Hot Weather to Cold: 6 Ways to Prevent Illnesses from Ruining Your Travel
Published | 8 min read
Ready to travel now that borders are opening again? Follow these travel health tips to navigate changes from hot weather to cooler temperatures and vice versa.
It has been over three years since the COVID-19 global pan
Here are some smart and responsible ways to maintain your health while you begin travelling the world again, crossing time zones and embracing different weather conditions.
How Your Body Reacts in
Extreme Cold and Hot Weather
When exposed to a much colder or hotter temperature than usual, the body’s immune system will need to work harder to maintain equilibrium. The much drier air in a
Meanwhile, going from cold to hot weather can have its setbacks too. Even though most Malaysians are used to hot weather, the sudden change in temperature when we go to an even hotter place, or return to Malaysia, can cause some heat-related discomforts. This includes prickly heat, and even illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
How Weather Changes Affect People with Chronic Illnesses
Temperature extremes can worsen chronic conditions, including cardiovascular, respiratory, and cerebrovascular disease (stroke, aneurysms) and diabetes-related conditions, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Increased rate of heart attacks
Findings presented by the
Results of the same study showed the risk of a heart attack increased by about 5% for every five-degree Celsius jump in temperature. Swings of more than 25 degrees Celsius were associated with a greater increase in heart attack rates compared to a smaller increase of 10 to 25 degrees Celsius.
Increase in blood pressure
Exposure to extreme cold can elevate your blood pressure. According to research published by the American Heart Association Journal, the cold activates your body’s sympathetic nervous system, which, in turn, increases the activity of the renin–angiotensin system. This is a hormone system that regulates your blood pressure, fluid and electrolyte balance, and how blood vessels alter blood pressure.
When experiencing very cold temperatures, this system works to suppress certain enzymes in your body and decreases nitrate oxide production. This contributes to the development of cold-induced hypertension, alterations in skin constriction and contraction of blood vessels. As a result, there is in a marked spike in pressure to your heart and more sweating, leading to salt loss.
Increase in stroke risk
German researchers studying stroke and rapid weather changes found that rapid decreases in temperature and quick changes in humidity and atmospheric pressure increases stroke risk under temperate climate conditions.
Increase in mortality of diabetes patients
Research published in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives discovered that people living with diabetes were more prone to dehydration and cardiovascular issues during extreme hot weather. It states that heat stress may worsen various health issues, including diabetes and ultimately lead to increased mortality.
Extreme Weather Changes and Traditional Chinese Medicine
“In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), illnesses due to extreme temperature transitions happen when Lung and stomach qi are unable to adapt to the sudden change. This leads to respiratory diseases such as colds, pneumonia, rhinitis, and asthma,” TCM
“When the body is not protected from the cold, cold qi invades and causes
How to Stay Healthy When Travelling Across Climates
Now that you know why you can fall ill while travelling between different climates and temperatures, here are several useful tips to help ensure you remain healthy throughout your travels:
1. Strengthen Your Defences
The best thing you can do is to prevent illness. Leave enough time to prepare your travel documents and packing to avoid unnecessary extra stress that can lower your immunity. Make sure to have enough sleep, hydration, and nutrition prior to your travels.
“In TCM, it is believed that diseases caused by temperature difference can be prevented by strengthening the
Maintain your health and immunity through carefully prescribed TCM herbs.
2. Prepare Suitable Clothing
To keep your body temperature within a safe range, it’s important to have
Going to very hot places can also interfere with temperature regulation when your sweat doesn’t evaporate quickly. On the same token, put on clothing that you can take off in layers to cool your body, made of cotton or quick-drying materials that won’t trap heat.
3. Remember to Hydrate
Keeping your body hydrated is key when dealing with hot weather. Sometimes in the rush of catching your next flight, you may forget to drink enough water. Bring
4. Understand the Signs of Extreme Temperature-Related Illnesses
It is esse
When visiting a much hotter place or returning to a hot and humid place like Malaysia, the sudden heat change can overwhelm your system. You might feel
Speak to your doctor or TCM physician prior to travelling for advice on what to do should your body show signs of aggravated chronic conditions due to temperature changes.
5. Bring a Travel First Aid Kit
Sometimes even with the best planning, you may still fall ill. At that point, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, be prepared by bringing some medicines to help with the symptoms
You may even want to talk to your TCM physician and have some TCM herbs, such as a
6. Keep Moving
Travelling is a great way to live a balanced and happy life, but it can also be quite taxing on the body when you move from hot weather to below-zero temperature and vice versa. Being as prepared as possible will ensure you can fully enjoy your trip, coming home refreshed and rejuvenated. So, are you ready for your next trip?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2021. Cold Weather and Travel. [Accessed 2 July 2022].
- Fit For Travel – National Health Services (NHS). Heat and Humidity. [Accessed 2 July 2022].
- Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Can Weather Changes Make You Sick? [Accessed 2 July 2022].
- NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. How to Stay Healthy While Traveling. [Accessed 2 July 2022].
- BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017. Efficacy and safety of Jianzhong decoction in treating peptic ulcers: a meta-analysis of 58 randomised controlled trials with 5192 patients. [Accessed 2 July 2022].
- International Journal of Microbiology. 2015. Edible Mushrooms: Improving Human Health and Promoting Quality Life. [Accessed 2 July 2022].
- Journal of Food and Drug Analysis. 2018. Efficacy of protein rich pearl powder on antioxidant status in a randomized placebo-controlled trial. [Accessed 27 March 2022].
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