Why It Feels Hotter When Humid Explained!
Have you ever experienced a day where the temperature isn’t necessarily that hot, but it still feels unbearable? That’s because humidity plays a significant role in how hot it feels. Understanding the impact of humidity on our perception of temperature can help us better prepare and adjust to hot, humid climates.
What is Humidity?
Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor present in the air. Higher humidity levels mean there is more water vapor in the air, while lower humidity means there is less. Humidity can be measured in different ways, but the most common is relative humidity. Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air compared to the maximum amount it can hold at a given temperature.
How Humidity Affects Our Perception of Temperature
Our body’s natural cooling system relies on the evaporation of sweat from our skin. When the air is humid, it means that there is already a lot of moisture in the air, which slows down the evaporation of sweat from our skin. This, in turn, makes it more difficult for our bodies to regulate temperature and cool down, causing us to feel hotter and more uncomfortable.
When the humidity levels are high, our sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly, and we don’t feel cooled down. This is why on a hot summer day, it can feel unbearable even in the shade with low wind speeds.
The heat index is a measure of how hot it feels to the body when taking into account both air temperature and relative humidity. The higher the heat index, the hotter it feels, and the higher the risk of heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and other heat-related illnesses.
How to Stay Comfortable in High Humidity
Staying comfortable in high humidity requires taking extra precautions compared to dry heat. Here are some tips for staying cool in humid weather:
1. Stay Hydrated
Drinking cool water and other hydrating fluids can help our body regulate temperature and stay cool. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate the body and make us feel hotter.
2. Stay in Air-Conditioned Areas
On hot and humid days, staying in air-conditioned buildings or spending time in cooling areas like pools and beaches can give our bodies a break from the heat and humidity.
3. Dress in Loose, Comfortable Clothing
Wearing lightweight, breathable clothing that allows air to circulate can help our bodies stay cool and comfortable. Avoid tight, restrictive clothing that can trap heat and sweat.
4. Take Frequent Breaks
If you need to be outside, take frequent breaks and rest in the shade or a cool area. This gives your body time to cool down and recharge.
5. Use Fans and Cooling Devices
Fans and other cooling devices like air conditioners, swamp coolers, and misting fans can help circulate air and lower the temperature, making it feel cooler even in high humidity.
Humidity can make hot weather feel unbearable and uncomfortable, but understanding its impact can help us better prepare and adjust to humid climates. High humidity slows down the evaporation of sweat, making it difficult for our bodies to regulate temperature and cool down. Staying hydrated, staying in air-conditioned areas, wearing loose clothing, taking frequent breaks, and using fans and other cooling devices can help us stay comfortable and safe in high humidity. With these tips, you can enjoy the summer without succumbing to the heat and humidity.
Categorised in: Humidity