Humidity and Heat: How Does it Affect the Body?

High humidity on summertime can become unbearable, making it a lot harder to stay comfortable both indoors and outdoors. Apart from making the temperature feel warmer, the high amount of moisture in the air also makes our sweat evaporate more slowly. This compromises the body’s cooling system, increasing the risk of fatigue and heat exhaustion or stroke.

Humidity and your body

Knowing how humans regulate internal temperature is one of the first steps in understanding how humidity affects the body. When the body feels warm or begins to heat up, it releases sweat as a means of thermoregulation. To remove excess heat and assist the body in cooling off, the sweat is then evaporated from the surface of the skin.

When the air has high humidity or moisture content, your sweat is slower to evaporate, which can then make you feel hot and sticky. This also causes the body to work harder to cool off, leading to excessive sweating and loss of water. It can also result in increased respiration, as the high heat and humidity can make it harder for you to catch your breath.

With high humidity, the air can feel hotter than the recorded temperature. This can contribute to a number of serious health effects such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fainting
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke

The role of air conditioning


Air conditioning proves to be a great help in lowering the adverse effects of heat and high humidity. Do take note, however, that your AC will have to work harder to keep your house cool and regulate humidity. This is why air conditioning companies in Knoxville, TN, suggest having your unit professionally inspected to make sure that it is in good condition and can handle the job.

It is also important to make sure that your cooling system is correctly sized for it to be effective in controlling humidity and handling hot summers. If your AC is undersized or too small, it may not have enough power to keep your space comfortable. An oversized AC, on the hand, will tend to short cycle frequently, which prevents the unit from properly cooling the space.

Work with a reliable contractor and be wary of those who try to force or encourage you to buy or replace your AC with a more powerful unit. Keep in mind that a bigger AC can only worsen uneven temperatures and lead to higher utility bills. The frequent turning on and off can also put more wear and tear on the system, resulting in more repair bills and decreased lifespan.

Beating the heat and staying cool

Effectively regulating humidity in your home starts with having your AC inspected and professionally serviced. There are also a number of other ways to stay cool and fight the effects of high humidity such as:

  • Dressing right (lightweight clothes and light-colored clothing)
  • Hydrating and taking frequent breaks when exposed to humid weather
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Avoiding alcohol and excessive consumption of caffeinated drinks
  • Spending more time in a cool environment or air-conditioned spaces
  • Avoiding too much sun exposure
  • Considering a whole house dehumidifier

Humidity can greatly affect your comfort, so it is only important to find ways of managing the high amount of moisture in the air.

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