air dehydrates the airways, swelling them and restricting airflow. And wet weather hosts mold growth, while the wind blows mold and pollen everywhere.
- What to do: Keep your inhaler close and your neck and chest warm in cold weather, hydrate, wash your hands often, and use an air purifier.
What weather makes your body react differently than usual?