Biometeorology: Weather and Health

Biometeorology is the study of the impact weather has on the natural world, including animals, plants and humans. This includes the impact on symptoms of existing diseases, contribution to new conditions and temporary physiological changes. There are a number of illnesses and symptoms that are caused or exacerbated by certain types of weather. Here we discuss some of the more obvious conditions, as well as some, perhaps, more surprising ailments.

Heat Stress theWeather Club Thu, 04/07/2013 - 08:15

Heat stress occurs when the body’s means of controlling its internal temperature starts to fail. Some cultures have adapted to avoid heat stress – the Mediterranean siesta signals a work break during the hottest part of the day, or in the tropics where work begins earlier, ends later and is carried out at a slower pace. Heat stress is not something we experience very often in the UK, especially after recent summers, but if we do experience a heatwave – a prolonged spell when daytime and overnight temperatures are elevated and humidity is high - we need to be prepared.

Sunlight reduces risk of arthritis

Regular exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UV-B), may reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. These were the findings from a long-term study of more than 200,000 women, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. The report speculated that vitamin D, which the body produces when exposed to sunlight, might protect women from arthritis.