I was able to experience Hurricane Harvey on a personal level. The eye of Harvey passed over the area where I live. One thing I noticed was the increased number of headaches my co-workers were experiencing and the increase in aches and pains from arthritis and old injuries. At first, I wondered if it was the stress of the experience, but I began to wonder if the significantly low barometric pressure was somehow responsible. I did a little research and found that, indeed, the weather impacts health in ways you would think about. According to WebMD, falling barometric pressure can trigger headaches. When combined with high humidity and changes in temperatures (all of which occur in a hurricane) migraines can be triggered. Low barometric pressure can also decrease blood pressure, increase the risk of an irregular heart rhythm and create sinus pressure, exacerbating pre-existing symptoms from sinus infections and allergies (Berkley Wellness.com, Weather.com).
- Some other ways the weather can impact health includes the following:
- Increased aches and pains with increases in humidity and barometric pressure.
- Changes in mood due to seasonal affective disorder during low light months.
- Vitamin D deficiency for those who don’t get enough sunlight.
- Dry skin during cold, dry months.
- Brittle hair and nails in cold, dry climates.
Changing seasons, hot weather, and air pollution can trigger asthma and allergies.
Although much of the research linking weather and climate to health issues is new and has mixed results, being aware of potential health issues can help us find ways to deal them ahead of time.