Weather sensitivity - triggers, symptoms and simple tips for self-help

Weather sensitivity - triggers, symptoms and simple tips for self-help

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This is how the weather can affect your health

If the meteorologists announce a change in the weather, that's not good news for Lia. It is not the weather mix itself that frightens her, but the reactions of her body to this “April mix”: the scar from her caesarean section is burning, her palms are moist and she has to run to the toilet all the time. Many people know phenomena like this.

Do you get tired when the weather changes? Can't you fall asleep when spring lures in April, when the wind drives the freezing rain? Do they even get dizzy? Do you have a headache? According to the Allensbach Institute for Demoscopy, 54% of Germans know the same problem: they are sensitive to the weather.

What is weather sensitivity?

According to the German Weather Service, the term “weather sensitivity” is understood to mean the phenomenon “that some people increasingly perceive their own body reaction to the weather subjectively.” People are living beings, and as such we react to the weather. Our body always adapts - to the air pressure, the temperature, the humidity. If the temperature changes abruptly, we notice that. If we jump directly from the midday heat into a mountain lake, we can even checkmate our cycle.

A lot of people react intensely to the weather, and that's what we call weather sensitivity. Are you one of them? Then you feel limp when the weather changes, you get confused when speaking, objects appear blurred (vision problems), your skin reacts extremely to stimuli.

Those who are sensitive to the weather can hardly get to work in an April doing what they want, and their nerves are bare. Their concentration suffers and they make mistakes.

Weather, body, psyche

They have sweats and jerks, no appetite and their blood pressure drops. Some stagger between fear and nervousness. Changes in the weather can exacerbate mental illness.

What weather, what symptoms?

Fluctuating air pressure weakens the circulation, the consequences are dizziness or lightheadedness. With changing temperatures, the blood reassembles, the more rapidly the weather changes, the more stressful it is on the bloodstream.

Sultry weather leads to headaches and edema, water collects in the body and triggers swelling. Wet and cold weather irritates the joints. Ice-cold weather constricts blood vessels, raises blood pressure and increases the risk of heart failure.

Who is affected?

Older people are more sensitive to the weather than young people, women more than men. People with mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders and depression suffer particularly.

In patients with rheumatism, angina pectoris or root irritation syndrome, changeable weather can aggravate the symptoms. Migraine patients showed increased seizures when the temperature rose by several degrees and the air pressure fell at the same time.

There are not only “naturally” weather-sensitive people. When we are in poor health, suffer from a lack of sleep and stress, the onset of weather is particularly stressful.

Why in April?

In winter, our body temperature drops and the body is in economy mode. As the days get longer and warmer, the skin and blood vessels need more energy to regulate the temperature. The circuit rotates.

Now the temperatures fluctuate constantly in April, then the vessels open and close constantly - in addition to the extra work they already do. Those who still have low blood pressure or a weak cardiovascular system are thrown out of unstable balance by the April weather.

Lack of light in winter, plenty of calories and fat in the cold months, and lack of exercise due to the minus degrees make for a weak body when the birds build their nests. Now there is also the pressure of the weather.

The longer days lead to less sleep, and this affects - on the nerves and psyche.

What to do about weather sensitivity?

Get some fresh air. This strengthens the immune system and boosts the happiness hormone serotonin, counteracts tiredness and resentment.
But don't overdo the action outside. If your body is still weak, you should slowly charge your batteries: hiking is good, as is sauna and cycling.

Do not give in to fatigue if you are sensitive to the weather. If you let yourself be caught by the exhaustion, your mood will go even lower.

What are the triggers?

If the weather changes rapidly and rapidly, the body cannot adapt quickly enough.

The German Weather Service writes: “Cooler air is usually brought in behind a cold front so that the body tries to reduce the amount of heat given off. Among other things, the outer blood vessels are narrowed and the blood pressure rises briefly. "

Those who already have high blood pressure will notice the cold unpleasantly. On the other hand, if you have low blood pressure, your heart rate drops below a critical limit when the temperature rises.

