5 Potentially Deadly Effects of High Humidity on the Body
What are the effects of high humidity on the body?
There are many. If you move to a place such as Florida that has high humidity, you should know what to expect.
The major ones are:
- Excessive sweating
- Fatigue and Muscle Cramps
- Heat exhaustion and heat stroke
If the humidity level in your house is above 55%, it is too high!
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Many people know of the signs of high humidity in the home. They also know that too much moisture in the air can cause the growth of mold, damage paintings, wood, clothing and other items.
But not many know what high humidity makes them feel.
How does high humidity affect the body?
Even before you read the hygrometer, your body can tell when your indoor humidity changes. However, you have to know the effects of high humidity on the body to look for.
1. You will sweat more! Effects of high humidity on the body
Higher relative humidity equals higher temperature. For the human body, this is a very uncomfortable combination.
You would think that you won’t sweat when humidity is high. To the contrary, you are likely to sweat more.
High humidity does not mean that the room temperature will rise. However, you are likely to feel hotter because the air around your body gets warmer and stays close to the skin.
And this is not only sweating, but your skin will also feel too clammy. When you sweat, it does not evaporate.
The air where it could evaporate to is already saturated with moisture. So you sweat and the dampness stays on your skin or it is absorbed by your clothes.
To lower humidity in your house, you should buy a dehumidifier such as Inofia 1500 Square Foot, 30-pint dehumidifier on amazon.com.
2. Hyperthermia – Your body overheats easily
You read that correctly, like a car, the human body too can overheat when exposed to high humidity and vigorous activity.
Hyperthermia is the opposite of hypothermia. When your body loses too much heat to the surroundings, that is hypothermia, a risk mostly associated with cold water swimming/diving or exposure to cold.
Hyperthermia on the other hand is the inability of the body to lose heat, so it ends up overheating.
What happens is that the body senses the extra coolness in the air. Since the air gets damp and traps the heat, the body “thinks” it needs to sweat more to cool down.
Sweating is losing water, so it can easily lead to dehydration. If you exercise at this time, you will sweat too much and the body can overheat easily.
It is best to avoid exercises such as mountain climbing, running and rowing when humidity is too high.
3. Fatigue and Muscle Cramps
As a result of the body overheating, you will experience lethargy, which is low energy levels. Excess humidity in the air can prevent enough oxygen getting to the blood.
Lack of enough oxygen transfer from the lungs to the other organs makes you feel dizzy, lose concentration, experience tiredness and low energy levels all the time.
If you exercise in high humidity, your body loses a lot of its salts. It is trying to compensate for the high temperature by sweating excessively.
When there is an imbalance in the salts concentration in your body, you can experience serious muscle cramps.
4. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke
High humidity makes the temperature higher, and in extreme cases, this can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion causes dizziness and serious fatigue because of the loss of salts. If your body temperature rises to 102°F, you have heat exhaustion.
Heatstroke is more serious than heat exhaustion. It causes unconsciousness and confusion. If there is a heat stroke in the forecast, people are advised to keep indoors. If the body temperature rises to 105°F, you have a heatstroke.
Although we mentioned losing consciousness in the heatstroke section, still, too much humidity in the air can cause your body to lose salts fast.
This causes low blood pressure and eventually, fainting. Please note that exercising in high humidity conditions can cause fainting.
Effects of high humidity on the body FAQ
Because of the relationship between high humidity and high temperature, most people who live in humid places such as Seattle always ask how high or low humidity affects the body.
Here is more clarifications on the most frequently asked questions:
What is the disadvantage of high humidity?
It can cause lethargy, unconsciousness, heat exhaustion, muscle cramps and hyperthermia where the body overheats and loses water and salts.
Is high humidity good for health?
The recommended relative humidity level for indoor comfort is between 40 and 55%. If it is lower than 40%, you experience the symptoms of dry air. Any higher than that, you will experience high humidity sickness and other negative effects.
If humidity is high what happens?
Many things happen. First, your body experience high temperatures and it sweats excessively, therefore losing a lot of water and salt. Eventually, you will experience overheating or hyperthermia.
Secondly, your indoor items will be affected. The furniture, paintings, books, carpets and clothing can sustain damage.
Thirdly, you will start to see the symptoms of mold in your house.
Can humidity make you dizzy?
High humidity can make you dizzy, unconscious or both especially if it leads to heatstroke or heat exhaustion. So yes, you need a humidity level of a maximum 55%.
Does humidity make you sweat more?
Definitely, humidity makes you sweat more. Too much dampness in the air traps heat. Thus, it fools your body that it is too hot.
It tries to compensate by sweating excessively. Thus, you sweat more and get more uncomfortable because the sweat does not evaporate.
Does humidity affect blood pressure?
In high humidity, your body sweats excessively. This causes a high loss of salts and water, and in return causes low blood pressure. If unchecked, this can cause unconsciousness and dizziness.
Can you get sick from high humidity?
Yes, you can experience spells of dizziness when your body loses a lot of water and salts. Some indoor allergens such as mold also cause sickness in people.
Also, many bacteria and viruses thrive in humid conditions.
Does humidity affect breathing?
If you have high humidity, you will experience breathing difficulties especially because your blood will not get enough oxygen. People with the lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease -COPD can have a hard time breathing in high humidity.
Conclusion: How does humidity affect human comfort?
The right relative humidity level is everything when it comes to indoor comfort. It affects how we breathe and how our bodies regulate temperature.
When the humidity is too high, it can cause illness, disease and other discomforts. When it is too low, it causes dry skin, frizzy hair, cracked paint and wood.
Thus, you must regulate humidity such that it never exceeds 55%, but the recommended relative level is 45%.
To control indoor humidity better, you need to buy a humidifier and a dehumidifier.