What is humidity?
Humidity measures the amount of water vapor, or water in the form of gas, in the air. A high level of humidity means there is a lot of water vapor in the air.
There’s usually no mistaking high humidity. The air can feel like it is pressing against your skin, and you might find it more difficult to move and breathe.
WHAT IS AN IDEAL AIR HUMIDITY LEVEL?
The majority of professional bodies recommend an ideal indoor humidity of 40-60%. Other experts state that acceptable relative humidity levels should range from 20 percent to 60 percent year-round. “Levels less than 30 percent in the winter and greater than 60 percent in the summer should be considered unacceptable.”
In terms of the recommended indoor humidity at home, a good general guide is that the level should be between 30% and 60% in all rooms of your house.
HEALTH RISKS OF HIGH HUMIDITY
When there’s too much or too little moisture in the air, it can impact your health in more ways than you think. The combination of high heat and humidity can be deadly and may lead to many unexpected health issues. From heat stroke, brain disorders to depression, high humidity can affect your health in a number of ways. High humidity can have an adverse effect on the human body. Because the air feels warmer than the official, recorded temperature, it can contribute to feelings of low energy and lethargy. In addition, over-heating as a result of your body’s inability to effectively let out heat, can negatively impact your health in conditions of high humidity.
Below, we’ve listed the top health symptoms associated with high humidity ( similar to heat-related illness and effects)
• Dehydration • Fatigue • Muscle cramps • Heat exhaustion • Fainting • Heat stroke
If you or someone you are with begins to exhibit symptoms of heatstroke, such as headaches, confusion, or vomiting, seek medical attention immediately.
How can I stay safe in high humidity?
In the region, much of the summer is humid, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it. Below are a few tips for how to get the most out of the summer season without putting your health at risk:
• Check the humidity level before venturing outside: Whatever your plans for the day, it’s always a good idea to check the weather beforehand, especially if you’re planning outdoor activities.
• Stay hydrated: The best way to stay on top of your hydration is to drink fluids before you get thirsty. You can pair your drink with a salty snack or choose energy drinks with sodium, as sodium helps your body retain the water you drink.
• Consider easing up on strenuous outdoor activities: If you had planned for a long run or hilly bike ride on a humid day, consider shortening your distance, or reschedule exercise altogether. Waiting for a cooler day with lower humidity will protect your health, and you’ll be more likely to enjoy your activity.
• Pick clothing that breathes: Opt for clothing with a looser fit, made from breathable fabrics like cotton and linen. Flowy clothes allow air to circulate against your skin and evaporate sweat rather than trap it.
• Take a break in air conditioning: After sweating in the heat, even just a few hours in cool air can help your body recover.
Humidity can aid in the fight against COVID-19
Humidity can aid in the fight against viruses. It has been proven that viruses that cause COVID 19, influenza and other flu-like illnesses survive best when the relative humidity (RH) is low.
Our immune systems are our primary defense against different viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. The performance of our immune system is affected by many factors, including humidity. When the air is dry, the effectiveness of our upper respiratory defense mechanisms in protecting our bodies from viruses, can be reduced. Dry air can also dry out nasal passages, which can slow the rate at which viruses are cleared out from the respiratory tract, thereby increasing our susceptibility of infection.
A new study published in Harvard School of Public Health describes the role of humidity in the COVID-19: 'Dry air, can facilitate the evaporation of moisture within the droplets, which may shrink down their size to what is called “droplet nuclei”. These tiny particles — still containing the virus inside them — can remain suspended in the air and travel within a space along with the air movement, leading to increased the spread of COVID 19.'