No matter how long the winter…spring is sure to follow. So says the old proverb.

A famous English poet called Christina Rossetti said: “Spring is when life’s alive in everything.” There is something simply magical about springtime; even birds sound happier when they sing!

Spring is the season when nature pours in colours and fragrances as plants go through exotic hues and offer us thousands of delicate scents. Animals and plants spread out and struggle for perpetuation through their offspring.

But, despite the beauty of spring, we should be extremely cautious with our health, as living beings confront multiple problems related to this season, from uncomfortable minor illnesses to severe problems which could cause death.

Scientists have shown that mood can change with the seasons, as well as metabolism, as we know it is easier to gain weight in the winter. The activity of human genes also changes with the seasons, and so can immune system activity.

Thus, as we prepare to enjoy the warmer spring weather, we must remember the range of health risks that arise with the changing season.

Diseases that surface with spring
Infections of the skin caused by bacteria and fungus are more frequent and aggravate through springtime.

All allergic respiratory diseases increase due to the occurrence of pollen and higher quantities of dust in the atmosphere.

Gastrointestinal bacterial infections such as dysentery and viral hepatitis are mainly caused through the ingestion of fruits that were contaminated by dirty water or insects, as the increasing populations of annoying flies, mosquitoes and other insects transmit numerous infecting agents by walking on food and utensils and drinking from our meals.

When spending a lot of time outdoors beware of tick bites as, when they are infected, they can transmit Lyme disease, a very dangerous health condition.

Spring health hazards that are usually forgotten
Spring cleaning is an annual traditional ritual but, before starting, consider exactly what you are doing and what you are using to get it done. Many of the products that we use to clean our homes can become major health hazards when used or stored incorrectly and, in the worst-case scenarios, incorrect usage can lead to a visit to the hospital.

Everyone loves to have a neatly-mowed lawn but, as the weather is more enjoyable outside, some people get enthusiastic and forget to take precautions. In the warmer months, we see lots of mower injuries, toes, hands and fingers getting caught in blades and things like rocks and sticks getting flung out of them. Those are, most times, very bad injuries and hard to repair because not only can whirling blades cause complex lacerations and fractures, but they can also bury contaminants like grass and dirt in the wound.

And there is also…

Spring fever!
Spring fever is (Wikipedia) any of a number of moods, physical or behavioural changes, which may be experienced coinciding with the arrival of spring, particularly restlessness, laziness, and even amorousness… a feeling of wanting to go outdoors and do things because spring is coming, and the weather is getting warmer!

The important thing is that by taking a few simple precautions, spring health hazards can be addressed before they escalate into full-blown health risks or health problems. Even if the “spring fever” affects your “amorous” behavior … someone, somewhere, sometime has said that “an optimist is the human personification of spring”.

Best health wishes,
Maria Alice

By Dr Maria Alice
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Dr Maria Alice is a consultant in General and Family Medicine. General Manager/Medical Director – Luzdoc International Medical Service / Medilagos. Medical Director – Grupo Hospital Particular do Algarve