Weather: Consequences for health

Weather: Consequences for health

Fatigue, headaches or joint pain: many complaints are linked to the weather. The so-called “weather sensitivity” is a well-known phenomenon. As part of an extensive study by the German Weather Service, around 1,600 Germans stated in a survey in 2013 that they saw a connection between the weather and their health. But how does weather sensitivity really affect and which weather events influence our well-being?

Sensitivity to the weather: it affects everyone differently

The range of weather sensitivity symptoms is wide. It ranges from headaches and body aches to frequent listlessness, lack of concentration, and irritability. In particularly sensitive people, sensitivity to the weather, also known as biotrophy, can even lead to insomnia, depression and a general lack of enthusiasm for life. The primary victims are more women than men and older than younger people.

The weather cannot make you sick. However, it can very well aggravate existing or hidden diseases in the body. Scientists distinguish different degrees of severity:

  • “Weather responsive” is everyone, even those who don’t want to admit it. For example, you are usually in a better mood when the weather is sunny and pleasant than when it is raining and cold.
  • “Weather sensitive” are those people whose autonomic (non-controllable) nervous system reacts highly sensitively. Your stimulus threshold is so low that air pressure and temperature fluctuations immediately result in complaints such as tiredness, exhaustion, reluctance to work, concentration and sleep disorders.
  • One speaks of  “weather-sensitive” when existing diseases such as cardiovascular problems, arteriosclerosis, and rheumatism worsen due to weather changes or old injuries ( broken bones ) causing pain again.


Health effects of the weather

During a cold snap, arteries and veins constrict, and blood pressure rises. The risk of heart attacksthrombosis and strokes increases.

On the other hand, with solid warming and muggy weather, the arteries and veins expand. In people with low blood pressure, the result is headaches and dizziness. The reason is that the heart has to pump significantly more blood through the body simultaneously. On the other hand, those who suffer from high blood pressure usually feel better in these weather conditions.

Older people are particularly affected by arteriosclerosis. Your organism often reacts to the most minor changes in air pressure. The result is pain throughout the body. These people react particularly sensitively to the onset of low pressure.

Gravity waves: fluctuations in air pressure

It is still unclear why some of those affected feel the change in weather two days before it occurs with attacks of pain. It is assumed that fluctuations in air pressure irritate sensitive receptors on the blood vessels and thus disrupt circulation.

These fluctuations in air pressure are called “gravity waves”. They always arise when layers of air rub against each other. The air masses move at different speeds and in opposite directions. This creates vibrations in the air that travel at the speed of sound.

These vibrations are held responsible for various complaints of the cardiovascular system. However, the current study situation must allow a clear connection statement.


Spherics: pulses of electromagnetic waves

Another weather phenomenon is electromagnetic and light-speed impulses, the so-called spherics. Spherics often occur before thunderstorms, lousy weather or fair weather fronts and when cold and warm air masses meet. They rush ahead of the actual weather events at almost the speed of light.

Sensitive people can, therefore, experience the first symptoms long before the weather changes. It is believed that spherics can affect the electrical transmission of stimuli in the nervous system.

Shielding from these waves or rays is not possible. They penetrate every house wall and thus also cause well-known radio interference. However, whether and to what extent gravity waves and spherics trigger weather sensitivity has yet to be sufficiently clarified scientifically.

However, a joint study by the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry and the Children’s Clinic and Polyclinic of the Technical University of Munich 1995 showed a connection between Spherics and the frequent occurrence of epileptic seizures.

The cause is in the air.

Research has now been done on when Central Europeans feel most comfortable. Nature has arranged for the human organism to withstand climate fluctuations of up to 20 degrees Celsius and more without significant problems. However, with a moderate temperature of 20 to 25 degrees, sunshine, and high-pressure weather, the load on the circulatory system is usually the least.

However, this statement does not apply without reservation because Low air exchange, as is typical for permanent high-pressure areas, accumulates pollutants in the air layers near the ground in both summer and winter. And so, in sweltering summers, the sweltering heat, dust, and ozone can lead to severe physical complaints.

Weather-sensitive? 11 tips for at home

Weather-sensitive people can do a lot to increase their well-being. The buzzword is hardening (desensitization).

  1. Find out regularly about the weather. There are recommendations for correct behaviour.
  2. Consciously expose yourself to weather stimuli. It’s best to go for walks in the fresh air. This hardens and makes you less sensitive to weather stimuli.
  3. New climate stimuli have a similar effect. Therefore, drive to the sea or the mountains as often as possible.
  4. Regular physical activity, such as brisk walking or swimming, can increase your body’s ability to adapt.
  5. You can raise the threshold to weather influences with alternating showers (warm and cold), sauna, massage, gymnastics, mud baths, thermal baths, and Kneipp affusions.
  6. A healthy lifestyle can improve complaints such as lack of concentration, tiredness, nervousness, headaches, and mood swings. Above all, this includes avoiding alcohol, nicotine and caffeine and getting enough sleep.
  7. Mental upsets are often symptoms of an overload in family and work. Climatic stimuli can intensify them. Relaxation exercises such as autogenic training, Tai Chi and yoga can help.
  8. Unnecessary stress should be avoided as much as possible. Allow yourself enough rest.
  9. Keep a weather sensitivity diary. It helps to determine which weather conditions you are particularly sensitive to and thus actively prevent them. Avoid things that increase your sensitivity to the weather.
  10. Drinking enough: When the temperature is high, simply drinking enough fluids often improves your physical well-being. Lukewarm tea or vegetable broth puts less strain on the circulatory system than ice-cold drinks.
  11. Herbal remedies: Ginger root remedies help against dizziness. These can be used as medicines or as tea infusions. Relaxing baths with rosemary or valerian can relieve the symptoms if you have a headache. Valerian and St. John’s wort counteract mild depressive moods.


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