While some people may find rainy weather to be a soothing romantic backdrop or a useful tool for farming, others find it to be a tedious occurrence that ruins their day. If you find your ears, nose, or throat feeling off when the sun’s away and the rain’s here to stay, it can seem extra dreary. But why is that?
Your hearing might be impacted by rain, or rather one of the causes of it. When barometric pressure (air pressure in the atmosphere) decreases, water vapor rises and is condensed into water and subsequently rain. This reduced pressure also has the unfortunate side effect of creating an imbalance of pressure in your ear, leading to that familiar popping sound. Fluid can build up in your ear from the pressure difference and cause higher instances of tinnitus, muffled hearing, and even infection in some cases.
That change in air pressure due to rainy weather can impact other parts of your body as well. For example, pressure differences between your sinuses and the atmosphere can create sinus headaches and extra congestion. Dr. Roy Lewis, a CEENTA otolaryngologist and allergist who practices out of our Mooresville office, goes into further detail about how barometric pressure changes affect ENT patients. “Rain essentially causes symptoms in someone who is just barely making it in good conditions. They have narrow passages in their sinuses or Eustachian tube and the minor swelling from the barometric pressure change can cause the passageway to block.”
However, what the rain affects environmentally can also play a role in your nasal distress. Contrary to popular belief, rain actually decreases the pollen count on the day it rains. In actuality, mold is the allergen that thrives in these conditions. It’s when the rain is gone that those allergic to pollen should be wary, as it rebounds following the precipitation. If you’re allergic to either of these allergens, then rainy days could mean more sniffing and sneezing.
The ongoing myth is that standing outside in the rain will cause you to become sick and develop a sore throat. Rain in and of itself is not a direct cause of illness, but rather can contribute to it. Too much time in the rain, especially in colder fall and winter months, can lower your body temperature, which leads to reduced immune system efficiency. A lower immune system can leave you susceptible to the common cold or the flu if you find yourself near someone who is sick. Two of the leading symptoms for these illnesses are, as you may have guessed, a sore throat and persistent coughing.
Even though physicians can’t change the weather, they can still recommend treatment options to help curb your symptoms. “Taking Flonase on a regular basis can help,” says Dr. Lewis. “Balloon sinuplasty or Eustachian tube dilation surgery can also help alleviate pressure. Testing and treating allergies can also play a role if your symptoms are due to allergies.”
Rainy weather may cause your ears, nose, and throat to feel less-than-normal, but sometimes the reason is still a mystery. If you find yourself with recurring sinus, ear, or throat infections, schedule an appointment with CEENTA. Our team of ENT specialists can find out whether your dreary senses are due to the weather or something under the surface. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Lewis at our Mooresville office today by visiting ceenta.com/appointments.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. If you need an appointment with an eye doctor in one of our North or South Carolina locations, you can schedule appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.
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