4 Surprising Ways Weather Affects Your Health

January 26, 2014
by Michael Barber
4 Surprising Ways Weather Affects Your Health

Besides having to put on a coat, scarf and gloves in the winter, the winter weather has an affect on your health in ways you may not have thought of. 

Allergies: Pollen or No Pollen?

Did you know that seasonal allergies don't necessary relate to pollen count. A change in temperature or humidity can also cause allergy symptoms. It's called non-allergic rhinitis. It's easy to confuse the two since they have the same symptoms, but the treatment is completely different. For one, antihistamines are not going to work with non-allergic rhinitis. Instead, nasal irrigation, such as a saline solution spray, work well to deal with the symptoms as does nasal steroids and decongestants.

Allergies can also be caused in winter due to non-pollen causes. For example, those pets that usually don't tickle your nose too bad may cause additional problems in the winter when the weather turns too cold to let them outside for much of the day. Mold can also increase during the winter in humid rooms like bathrooms and basements. It's worse in the winter because the doors and windows are kept closed to keep the warmth indoors.

Increase in Respiratory Disease

The cold weather has been linked to an increase in respiratory infections linked to colds and flus. Many believe that this is linked to cold air rushing in through the nasal passages causing infections to be more probable by causing the immune response in that area to be lower. This is just a hypothesis and is yet to be proven. In fact, a study was published in the 1970s in the "The New England Journal of Medicine" that debunks the myth that cold exposure is linked to the common cold.

Burn More Calories When You Exercise

If you exercise in the cold weather, you'll find that you burn more calories. Why? Brown fat is a type of fat that can cause the other white fat to burn off. Cold weather triggers brown fat and helps to burn more calories. Running in cold weather invigorates your soul, increases endorphins, and helps you to get personal best times. 

Decrease in Bugs

With the cold weather comes a decrease in bugs, especially mosquitos that tend to spread infectious diseases like the West Nile. While these bugs survive in milder temperatures,