Whether The Weather

One of my commenters asked if it was true that the Full moon affected people so much that the local hospital had to hire extra night staff every month.  There have been scientific studies to disprove this, and I have never worked in a hospital that hired extra staff on the basis of the phases of the moon.

But it did get me thinking about the effects that the weather has upon people, because in my experience this does have an appreciable effect.

When I was teaching children, we would dread days when it was windy, because we knew that the children would be more active, and more prone to be disobedient, another of my commenters said exactly the same thing, so I know it wasn’t a local phenomenon.

It works for adults too – I’m much busier on windy days, and while this is just my impression, I always seem to think that there are also many more assaults.

If the weather is grey and overcast, we tend to go to more old folk who are sitting indoors, or more commonly, falling over indoors.  Sometimes you get the impression that they just want someone to talk to – or to not be alone.  There also seem to be more suicide attempts as well – and it is fairly well known that suicide rates go up in springtime.  So on those rainy spring days you end up seeing a lot of Paracetamol overdoses.

Spring and Autumn rains (and in England, Summer rains) bring with them car vs car collisions, as an infrequent rain lifts off the layer of rubber and pollution left on the road by passing cars and the roads become a skid pan.  Fallen leaves on the road don’t help, and neither do the effects of the rapidly changing hours of daylight on a drivers bodyclock.

Ice on the streets means that we will be going to plenty of “Nan Down!” calls, little old ladies falling over.  When working in the hospitals I remember one icy day where I personally dealt with 23 elderly people with broken wrists caused by falling on the ice.

When the weather is sunny, there can also be chaos on the streets – this Sunday had really nice, sunny weather, the kind of weather you only seem to remember from your childhood.  East London has a lot of narrow residential streets, with cars parked nose to tail on both sides of the road.  If these streets are ‘quiet’ then children tend to forget that cars do occasionally travel down them (thankfully not often at any speed).

So this Sunday there were more than the usual number of children being hit by cars, I went to one where a six year old had run out between two parked cars and been struck.  He had a minor head wound, and complained of neck pain, so I put a hard collar on him and when the ambulance crew turned up we did a full restraint.  He was an excellent patient – normally I can’t stand kids, but he was exceptionally brave, and when I explained about the collar, he was happy to have it on because he seen them in use on the television…

There was also a (well behaved) crowd of about 30 people standing around, and when the police turned up they got people out the way by saying “I know it’s a cliche but, please move along there is nothing to see…”

It’s a good job I don’t get performance anxiety.

The hot weather also brings out the people who start drinking at lunchtime, and continue throughout the day, tie this in with a lot of sporting fixtures, and we find ourselves going to a lot of fights in a lot of pubs.


Oh, and for the people who got stuck heading Westbound on the A13 yesterday at around 15:00 – it was because there had been an accident and HEMS was blocking the road.  While I didn’t stop and look (I was too busy trying not to get hit by the people who did want to see what was happening) I did get the impression that it might have been a pedestrian trying to cross this six lane major road who then got hit.

7 thoughts on “Whether The Weather”

  1. You might be interested to read this, which is a brief summary of medical “phase of the moon is linked to X” studies, from alt.folklore.urban about ten years back; childbirth, suicide, hospital admissions, &c. Interestingly, about 40% of (medical? citations vague) people seem to believe in a lunar-phase correlation.Of course, 40% of people believing in a correlation means you might well expect to get slightly more psychosomatic illnesses at those times, just to mess it up a little…

    (The general medical-urban-legends archive, here, may also be of some interest to poke through)


  2. My Dad fell on an icy footpath while running (he never says jogging) when he lived in London at the age of 69, and hurt himself quite badly. He wrote to me that he'd taken up swimming instead “because it's harder to fall over.”

  3. I work for Sussex Police in one of the control rooms and part of our “patch” contains Beachy Head, well known for suicides etc.If we get more than one call to there in a day it generally is around that phase of the moon. In one new moon period we had three calls to people on the edge in a single day although its more likely to be less than one a week overall.

    I also remember speaking to Railtrack about a missing person and the staff told me that quite often “one under's” happen around the new moon phase.

    I tend to believe there is some truth to that saying.


  4. I'd be interested in whether these sorts of generalities are national or international. My brother was an EMT eons ago (before he threw a drunk out the back door of a moving ambulance for swinging at him–and connecting–twice… ), and he used to talk about weather and other causes of chaos.I wonder if here in the Chicago area there are as many “Nan down” issues in the winter, or less (or more?), since we tend to have ice around for 3-4 months a year!

  5. When I worked in ED the weather that used to bring out the nightlife was the combination of warmth (in our case a norwesterly wind) and a full moon. Bright light and warmth seemed to stop people sleeping and of course once you're up where can you go but to your local ED?EnZedGasMan

  6. Regarding full moon, I am not a scientist, so this is just my random thoughts, but if you think the brain is seventy per cent (eighty per cent?) water, and we know the moon pulls the tides (more water) then isn't it reasonable to suppose a full moon will pull our brains about?http://afroml.blogspot.com/

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