Weather's effects on health issues

By NBC Staff

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Many of you watch the news to get the weather forecast.  You want to know whether to expect rain or sun for the days ahead. But for some, weather information is vital to help protect their health.

Bad weather is big trouble for Laurie Weil.  She says storm clouds signal horrible migraines.  But if she's alerted before the weather moves in, it's better.  "This alert is telling me that it's migraine weather," says Weil, "ok, this is the day where I'm going to go extra heavy on the meds or extra heavy on the ibuprofen, or make sure my ice pack's at work."

She receives these e-alerts from a company called MediClim. One of the founders, Dr. John Bart, says technology allows them to alert thousands of people every month.  He skyped in to explain.  "With the prediction people can then go to their other triggers," says Dr. Bart, "take maneuvers, avoid falling prey to the disease from which they suffer."

Over the years, medical records have been compared to thousands of weather events, and scientists now say how patients feel can be predicted by the weather.  Dr. Bart says, "We can do it in 36 to 72 hours, but the further away from the weather forecast we go, the less reliable it is."

A sudden drop in barometric pressure triggers migraines and changes in humidity trigger arthritis. The wind may affect heart disease and thunderstorms are linked to asthma attacks.

In fact, Sarah Alzamora prayed for rain when she was pregnant with Bobby four years ago. She was nine days late, and her doctor blamed Chicago's long hot dry spell. And she's not the only pregnant woman who's hoped the old wives tale about weather and labor is true.

While the weather's link to labor can't be confirmed, there is evidence that mother nature can worsen certain conditions.

*It's free to sign up for MediClim.  Click here to register.

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