Coping with high humidity levels on hot days
Late summer means the end of vacations a return to school (and work) and even sometimes high levels of humidity.
The summer heat increases the amount of water that air can hold which can make going outside feel like stepping into a sauna. But is the humidity just uncomfortable or can it pose a real risk to your health?
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are two heat-related illnesses that are prevalent in high-risk groups. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that there were 7415 deaths from heat-related illness between the years of 1999 and 2010. These deaths are preventable with a few basic interventions and an understanding of the risks associated with high levels of heat and humidity.
Who is at risk?
Some people have difficulty regulating their body temperature lack the ability to sense they are overheating or can't communicate to their caregivers that they are feeling overheated. This includes the elderly children younger than two years of age the intellectually disabled and people with chronic illnesses. Caregivers friends neighbors and loved ones of people in these groups need to regularly check on them during summertime to make sure they are not overheating.
Tips for keeping cool
The CDC offers many pieces of advice for people living in areas with high heat and high humidity:
- Stay hydrated by drinking water consistently - enough to avoid thirst.
- Stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day and use an air conditioning system to help regulate your home's temperature. The CDC states that air conditioning is the No. 1 most influential factor in reducing deaths from heat so if you don't have air conditioning visit a public place that does such as a library.
- Take cool showers or baths to help reduce your body temperature.
The CDC warns against using a fan as your only method of cooling during a heat advisory as it will not work to lower your body temperature. Also try to avoid cooking with your oven and stove during extreme heat since it will increase the temperature inside your home.
High humidity levels don't have to ruin your summer. Stay cool take care of friends and loved ones and enjoy the last warm days of the season.
Image source: Flickr