Should I put on an extra layer of clothing? Should I pack an umbrella? Will I be able to go on that picnic later or play a game of golf?
Most of the time, our first thought isn’t how the weather affects our health. But maybe we should start considering the different ways that it does, and what we can do to prepare for it and respond to it.
The weather definitely plays a big part in how your body reacts to seasonal allergies, if you, like many others, suffer from summer sneezing and wheezing. The Weather Channel has reported that wind can cause greater plant pollen and mold distribution, which can lead to a bigger increase in allergy symptoms, causing reactions in the eyes, nose, and lungs. This is especially true for those of us that suffer from hay fever. Heat can also cause allergies to become more aggravated, especially if there’s a sudden increase in temperature. People who have asthma are especially vulnerable to asthma attacks in that type of situation.
Heat Cramps, Exhaustion, and Stroke
When the weather begins to heat up, our bodies’ ability to cool down is affected. So, the Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that some heat-related illnesses may occur as a result, especially if we sweat too much or get too dehydrated. Heat cramps, or painful muscle cramps and spasms coupled by heavy sweating, are common side effects of this weather. Heat exhaustion is another commonly occurring affect of the rising temperature, causing symptoms like a weak pulse, dizziness, fainting, and nausea and vomiting. The most serious type of heat-related illness is a heat stroke, which can involve an altered mental state, a body temperature of 106 degrees or higher, and unconsciousness is a heat stroke. In this severe case, emergency medical assistance is necessary and waiting can be fatal.
Sometimes, when the light from the sun gets brighter during the summer, especially in the late morning and early afternoon, it can cause serious damage to your eyes. Sunlight has the capability to not only burn your skin, but also your corneas, as reported by Best Health Magazine. If your eyes have enough exposure to ultraviolet rays over time, you can also develop other types of visual problems, such as cataracts.
Preparation and Response
So, what can we do to prevent the adverse affects the weather might have on our health? Obviously, we don’t want to cancel outdoor plans because of a little heat or a slight breeze outside. But what we can do is be proactive. Bring a bottle of water or two with you when you’re going to be outside for a long period of time, especially if the weather is beginning to inch into the 80s. Wear light clothing along with sunglasses that protect from ultraviolet rays. If you begin to sneeze or cough while outside, consider taking a short break from the outdoors and take your medication for allergy symptoms as needed. If any symptoms become severe, call your doctor. Don’t let the weather ruin your fun, but don’t let it ruin your health either!
Though no one is able to have control over the weather, we all can control how we prepare for weather that may affect our health, and how we respond to it.