Winter well-being

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The article “Major Weather Swings Can Be Harmful to Our Physical, Mental Health” (Jan. 10) suggests that atmospheric pressure changes of 0.3 inch of mercury can have a significant, direct, harmful, physiological effect. This is very hard to believe. An ordinary airline flight subjects passengers and crew to a rapid pressure drop of about 7 inches of mercury, 23 times as great, followed by a rapid return.

In addition, the rate of pressure change on an airline flight is very much higher than any weather-related pressure change. A trip from a coastal area, such as New York City or Houston, to Denver not only involves the airplane cabin pressure change, but also leaves one in the Mile High City at a pressure 5.28 inches lower than sea level pressure. If 0.3-inch pressure changes can harm people, then flying especially to Denver or other high altitude locations should kill people in droves.

Pressure changes of 0.3 inch at the surface are associated with major weather changes. It’s much more likely that any health effects are somehow related to the other weather changes. That the “effect is strongest in the fall and winter” suggests a relation with large snowfalls and low temperatures associated with fall and winter storms.

MARK HOLM
Monroeville


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