As far as I am aware, it has been over two decades since a book on weather/climate and health has been published in North America for the general reader. I personally feel weather and climate play an important role in our overall health, manifesting in many different ways. The connection is not held in high regard by many, particularly those who believe that health is only affected by germs, genes, and, perhaps, diet. These sceptics denigrate any ideas that our environment has an impact on our mental or physical health. I am sure that many in Florida and Haiti would disagree with such an assessment after the impact of Hurricane Ivan, as would millions of others around the world.
I therefore looked forward to Under the Weather: How Weather and Climate Affect Our Health by Pat Thomas to see what the new research efforts have found over the past decades. Thomas, an author and journalist, specializes in alternate health topics and edits one of the UK's most influential publications on alternate health.
Under the Weather covers both short-term and life-threatening conditions that appear to be aggravated by the weather. Some of the weather-related, health-impact observations include evidence that the onset of labour is more common when barometric pressure is falling; migraines can be made much worse by cold and winds; deaths from heart disease are more common on days when blustery winds bring changeable temperatures; changes in humidity can cause scar tissue to ache; and cholesterol levels rise as temperature drops.
This book brings us many such revelations on environmental impacts on our health, collecting and synthesizing the scientific research on the topic. Given the rarity of such books, compared, say, to books on tornadoes, I wish the book would cover more topics and in more depth (such as more on global climate change impacts on health), but as I well know, time and space limitations often stifle an author's desires for completeness.
I recommend Under the Weather: How Weather and Climate Affect Our Health. There is no other comparable book on atmospheric impacts on human health.
Weather Doctor's Book Review: Under the Weather: How Weather and Climate Affect Our Health ©2004, Keith C. Heidorn. All Rights Reserved.
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