Temperature swings impact health in Western New York

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — This winter has been one for the record books…but not because of the usual reasons. It’s been abnormally warm. And the swings back and forth from warm to cold has impacted many people’s health.

Dr. Joseph Chow, President of Western New York Immediate Care told News 4, “There’s no question that we do know that weather affects many conditions.” Some of the most common sicknesses or ailments impacted by weather are the flu, asthma, and arthritis.

Chow said, “I think we all know people who say I know when the weather’s changing because my arthritis or my knee flares.” There is some truth to that but Dr. Chow shared that there’s no evidence to say with a hundred percent certainty.

He says, “There is some growing evidence, specifically with the barometric pressures and perhaps less likely the cold itself is affecting people’s arthritis.” The explanation as to why may surprise you.

Chow explained, “As the pressure goes doesn’t usually when you get a storm or a change in weather, the pressure that’s exerted on the body including the joints is usually less. That causes some expansion within the tissues and joints.” Asthma also flares when the temperature cools down. Chow said, “The colder the air gets; some peoples airways will become more reactive and become more inflamed in the cold weather.”

Migraines can become worse in the winter because of a potential chemical released in the brain during changes of pressure. He shared, “The changes in weather especially in extreme cold or extreme heat may be triggers for their migraines.”

And last but not least, the flu has been impacted. It always comes in the winter, but this year it was worse than ever. Chow explained, “It’s more likely to catch a flu or virus in the winter time because we’re inside a lot more so it’s a lot easier to spread those germs. More studies have been shown that the flu virus may survive better in the cold weather.”

In addition to the cold, less vitamin d and sunshine cause immune systems to weaken increasing your chance to catch a bug.

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