Healthy people can prepare themselves for the ping-pong between cloud forest and Sahara with Kneipp cures and changing showers.

Asthma and rheumatism

In the chronically ill, the symptoms do not fall from the sky, but intensify the symptoms. This is the case with asthma or rheumatism, for example. Here, breathing problems and pain in the joints worsen when the temperature drops.

Those who are suffering from such ailments should not harden themselves when the weather changes. Here relaxation methods are just as suitable as a balanced diet. If you are sensitive to the weather and / or chronically ill, speak to your family doctor.

Is it just the temperatures?

Weather is initially a state of the atmosphere. Temperature, humidity, air pressure, precipitation, wind and electrical forces all play a role in this.

We don't know if the atmosphere is "sick" or if certain aspects are the "bad guys" - temperature, air pressure or precipitation. Is there weather sensitivity in the singular, or "weather sensitivity"? Is one person sensitive to air pressure, another to the change from wet to dry?

Electromagnetic waves and air pressure?

Two suspects are currently in focus: electromagnetic waves on the one hand, and air pressure on the other. Accordingly, the electrical changes around thunderstorms are a cause of the weather sensitivity. Small studies could not support this assumption.

Weather-minded people write that their symptoms start when the air pressure changes. The thesis is: Our systems to record pressure signals react to changes in air pressure. These receptors act on blood pressure and heart rate.

The decisive factor is how the individual affected perceives the complaints in his body. This is the best way to determine the trigger.

Mental stress

Mental illnesses can worsen due to the April weather. The lack of light in winter prolongs depressive phases, the longer days also lead to hope fading.

It is a psychological problem: people who play, laugh and flirt outside are in contrast to the depressed, who do not feel joy, and the patient becomes painfully aware of this.

However, psychotics and addicts are not affected by the weather. They hardly react to external stimuli.

Sensitive or sensitive

The German Weather Service distinguishes weather-sensitive people from weather-sensitive people: "Older or chronically ill people can not only be weather-sensitive, but also really weather-sensitive, which can then have disease values ​​and dangerous effects."

Sensitivity to the weather is considered a subjective disturbance of well-being, sensitivity to weather as objective symptoms such as heart problems, fainting or joint pain. A key symptom is headache - from tension pain to a severe migraine. The weather can disrupt the cardiovascular system: it flickers before your eyes, your heart is racing, and you feel dizzy. Patients with gout, angina pectoris, cardiovascular diseases and migraines are among the weather-sensitive.

Signs of sensitivity to the weather include headache, fatigue, drowsiness, sleep disorders, irritability, disorders of concentration and nervousness. One in three therefore did not go to work at least once.

Epileptics, on the other hand, are sensitive to the weather: low air pressure and high humidity increase the risk of an attack, dry heat reduces the risk.

What do studies say?

According to a study with 9,000 participants, the University of Manchester concluded that cold and wet weather increases chronic pain. Those affected experience less pain if the temperature increases continuously between February and April.

Modern times?

The “zipper”, when the wind turns, was also known to farmers 200 years ago. In evolution, it was probably even necessary to feel a change in the weather, to go to a hiding place or to go hunting when the air was clear.

Today we spend the day in the artificial climate of the office, shopping center, house and car. So our bodies are no longer exposed to the natural weather outside, while just a few generations ago almost every person in the country worked outside in the fields and in the forest in every season.

Today's training to harden against weather stimuli corresponds to the everyday life of our ancestors: go outside in any weather and move.

Goethe said: “I work easier at a high barometer than at a low one; Now that I know this, I try to counteract the adverse effects with a great deal of effort, and I succeed. ”

The poet said elsewhere: "The finest minds suffer the most from the harmful effects of air". Some people are sensitive to the weather, and he was one of them.

Danger to the heart?

