Is Weather Sensitivity Real? WeatherWell Proves Exactly How the Weather Affects Health

Fact checked by Olga Sadouskaya, MD
Clinical Pharmacologist, Chief Medical Officer

Did you know that the weather can impact your health? Weather sensitivity is a real phenomenon that can cause a variety of weather symptoms, such as headaches, joint pain, allergies, and changes to your mood and productivity. So if you’re weather sensitive, it’s important to be aware of the potential health risks and take steps to protect yourself.

The good news is that there are ways to cope with weather sensitivity and minimize its impact on your health — and WeatherWell is here to help!

Keep reading to learn more about how we proved that the weather really does affect our health and built algorithms that can help you protect yourself from weather-related health problems.

Is weather sensitivity real?

There’s no doubt that the weather can have a big impact on our mood and energy levels. But the jury is still out on whether weather sensitivity is a real phenomenon or not.

Some people seem to be more sensitive to the changes in weather than others, saying that they can feel a storm coming or when the barometric pressure changes. Some may feel extra tired and low when the weather is bad or get a headache. While others say that weather sensitivity is nothing more than a placebo effect.

So what’s the truth? Well, there’s some evidence to suggest that weather sensitivity may be real for some people.

It’s not clear what causes weather sensitivity, but it could be due to a combination of factors, including genetics, stress, and underlying medical conditions. For example, some studies have shown that people with certain medical conditions, such as migraines, are more likely to be sensitive to weather changes.

So while we don’t know for sure if weather sensitivity is real, it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on. And WeatherWell is trying to help weather-sensitive people better understand the relationship between their health and the weather.

But how does the app know when the weather may affect your health? Let’s find out!

An infographic about how many people believe they are weather sensitive and top-10 symptoms affected by the weather

The link between the weather and health: The study by WeatherWell

To prove that there is a link between the weather and how we feel, WeatherWell took existing evidence, confirmed research in the field, and then conducted two studies prior to the launch of the app to see if there is an actual correlation between weather changes and certain health issues.

In the first study, over 10,000 people were asked about their health and whether they considered themselves to be weather sensitive. The participants were then invited to use the app to track the daily symptoms they experienced. To ensure regular use of the app and increase the study’s impact, a cluster of 944 users — predominantly female with an average age of 45.6 (with a standard deviation of 13.1 years) — was chosen to participate in the second study. The collected weather data was then integrated into the users’ experience of the app by matching geolocations.

An infographic about the age and gender of the study participants

The analysis of an association between the user’s symptoms and changes in weather conditions gave pretty clear results. Nearly 90 percent of participants reported that the weather conditions affected their health.

How is our health affected by the weather?

Weather can have an impact on our health. For example, studies have shown that extreme heat can lead to increased hospital admissions for heart and respiratory problems, while cold weather can also lead to a spike in respiratory infections.

But it’s not just weather extremes that can affect our health. Changes in daylight hours, humidity, and even barometric pressure can all have an impact on our bodies.

So if you are feeling under the weather, it might not be all in your head — the weather could actually be to blame!

Of course, we can’t control the weather, but by understanding how it can affect our health, we can be better equipped to deal with whatever comes our way. And here’s when WeatherWell comes into play.

WeatherWell is the first machine-learning application to use data-collected algorithms to explore the effects of weather on our health. Using artificial intelligence (AI), the app is able to predict your chances of experiencing weather-related symptoms and pains depending on the current conditions around you. The symptoms you can get predictions about include:

  • Allergies
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Heart issues and high blood pressure
  • Poor sleep and fatigue
  • Joint pain and muscle weakness
  • Low mood and stress
  • Low work productivity
  • Migraines and non-migraine headaches
  • Skin problems
An infographic about most logged symptoms affected by the weather

According to our users, among the 28,399 symptoms logged during the trial, the weather had the biggest influence on:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Energy and productivity levels
  • Pain
  • Allergies
  • Mood

Higher barometric pressure, wind speed, precipitation, and relative humidity were linked to increased symptom logging. The effect of barometric pressure on certain weather symptoms and pains showed the most notable association in the trial, while temperature had little effect. For example, when the pressure dropped compared to the previous day, the odds of having high blood pressure, heart problems, skin problems, breathing difficulties, and headaches increased the most.

Joint pain, which historically has been linked to weather changes, was logged more often as relative humidity and precipitation chance increased, while atmospheric pressure decreased. These findings confirmed the results of a previous study that has shown that lower barometric pressure and higher humidity were associated with increased pain. Interestingly though, in the WeatherWell study, there was an inverse relationship between wind speed and joint pain — an increase in wind speed was associated with a decrease in logged joint pain.

An infographic about how different weather parameters affect different symptoms

So based on existing evidence and real-life trials, WeatherWell has proven that the weather can have an effect on your health, and we encourage users to be more aware of their immediate environment and how they feel in certain weather conditions.

How do I know WeatherWell’s predictions are accurate?

As with other AI-based apps, WeatherWell’s algorithm matures and refines itself the more our users engage with the app. With more logged data and regular updates, our algorithms become more accurate, which allows us to give you much more precise forecasts and more accurate predictions about how you might feel every day.

We also have strict guidelines for the sources of medical and scientific data we use. We prioritize:

  • Peer-reviewed articles from credible databases, including unbiased and nonprofit domains like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others
  • Internationally recognized health organizations and academic institutions, such as the NHS, World Health Organization, and others

But before we use any of the studies to prove our hypotheses, our medical experts thoroughly review them to make sure the results are conclusive. Even prior to the launch of the app, our team examined the results of over 800 peer-reviewed research papers and studies!

We also aim to refine our own research. Further studies using the WeatherWell app and user testing will ensure we conduct multivariate analysis and use our findings to further shed light on the various effects of weather on your health and well-being.

Take control of your well-being with WeatherWell!
Download our free app to track your symptoms and predict how the weather will affect you.
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Weatherwell app screenshot

Bottom line

Although more research is needed to fully understand the link between weather and health, the evidence so far suggests that there definitely is a connection. People who are weather sensitive may be more susceptible to health problems during extreme weather conditions and even slight weather changes. To protect your health, it’s important to know how the weather may affect you and take precautions when necessary. And WeatherWell is here to help you be more aware of the effects of the weather on your health and empower you to take control of your well-being, regardless of what nature throws your way.

December 29, 2022