A humid environment refers to an atmosphere with relatively high levels of water vapor. Most people only understand the effects of high humidity on your health, mainly because one will experience immediate personal discomfort like sweating in a high humidity environment. However, a shallow humidity environment also poses serious health risks.
Potential health risks:
1. High humidity: humidity affects how our bodies regulate our internal body temperature. Biologically, when our bodies get warm, we produce sweat. This sweat is supposed to evaporate, thus cooling our bodies. In a humid environment, the increased moisture in the air makes it difficult for the sweat produced to evaporate. This results in excessive sweating, increased respiration, and hyperthermia.
The potential health risks include:
- Respiratory system diseases – Living in a house with high humidity increases the chances of you or your family contracting respiratory diseases like the common cold, the influenza virus, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
- Dermatopathy – A humid environment can result in you contracting skin diseases. If your skin has been developing blisters, skin rashes, skin sloughing, or you have discolored skin, it might all be as a result of the high humidity in the house.
- Allergic diseases – Studies have proven that living in a home with high humidity can greatly increase the chance of developing respiratory problems like asthma, especially in children.
- Increased concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) due to high humidity in the home is a dangerous health risk. When exposed to volatile organic compounds like black mode for a long time, it can damage the nervous system, eczema, and cancer.
- Dehydration. - Because high humidity decreases the rate of sweat evaporation, which causes the body to produce more sweat as it tries to cool the internal body temperature, which causes dehydration. Dehydration thickens the blood; thus, more pressure is needed to pump it through the body. This causes severe strain on the blood vessels and the heart, which can cause a heart attack.
- Muscle cramps. – Heat cramps caused by the body’s inability to cool in humid environments can be experienced, especially in the legs.
- Heatstroke – In cases of extreme heat that cause the body temperature to rise above 105◦. One may experience confusion, lethargy, and complete loss of consciousness, which is a heat stroke. At that point, the person requires immediate medical attention.
- Fainting – Heat exhaustion caused by dehydration can lead to body weakness and dizziness. It is important to stay hydrated when in a humid environment.
- Fatigue – If you experience a general feeling of fatigue frequently, it might affect the humid environment's effects on your body’s functionalities.
There is not much we can do to regulate the humidity outside, but you can easily lower the humidity level inside the house by buying a dehumidifier. Check out your comprehensive guide to buying a dehumidifier.
2. Low humidity: mainly experienced during the winter months and in cold temperatures. Dry air has the following potential health risks.
- People exposed to low humid environments experience dry and inflame of the mucous membrane lining of the respiratory tract. This increases the risk of the flu, colds, and other respiratory infections.
- The flu viruses and other pathogens can survive longer in low humidity. If you or your family members keep suffering from the flu reoccurrence, it might just be a result of low humidity.
- Skin problem – Research has proven that dry air makes the skin itchy and flaky. Which can result in worsening of existing skin allergies?
- Eye problems – Dry air surrounding the eyes causes moisture imbalance due to increased evaporation of tears. This leads to irritation around the eyes, and the drying of the film in the eyes can result in blurred vision.
To ensure your home maintains an average humidity level buy a humidifier.