Humidity in itself is fantastic and enjoyable, that’s why most of us seek the best humidifiers, but difficulty breathing in humid weather by some people has caused a lot of respiratory problems which needed to be address.
Humid air is that air that is densely filled with moisture as seen in the rain forest. In most cases, the air is wet, and the temperature tends to go higher than in the less humid air due to the ineffective evaporation.
In this article, we will be shedding more light about frequently asked questions on the relationship between humid air and breathing.
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What is humidity and relative humidity?
Humidity is basically the amount or quantity of water vapor or moisture that is present in the atmosphere at any moment. Water vapor is derived from the action of vaporizing or evaporating water by heating until it reaches its boiling point.
Molecules of water at its boiling point gathers enough kinetic energy to break free from the bonds of the water molecule, escaping into the atmosphere where soon enough in high quantity increases the amount of moisture in the air. The measurement of this moisture level can be referred to a humidity.
Relative humidity, on the other hand, is a type of measurement of humidity, which also deals with the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. When measuring relative humidity, you must always take into consideration the temperature at that particular time.
It is, therefore, the amount of water vapor in the air, which is expressed as a percentage of the total amount of water vapor that could be held by it at its current temperature.
The significant difference with relative humidity is that it is gotten in comparison with the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold at a temperature and is always expressed in percentage.
Humidity generally plays a vital role in the existence of living organisms, helping in the regulation of sweat in the human body which is very important for maintaining internal body temperature and also supports the growth of microorganisms like bacteria and plants. You should even know that generally, hot air can hold far more moisture than cold air.
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Why is it difficult to breathe in humidity and hot air?
It has been established already that hot air always has a higher level of water molecules present in them when compared with cold air.
They are also lighter in weight and tend to fill up the higher level atmosphere of the environment.
Due to the content of hot air being high water vapor and lower oxygen molecules, such air is difficult to breathe, and also the hemoglobin in human blood does not readily bind to oxygen molecules at high levels.
Humidity breathing Anxiety: Another primary reason for difficult breathing in humid air
Humidity breathing anxiety is genuine in case you have been wondering if It was real or was just a rumor. Humidity anxiety which is also called vasovagal attack is caused by a combination of all of the effects of low blood pressure that leads to a sudden drop in heart rate, and dehydration which most times could be as a result of high levels of heat.
The result of all these together could lead to anxiety and have been known even to cause one to faint.
People that have experienced this have been known to subconsciously lose control of their body, with a high level of sweat and ultimately end up in a seizure-like state that is of course less than healthy.
All these lead to a more difficult rate of breathing, which is why it is essential to spend time outside and pay more attention to your body for signs that may lead to anxiety, examples of such are fatigue, nausea, insomnia, palpitations, etc.
Medical personals have also advised people to stay hydrated, have at least a sound and running air conditioning system to keep you fresh at home and spend time with friends and family. In cases of an anxiety attack, you should place packs of ice packs on the head and face to ease the nervous system.
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Is there less oxygen in humid air?
Once that long-awaited season comes, despised by some and much appreciated by others, depending on your preference, there is always much to cheer about especially the big relieve from the beachy atmosphere for sun tanning and all sort of fun.
Summer in its uniqueness comes with a higher level of humidity in the air, and although it brings relief from moderately elevated temperatures, on really sunny days at times, it becomes difficult to breathe leaving a question to be answered, “Is there less oxygen in humid air?”
Answering that question in a straight forward way, the answer is simply YES; there is less oxygen in the humid air.
Increased humidity, although caused as a result of a higher level of the water molecule in the atmosphere, with water molecules certainly containing oxygen, you should know that we breathe in oxygen existing in its single form.
As seen above, when in 100% humidity, water molecules contain oxygen but also with a presence of hydrogen and nitrogen, making it unbreathable by humans, so with the increased amount in the atmosphere, it actually knocks off single oxygen molecules out of the atmosphere.
