Föhn winds are dry, warm winds which occur in the lee of mountain ranges. According to Wikipedia föhn winds have been long associated with negative health impacts, especially in German-speaking Europe, where the term Föhnkrankheit (English: Föhn-sickness) has long been used...

Anecdotally, residents in areas of frequent föhn winds report illnesses ranging from migraines to psychosis. The first clinical review of these effects was published by the Austrian physician, Anton Czermak in the 19th century. A study by the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München found that suicide and accidents increased by 10 percent during föhn winds in Central Europe. The causation of Föhnkrankheit (English: Föhn-sickness) is yet unproven. Labeling for preparations of aspirin combined with caffeine, codeine and the like will sometimes include Föhnkrankheit amongst the indications.

The wiki article is weakly cited, so what evidence is there to support föhn sickness, and by what physical mechanisms is it thought likely to cause ill effects, when dry and warm conditions are generally held to be beneficial (within certain limits) to health?

  • Föhn causes rapid changes in temperature and particularly atmospheric pressure. These are the physical mechanisms you are looking for.
    – pommy
    Jan 13, 2015 at 10:09


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