Erie weather’s impact on students

Hailey Steidle, Staff writer

Many Mercyhurst students would agree with you if you said that the weather in Erie is unpredictable, especially at this point in the year.

During most students’ spring semester, they will arrive back onto campus after winter break to extremely low temperatures that will gradually rise as we get closer to the summer months.

However, during the months of February and early March it tends to vary.

For most this could lead to a multitude of concerns or issues such as seasonal depression, false hope for our bodies, or severe allergies.

Since students returned to campus in mid-January the weather has been especially unpredictable. The biggest range in weather since our return occurred on Feb. 9 to the 11. On the 9th the high was almost 63 degrees and by the time the 11th came the high was only 35.

Although these little bursts of sunshine and warmth give us brighter moods and remind us how close we are to summer, for many they also give our bodies a sense of false hope in a multitude of ways.

When weather like this comes around students are often plagued with severe allergies as pollen, mold, and changes in the humidity all rapidly grow. Tree and grass pollen are two of the most common triggers for those with seasonal allergies and as a mix of cold and warm fronts sweep across Erie it carries pollen in from other parts of the country.

As these weather fronts come in they also bring with them thunderstorms, rain and severe snow and ice.

These wet environments or those freezing and thawing rapidly also allow for mold to bloom and grow rapidly; the mold spores are another large trigger for many allergy symptoms.

Lastly the changes in the humidity can cause peoples’ noses to dry out, throats to itch, and can cause irritation to some ears.

Owen Perkosky, junior Communications major, said that the changing weather has a significant impact on both his physical and mental health. “When the weather gets nicer for a few days, it gives me a sense of hope and lightness that was missing during the cold weather, and it just sucks when it goes back to being cold after those few days of sunshine. My allergies get super bad and it doesn’t help that my mood also drops a ton whenever it’s cold and dark outside. I’m just ready for it to be nice outside consistently, because this weather is just janky right now” said Perkosky.

These weather changes not only bring about allergies but also for some it brings a much more serious issue. Seasonal Affective Disorder which is often referred to as SAD is a form of depression that occurs when there are changes in the weather.

It is often characterized by the recurrent seasonal pattern with symptoms lasting 4 to 5 months on average every year. It affects the most people in the late fall and early winter and usually be- gins to fade away in the spring and summer.

The symptoms that are included could be problems sleeping, feeling agitated, low energy, feeling hopeless or worthless, difficulty concentrating, and changes in appetite or weight.

For the millions of individuals that suffer from this form of depression, most may not ever even know that they are experiencing it as it is often just thought to be the weather making individuals gloomy and tired.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing SAD and you want to know your resources, reach out to the Mercyhurst Health and Counseling Center for advice and help.

Additionally, if you believe that your seasonal depression might be something more serious and not seasonal, consider having a professional assess your condition.

Symptoms to look out for that are a cause for concern include a new lack of motivation, chronic exhaustion, hopelessness, a severe change in appetite and recurring headaches. If you experience these even when the weather becomes nicer consistently, please reach out for help.