This is why anytime you find yourself in a spa with heated water source or you jump into your steamed Jacuzzi/ hot tubs, if the room they are in is confined, it is mostly more difficult to breathe than in open spaces.
Can heat and humidity cause shortness of breath?
Heat generally is in some way related to a high level of humidity, i.e., when the area is hot, then the humidity level most times could be high, due to more evaporation or water. People tend to sweat more under heat and water in the environment dry up, all vapors going into the atmosphere and adding moisture, therefore increasing the humidity level, which could lead to shortness of breath.
Under extremely temperature conditions, the body fails to regulate its internal temperature, which could result in hyperthermia that can lead to heat stroke, heat cramps, and even exhaustion. Hyperthermia can cause the heart to beat rapidly, therefore allowing more blood to flow to the skin to help cool off but leaving organs of the body short of blood supply.
The rapid increase in the demand for oxygen by the body due to it trying to remain cool can lead to a more reduced level of lung function, therefore causing a less than usual breathing pattern which may be rapid or very deep. This is called hyperpnea.
In the case of high humidity level, the higher the water vapor in the atmosphere, the less the molecules of oxygen left to breathe in, therefore leading to lower breathing. In all, a high level of heat or humidity in the atmosphere can lead to shortness of breath.
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Tips for breathing easier in hot and humid weather
In hot and humid weather, it has already been established earlier in this article (and from experienced) that it could lead to severe breathing. But not to give up home, cause there are some steps to take that you can do to help ensure that your breath remains normal and less complicated.
- Adjust to the type of weather:
What the weather does when it fluctuates, is to in turn change the temperature of the human body. This temperature change is what is actually harmful to us, but you can make conscious efforts to ensure that the changes are minimal both in effect it causes and its actual degree measurements, this is what adaptation simply means.
It is as easy as making use of a coat when you move from boiling weather condition into an air-conditioned area. Doctors have also advised you to cover your nostrils and mouth as this would help to increase the humidity content of the air you breathe in.
- Visit a medical center:
Regardless of the type of steps you take or intend taking, always make sure you visit medical personnel, for professional advice as on how to go about it. This would ensure you don’t miss out on anything you could have done and don’t do anything wrong. In all you wouldn’t don’t know better than the doctor, would you?
- Avoid triggers:
Triggers in the atmosphere could be a significant source of discomfort, leading to difficulty breathing in the atmosphere. From smoke pallets to fumes, chemical containing products, mold, dust, mites, insecticides, there is an endless list of triggers present in the atmosphere that could compound your already severe breathing problems.
Do well to avoid these the best that you can or make use of appropriate nose masks in situations where avoiding is not possible.
- Make use of prescribed medications:
If you are experiencing a high and frequent level of this or maybe you already have existing lung problems. Do ensure you make use of drugs that were, of course, prescribes by qualified medical personnel, as this would help you stay healthy and easy adjusting to the hot and humid weather.
- Live a healthy lifestyle:
In all ensure you live healthily, making sure that your body is always fit and in good condition at all times. This would help in combating mishaps when they arise and could go a long way in supplementing whatever the medications the doctors prescribed in cases of illness.
A proper eating diet is also a compulsory addition as it helps you live healthy while ensuring that you control the amount of stress you go through every day, making sure that it is not excessive. Do make sure you have a structured routine exercising programs that you obey diligently as a plus to your combat against illness.
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Conclusion: Difficulty breathing in humid weather
The fight against humid weather as far as it exists is a constant struggle and would always be. This is why you must ensure you do well to adhere to the strict steps for maintaining a good and healthy leaving at all times.
From the exercises to your diet, clothing, the content of the atmosphere in the area you live in and the doctor’s prescription, they are all essential, and none should be violated due to your thinking of it being irrelevant.
Also ensure you stay hydrated at all times most importantly, as you would lose a large amount of water on a regular scale, and much more during the period of exercises.
Although most people find it difficult to breathe air during humid weathers, if you adhere to our few tips, then you are sure to have an easier time than most, making life more enjoyable for you and your family.