UAE: Can fluctuating weather make you sick? Doctors clarify



They advise people with weak immune systems to take extra care

Weather changes are challenges to our immune system, which is why some take ill during such changes, healthcare experts say, highlighting the visible rise in visits to clinics and hospitals during the recent spell of unstable weather.

Doctors say changes in humidity levels can weaken your immune system, making you susceptible to germs and sickness.

Dr Salwa Abdel Zaher Mabrouk Ibrahim, consultant internal medicine and clinical professor, Thumbay University Hospital, said that weather changes predominantly challenge our immune system. Dust storms, rising temperature and humidity levels flag up health issues, mainly infectious diseases and allergies, he said. “When our bodies get used to a certain climate, and if there’s a sudden change, our body tries to adapt to the change. Unfortunately, at times our bodies have a difficulty in adjusting, which can trigger illness,” explained Dr Ibrahim.

Pointing out to the recent temperature fluctuations and sandstorms across the country, Dr Sarla Kumari, physician and diabetologist at Canadian Specialist Hospital, Dubai, said that people with a compromised immune systems and breathing issues should take extra care at such times. “Those with weak immune systems and having underlying allergies are more prone to viral infections due to sudden changes of weather,” she said.

Medicos say that when the weather warms up, it can trigger ear, nose and throat (ENT) infections, nasal allergies which can be seasonal (intermittent) or chronic (persistent). “These are caused due to exposure to different germs (which can be either bacterial, viruses or fungal), as well as exposure to allergens which can proliferate in such weather. As the weather changes, new allergens are introduced, or there are higher concentrations of certain allergens in the air, triggering reactions in people allergic to specific allergens,” said Dr Ibrahim.

Doctors say that the rapid rise in heat also compromises the body’s ability to regulate temperature which may lead to illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke etc.

Temperature fluctuations also affect our mood, studies have shown. “There is evidence that one may feel irritable or lazy during weather fluctuations, primarily during hot or dusty weather,” said Dr Kumari.

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Extreme weather changes can also affect the quality of one’s life, by restricting day-to-day activities leading to added stress, anxiety and depression. “Joint flare-ups and mood swings when the weather turns are very real for many people across the globe,” said Dr Ibrahim.

“One must be careful during dust storms. Wear masks and try to avoid rapid change of temperature when you come home from the heat or go out into the heat. Talk to you doctor if you experience allergic symptoms like cold, sore throat, runny nose or itchy eyes,” advised Dr Kumari.

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