Spring Weather Brings Spring Illnesses

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Весеннее обострение: spring flare-up; spring fever

Over my years of living in Moscow, I have come to embrace a number of Russian cultural concepts. I accept superstition as a viable lifestyle. I believe that all plastic bags should be saved until the end of time. I check the sunspot activity forecast before leaving the house. And I'm beginning to think that весеннее обострение -- the belief that all mental and physical processes go kerflooey in the spring -- might exist.

The list of what can go wrong when the weather gets nicer certainly makes you take notice.

One newspaper article begins: Пришла весна -- отворяй ворота болезням! (Spring is here -- open the door to illness!) These include хронические заболевания (chronic illnesses), particularly гипертонические (hypertensive, or connected with high blood pressure).

When was the last time you considered your kidneys? Well, now's a good time to do it, since in the spring происходят обострения пиелонефрита и почечно-каменной болезни (kidney infections and kidney-stone disease are exacerbated).

Then there's your gut, which is guaranteed to suffer when the sun shines longer. These ailments include гастрит (gastritis) and холецистит (inflammation of the gallbladder).

Your skin goes nuts when you expose it to more sun. You can expect flare ups of хроническая экзема (chronic eczema) and псориаз (psoriasis).

If you're starting to itch just reading about this, prepare yourself for сенная лихорадка (hay fever), which is associated with ринит (rhinitis, or a runny nose) and бронхиальная астма (bronchial asthma).

On top of everything else, in the spring происходит что-то вроде гормонального взрыва (there is something of a hormonal explosion). Now that sounds fun. Unfortunately, the results are not quite so pleasant: мужчины становятся более агрессивными, женщины -- более сентиментальными (men become more aggressive and women become more sentimental). In other words, women sit on the couch and cry over baby pictures, while men break down the doors and order them around.

What was Mother Nature thinking?

The most famous purported effects of this spring madness are mental health problems.

We feel смутная тоска (vague melancholy), головные боли (headaches) and головокружение (dizziness). Падает работоспособность (Capacity for work diminishes). Люди испытывают упадок сил (People are enervated).

How widespread is this? Синдром весенней депрессии встречается практически у каждого второго жителя планеты (The spring depression syndrome can be found in almost half the inhabitants of the planet). In the worse cases, крыша едет (you flip your lid) as part of весеннее брожение умов (spring mental turmoil).

Spring fever is a common explanation for any extreme behavior on the political scene. Иначе как весенним обострением демарш грузинских депутатов объяснить трудно (It's hard to explain the Georgian legislators' move as anything but spring madness).

In the spring, bad things get worse: У инфляции весеннее обострение (There is a spring surge in inflation). Весеннее обострение отмечается у русских скинхедов (Russian skinheads behave worse in the spring). And then worse comes to worst. Journalists note весеннее обострение холодной войны, политической шизофрении (the Cold War and political insanity become exacerbated in the spring).

In short, in the spring you will suffer heart, kidney, stomach and skin problems. Your boyfriend will become a brute, and your girlfriend will have crying jags. You will be depressed, exhausted and incapable of work. Politicians will make crazy announcements, deputies will pass dubious laws and officials will behave like lunatics.

Why were we all looking forward to nice weather?

Michele A. Berdy is a Moscow-based translator and interpreter.