The longer days and increasing warmth of mid-spring are steadily bringing out throngs of people from winter-hiding, but, be warned – whether it’s sprains, allergies, or illness – spring months can also bring on a host of potential ailments.
Below, you’ll find some key causes to this spring-time mayhem:
Warmer temperatures – The milder weather can cause quicker dehydration and exhaustion when exercising outside, along with increased pollutants in the air which may aggravate asthma and other pulmonary diseases. The warmer months also bring the mosquitos and ticks which can cause a host of illnesses, from West Nile to Lyme disease.
Dramatic changes in humidity – The notorious variability of spring-time weather means fluctuations in cool, dry air, and warm, moist air. Dry air can irritate sinuses and other mucus membranes, and make skin itchy. High humidity can make conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia even more painful, as the dampness makes the aches more acute.
More sunlight hours – More sunlight means longer exposure to UV rays, where an hour-long jog could turn into a painful sunburn. Spring activities can also wreak havoc on your body, whether those activities are tedious or enjoyable.
Exercising – Spring seems like the perfect time to get outside and breathe some fresh air while burning off those winter holiday pounds, but people unaccustomed to the rigors of exercise after a long winter’s hibernation can set themselves up for strains, sprains, and blisters.
Yard work – such as mowing, weeding, and planting can bring on back, neck, and knee pain from hours of kneeling, bending over, lifting or shoveling.
Even spring past-times like outdoor sports send thousands of Americans to the ER with serious injuries every year. In fact, spring is considered the season for foot and ankle injuries as more people hit the sidewalks or athletic courts with winter-weary legs.
And of course we can’t talk spring without mentioning the misery caused by allergies and the flu. From mold spores, to weeds, to tree pollens, sniffling, sneezing and watery eyes can be a common complaint of spring weather, and believe it or not, the flu is still holding on in early spring with March seeing as many peaks in flu cases as December.
So what can you do? Here are some tips from our WeatherBug Meteorology team:
Stay hydrated – Because dehydration can cause muscle cramps, lethargy, and general soreness, drink sufficient fluids to keep you hydrated. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Use a saline spray to ease nasal dryness.
Do yard work carefully – The main things to remember: Use your legs, not your back, to lift bags of mulch or fertilizer; and, use a smaller shovel or scoop up smaller portions of dirt while digging. Also, knee pads can help while kneeling down for gardening or weeding, and gloves can help minimize cuts to your hands.
Stretch before exercising or sports, and don’t overdo it – Muscles that are properly warmed up tend not to get strained as easily. If you’re doing an activity you’re not used to on a regular basis, start slowly and know you exhaustion point.
Consider allergy medications… and don’t forget the bug spray and sun block! Medications can really help ease the discomfort of seasonal allergies, and some also include decongestants for added relief. Use an insect repellant on all exposed areas of skin to keep away mosquitos and ticks. A spray with 30 percent DEET or less is best or consider using natural soy-based products which can be just as effective. For sun block, apply it liberally to all exposed skin areas, and look for an SPF of at least 15.
Remember, not every remedy will work for all people, and for severe illness and injuries you should seek a medical professional. But at least with a few simple changes, you can help keep your spring fever from becoming an actual malady!