They call it “biometeorology” and a couple of guys from Ontario are worldwide biometeorological leaders. But you may well ask: “Just what is biometeorology?” or you may ask: “What are you on about this time?” Or you may not care. Unless you have a headache right now.
OK, maybe I should explain what I’m on about this time, thereby answering your two questions at the same time, whilst addressing those who don’t care because they don’t care about anything on account of they are currently fighting a wicked migraine headache.
Since you asked, the science of biometeorology is all about one question: How does weather and climate impact the well-being of all living creatures? Also: Why does it always rain and/or snow on long weekends?
Which got me to thinking, all biometeorologist should move immediately to Alberta, where the weather changes dramatically about every five minutes. If they want to study changes in weather, boy, have we got weather.
What better place than here, where one minute you’re slapping on the 60 SPF sunscreen and slamming down Slurpees and five minutes later you’re scrambling to take shelter in the basement from beachball-sized hailstones. Looking around the room, biting your lip, up to your ankles in water, a Shop Vac in one hand and a sump pump in the other.
But as I say, two of the world leaders in the biometeorology field are from Ontario, which means they are at least Canadian so we can forgive them for not being in Alberta where the real weather is. One is a doctor and one is a meteorologist, and it marks the first time two scientific-type professionals have ever agreed on anything. It is also the first formal North American health watch association created by a physician and a meteorologist.
The result is Mediclim, a made-in-Canada weather health warning system that serves Canada, U.S., the U.K. and France — although I’m pretty sure these are not the only four places on Earth that have actual weather.
But I can hear you asking: “But, Harley, how does this Mediclim thing work?” Good question; thanks for asking.
The service is for people of all ages who suffer from chronic health conditions such as migraine headaches or asthma, neither of which is funny at all.
It simple, really — and it has to be because I myself am a registered subscriber to Mediclim, along with many other people whose heads sometimes explode due to rampant migraine molecules.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Get a computer.
Step 2: Learn to Use the Internet.
Step 3: Call a computer tech because your computer just crashed.
Step 4: When possible, go to www.mediclim.com
Step 5: Register (it’s a secure site, and it’s actually free!)
Step 6: Check your emails daily (when you are not Facebooking, Googling or searching questionable websites).
So far so good, you say, but it’s taking an awful long time to get to the point about why people should check out Mediclim. True, on account of I’m not thinking straight because I have a blinding noggin-buster brought on by the weather. Which, in fact, is the point.
You see, the two biometeorological people behind Mediclim (Dr. Bart and Mr. Bourque) have identified 14 different weather conditions proven to affect six diseases, including migraines, asthma, cardio vascular conditions, diabetes and arthritis. So this is way beyond the fact that you are bummed out because it’s raining or that you are feeling icky because it’s too hot out.
Certain changes in barometric pressure, wind, temperature, humidity and other factors bordering on witchcraft (like full moons and chinooks) trigger or intensify the symptoms of the six medical problems, as well as increasing rudeness to retail clerks, producing road rage, and wrecking weekend camping trips and neighbourhood soccer games.
So Mediclim analyzes the weather in your area and if the conditions meet the criteria that will cause flare ups of arthritis or diabetes, etc., you receive an email before the predicted biometeorological bummer.
The email warns you that weather conditions will likely affect your affliction in 24 hours, enough time for you to relocate to Hawaii where there are only two kinds of weather: perfect and almost perfect. Or you can prepare by scarfing down appropriate medication and avoiding triggers that exacerbate the condition. Triggers such as chocolate, wine, cheese or anything else that you really enjoy. Which I feel isn’t really fair except for the fact that I got to use the word ‘exacerbate’ in a sentence.
Thing is, Mediclim has been very successful in helping humans manage exacerbations in a variety of unfunny medical conditions due to changes in the weather.
And we Albertans can use all the help we can get because, after all, as the old saying goes: “If you don’t like the weather here, wait five minutes.”
Or we could all move to Hawaii. I’m sure medicare would cover it.
Harley Hay is a local filmmaker, author and musician. His column appears every Saturday in the Advocate.