Student Health Service advises caution during inversion

Forecasters say the inversion will reappear this weekend and the U’s Student Health Services advises students to use caution.

Students with a history of heart and respiratory problems and depression should be aware of cold and overcast weather conditions. These could have a major impact on their health, according to Vicki Judd, Medical Director for Student Health Services.

“Allergies in the air can trigger medical problems like asthma for some people,” she said. “Those who have any chronic lung disease and those who can not handle stress very well should be careful.”

Cold and cloudy weather, such as the inversion invading Utah, has an effect on students’ mental health. The inversion can trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression affecting 10 percent of U.S. adults, according to psychiatrist Dave Tomb.

“S.A.D. occurs in both winter and summer months,” Judd said. “During the winter, students with symptoms of S.A.D. tend to sleep more and not interact with others as much.”

Judd said depression is more common among students because of stresses related to school.

“We do see a number of students with year-round depression,” she said. “Twenty percent of adults experience depression in the U.S. alone.”

Judd said students are able to avoid S.A.D. by exercising regularly and managing stress.

“There are also treatments like light therapy where you sit in front of a light that resembles sunlight for 10 minutes a day,” she said. “This can sometimes help the body avoid depression.”

Forecasters say the inversion should clear out by Tuesday, Feb. 22.

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