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IT’S NOT ALL SUNSHINE: IS THE WEATHER AFFECTING YOUR HEALTH?

Most of the time, we get four seasons a year and each of those seasons has their own group of pros and cons that makes us decide whether we stay around and enjoy the weather, or fly away somewhere else to enjoy the weather. As the temperatures shift through the year, our immune systems react and try to catch up with each shift which can make our health worse. It’s one thing to enjoy the heat of the sun, but if that is hindered by constant runny noses and sneezing due to the flowers that have sprung up, it’s hard to enjoy it. In the winter time, you could suffer from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is more common in the colder months and is known as the winter blues. The darker mornings and shorter days make for a pretty depressive state of mind but if you’re a lover of winter, it’s unlikely that the drop in temperatures and the start of icy winds make your mood low.

Winter brings Christmas, bonfire night, Halloween and a whole season of curling up by a fire with a hot chocolate and that snugness can bring families together for some. For others, waking up in the dark and coming home from work in the dark makes them yearn for sunshine and heat. It’s a matter of taste and perspective for all. From your mood to your sleep patterns, seasons change us as the one month blends into the next. As the season changes from warm to cold, many people suffer from hypersomnia. It’s kind of like how the bears hibernate in the winter – we want to sleep more as it’s darker for longer. As our eyes aren’t as exposed to sunshine and radiation, we sleep better through the night. While that may sound glorious, it can have a negative affect and make us feel groggier during the little daylight hours we do have. Our ability to problem solve and our tempers can be stunted by the colder months – all that snuggling down under a blanket while a storm rages puts us in a slow-down until the light again. We’re all animals, after all!

The spring and summer weather usually makes everyone happier as we find new ways to socialise in the sun and for longer as the days stay lighter into the evening. Warm weather makes people happy for the most part; it’s comfortable and invites outdoor entertainment which you just don’t find through the year. The dawning of lighter mornings earlier can play havoc for our children as they like to rise with the sun, but it can also put a spring in our steps! We enjoy sunshine more even if we are slogging it out in the office. The promise of a full evening outside with friends is a mood lifter so we often have a happier time in the summer. For some however, the bloom of spring flowers and trees make for a nightmare, as pollens are released and hay fever begins. Allergies in warm weather tend to get worse and can greatly affect your health. If you’re someone who requires a ventolin inhaler for asthma, you might find you’re puffing on it more through the warmer months and this is due to the higher pollen levels.

At any point through the year, the weather can affect your health. As the temperature dips, bacteria flourishes and spreads so colds, vomiting bugs and viruses on the chest are more common. When the temperature rises, you may find sun stroke, sunburn and allergies a factor ruining your day, along with bugs and wasps buzzing about. Each season has their pros and cons, but focusing on the positives instead of the negatives is a natural mood booster through the year! December may be cold, but it has Christmas! July may be hot, but the swimming pools are open for longer!

Ultimately, it’s how you choose to view things that can really affect your health. You could pop tablets for allergies and puff on that inhaler and enjoy the summer months in spite of the reaction. You could bundle up and snowball fight after work rather than hide indoors from the cold. You could book yourself a winter sun holiday that will chase away those December blues as the promise of warmth somewhere in the world will boost your mood. You don’t have to let the seasons affect how you behave it’s just about being prepared and ready for anything that could crop up.

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