The German Heart Foundation sees an effect of the April weather on those who are susceptible to it, but does not consider it to be dangerous. Extremely cold weather is riskier and there is no increased risk of heart disease in April.

The experts recommend exercising outdoors in April. A lack of fitness is a sure trigger for heart problems, sport strengthens the resistance of the body. Cardiac patients should warm up the muscles, stretch, and only then increase their performance. After winter, cardiac patients should have their bodies checked.

Prevent weather sensitivity

No one is helplessly exposed to the April weather, not even weather-sensitive. Avoid fatty or flatulent food in changing weather. Fresh fruit, raw vegetables, olive oil or rapeseed oil are good.

If you are sensitive to the weather mix, limit smoking. Smoking weakens the cardiovascular system and the immune system, making it more susceptible to weather stimuli. You shouldn't drink alcohol outdoors, but plenty of mineral water, rose hip tea, or warm lemon water instead.

Treading water

Treading water helps - in the morning about 2 minutes in a tub in 20 cm high cold water. Alternatively, you can also take a foot bath - in a bucket of warm salt water. This ensures a stable circulation.

You balance the cycle with an arm bath. To do this, dip your bare arms in cold water up to the middle of the upper arm. 20 seconds is enough. You can let the cold water run over the pulse points on the wrists.

Fight the symptoms

W. Schweisheimer wrote in 1976 for Switzerland's “Trade Union Review”: “Counteracting weather influences is sometimes easily possible, in other cases it is difficult to carry out. Individual symptoms such as severe headaches, sleep disorders or psychological excitement can be alleviated with suitable medication. "

The ups and downs lead to exhaustion. Exercise in the fresh air helps against exhaustion. Dress according to the onion principle in April, i.e. several shirts on top of each other. If it gets warm now, you can take off the top ones. If the temperature drops, put your clothes back on.

Do you feel weak because of the weather? Then tighten your muscles and relax afterwards. It doesn't matter which muscle groups you let work. Tightening and relaxing alone brings energy to your body.

Hot broth in small sips or, alternatively, warm, not hot, water helps against exhaustion. You can also drink sea buckthorn juice mixed with lemon. The following snacks are available: raisins, nuts and honeydew melons.

Non-specific influences

Factors that favor weather sensitivity are too unspecific for "if, then" truths. People with a weak vegetative system are at risk. This nerve network controls digestion, metabolism and water balance. People with stable blood pressure, regular sleep, healthy digestion, without mental disorders and chronic illnesses hardly suffer from sensitivity to the weather.

The stronger the weather fluctuations, the stronger the body reacts. If the air pressure masses change, vegetative problems occur more frequently. People with high blood pressure are sensitive to cold fronts. High pressure rarely triggers weather complaints. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • German Weather Service (DWD): Hazard indices for weather-sensitive people (accessed: July 29, 2019),
  • Höppe, P. / von Mackensen, S. / Nowak, D. / u .: Prevalence of weather sensitivity in Germany, Dtsch med Wochenschr, 2002,
  • Harvard Health Publishing: Does weather affect arthritis pain? (Access: 29.07.2019),
  • Hoffmann, Jan / Schirra, Tonio / Lo, Hendra / u .: The influence of weather on migraine - are migraine attacks predictable? Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2015,
  • Ozeki, Kayoko / Noda, Tatsuya / Nakamura, Mieko / u.a .: Weather and headache onset: a large-scale study of headache medicine purchases, International Journal of Biometeorology, 2015,
  • American Migraine Foundation: Weather and Migraine (accessed: July 29, 2019),
  • German Heart Foundation: Does changing April weather endanger the heart? (Call: July 29, 2019),
  • Rakers, Florian / Walther, Mario / Schiffner, Rene / u.a .: Weather as a risk factor for epileptic seizures: A case ‐ crossover study, Epilepsia, Volume 58, Issue 7, July 2017,

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