ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) — Our reigon has been experiencing a roller coaster when it comes to weather. From warm weather to frigid temperatures, sunshine and snowflakes, people have seen it all in a short time period.
While the unexpected sunshine and warmth may be nice, the drastic change does have an effect on people’s physical and mental health.
Greg Parker, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist explained, “I think anytime you see the sun, you’re going to experience a lift in your mood, especially when you’re not used to it. It will give you a boost of just positive mood. They’ll give you more energy. Typically, you’ll sleep less, but make changes to your appetite that can all be considered positive.”
According to Parker, a few days of warmth and Vitamin D effect’s a person’s mental health in a typically cold and gray time. “However, the up and down can cause kind of a vacillation in your mood as well. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you’re going to have major alterations or mood, but you’ll definitely notice the difference in terms of not only temperature, but mostly sunlight in the presence of just to be the ability to do things outdoors”, explained Parker.
While the change from cold to warm may positively effect someone’s mental health, it can have the opposite effect on one’s physical health.
Dr. Kylie Morris, a Family Medicine Physician with UPMC explained, “A change in barometric pressure, and that can definitely cause problems with the joints and with getting for people who get migraines can cause some problems there.”
In addition to going from cold to warm and back to cold again, dry air and dust mites can also lead to an uptick in allergies according to Dr. Morris.
“Just the fact that we’re going back inside again and then turning the heat on, turning the heat off, you’re going to get a lot of the allergy-type symptoms, which mostly affect the sinuses. Then back outside again, we’re getting right to the season where possibly we can start to get pollen, and so you get a different type of allergy there”, described Dr. Morris.
As far as treatments go for your physical health, Dr. Morris recommends taking any over the counter allergy medications to keep changing allergies in check. She also recommends trying a cold compress if you have inflammation on your head or eyes, and staying active or resting when necessary.
Both health professionals agree, a burst of sunshine provides hope for warmer days ahead.