How humidity effects your body typically requires you to make some adjustments, particularly during physical work or play. Generally, most people function best in 70 to 80 degree temperatures with humidity 60% or below. When the humidity climbs above that level, your body must adjust to cope.
What is humidity? Humidity means there’s water vapor in the air and warm air can hold more than cold. The affect of humidity on your body is more of a health concern in hot rather than cold temperatures. And the reason you feel down right miserable in warmer conditions has to do with your body’s natural cooling system.
The human body functions best when its internal temperature is maintained somewhere around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. How this temperature is kept relatively steady is through management of heat your body naturally produces as a by product of metabolism. When you’re in a cold environment, biological adjustments are made to retain this metabolic heat. In a hot environment the primary mechanism for ridding excess heat is water evaporation.
Water evaporation is the conversion from a liquid to vapor. Heat is required to convert liquid water to water vapor. When water turns to vapor it is absorbed into the air, taking some heat with it. Hence your body is cooled by this loss of heat. The water source for our body’s evaporative cooling system is production of sweat.
In hot environments, if the air is relatively dry or a wind blows over your skin your natural cooling system works fairly well. But when the humidity is high water doesn’t evaporate as readily into the moist air, thus the efficiency of cooling is markedly reduced. As a result, you feel much hotter and sweatier.
Not only can humid, hot conditions feel stifling, but a rise in your internal temperature can be a very dangerous because the rate your body generates heat can exceed the amount disposed of through sweat evaporation. In this case, suffering heat stroke is one life threatening way how humidity effects your body.