What is humidity?
Humidity is the amount of water vapour present in the air. Normally, when your body heats up, it releases sweat, which gets evaporated from the skin. This helps to keep it cool. In case of humid weather, however, the air has a high moisture content. As a result, the sweat from your body cannot evaporate and leaves you feeling hot and sticky.
Understanding the heat index
The heat index is a measure of how hot it actually feels when we factor in relative humidity with the actual temperature. For example, if the temperature is 35.5°Celsius and the relative humidity is 65%, it will feel like 49°Celsius!
What humidity does to you?
Some health risks which result from overexposure to humidity are as follows:
Heat exhaustion: High humidity levels hamper sweat evaporation and hinder the body’s ability to cool itself. Heat exhaustion can cause confusion, feeble pulse, dehydration, fainting, and vomiting.
Fatigue: As your body tries harder to cool off in humid weather, it results in excessive sweating. This, in turn, depletes electrolytes and vital minerals from your body making you feel tired, dizzy and weak.
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Muscle cramps: Humid weather leads to dehydration, causing a loss of electrolytes essential to maintain normal muscle and nerve functions. This interferes with the normal signal propagation, leading to cramps.
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Eye and skin irritation: Humidity often leads to a high concentration of bacteria and dust mites in the environment. This may lead to allergies and irritation in the eyes and skin.
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Mental stress: High humidity leads to a bad mood and higher stress.
Dealing with high humidity
Here are some tips to help minimize the adverse effects of high humidity:
Drink plenty of water, even if you’re not thirsty. Nothing replaces water and there is no alternative for water so drink only water instead of liquids like alcohol, caffeine, sugar drinks etc because it dehydrates the body.
Reduce strenuous physical activities or do it at the coolest time of the day.
Dress appropriately. Lightweight and light-colored clothes reflect heat, and help your body maintain a normal temperature. Furthermore, cotton clothes let your skin breathe. Avoid wearing synthetic clothes.
Beware of hot cars. Oak–, Do not stay or leave anyone (not even your pets) in closed vehicles.
Make sure your air conditioner is the right size for your home. An over-sized air conditioner can raise the relative humidity.
Don’t get too much sun. If your skin gets damaged from sunburn, you’ll have a harder time cooling down from the heat.
High humidity must not bring a halt to fast-paced and busy lives. A little bit of awareness can make you stay healthy and fit even during humid times.