This time of the year the weather is predictably unpredictable. Summer is mostly hot. Winter is mostly cold. But spring can be either, on successive days or even in the space of a few hours.
This kind of unsettled weather can be vaguely discontenting. At least half of all adults claim to experience changes in their health with the changing weather, including more frequent headaches, joint pain, tiredness, and even catching more colds.
Of course colds are caused by viruses, not the weather. But as the air temperature and humidity changes around us, so does the feeling of stuffiness of our nose.
Even though the nose does not actually block, hotter and humid air will make it feel more congested, like when we’re in the shower. But once we step out, the blast of colder less humid air makes the nose suddenly feel more open, creating that freshening sensation in our head. The same thing happens in reverse when we step from air-conditioned cool indoors into the humid heat outside, making our head feel stuffy.
People prone to headaches report more episodes in changeable spring weather than in summer or winter.
The vast majority of people with arthritis or chronic back pain feel more discomfort on stormy, cold or damp days, which improves as the weather warms and becomes more constant.
Whether these are a direct effect of the weather or an indirect one (related to the profound effects of seasonal weather on mood, behaviour, diet, physical activity, mobility, participation, perception of illness, pain and many other factors) is unknown. (Post continues after video.)