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Why Are Wide Temperature Fluctuations A Problem?

During the hot, hazy, humid days of summer it is a welcome relief to get a few days of the Canadian cold fronts coming down south, lowering the temperatures and humidity.  Conversely, during the frigid, dark days of late autumn and winter, we love getting that occasional much warmer weather systems that arrive for a few days providing us a respite from the cold.  This entry was inspired by the incredibly warm temperatures we have been experiencing for this time of year. I am writing this entry a few days before the temperatures are supposed to approach 80 degrees again.  

The mid afternoons may be warm, but then the temperatures fall back to the 30’-40s at night.  You may have noticed for yourself and/or family members that illness seems to occur more frequently during these wild temperature fluctuations.  Is there truth behind our empiric observations and if so, why are wide temperature fluctuations a potential health concern?

The human body is pretty good at acclimating to different environments, as long as the changes are slow and steady.  However, when the temperatures soar to record levels one day and then the next, they are down by 30 degrees or more, this can cause heart patients to experience problems.  Studies have shown an increase in death rate during these temperature fluctuations.

Infections also seem to increase during times of wide temperature fluctuations.  The nasal cavity can be shift from being well lubricated when the temperatures are warm and humidity increases, but then become quite dry when the temperatures drop abruptly.  This leads to a heightened chance of developing upper respiratory infections.

Temperature fluctuations can also cause people that are prone to migraine headaches and/or joint pains to notice a worsening of their symptoms.  Allergy sufferers may also notice an exacerbation of their symptoms when the unseasonally warm temperatures reappear.

The bottom line: Healthy people with no underlying health issues will handle the temperature fluctuations much better than those with underlying health conditions.  Having “seasonal” temperatures during the “seasons” is best for our health, as much as the warm stuff feels good during the cold months.

And how could I end this entry without posting a song from “The Four Seasons”?  Enjoy Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.   

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