Humidity & Health: Protect Yourself From Heat Distress
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – August may only be half over but it is on pace to be the most humid month that the Tri-State Area has experienced in a decade.
While a rise in heat and humidity can be uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous. The sticky, muggy air can sap your strength and make you feel sluggish and bloated.
Medical experts told TV 10-55’s Katie McGee that humidity can lead to dehydration and serious medical emergencies.
“When the humidity is high, then that interferes with the body’s ability to get rid of heat to evaporate it off of your skin’s surface. So you sweat a lot but you don’t get rid of the heat as easily,” explained Dr. Jeffrey Rabrich of St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.
Climatologists explain that as the dew point rises it becomes harder for perspiration to evaporate into the already soggy atmosphere.
“That’s when you start getting heat distress. So, it’s not just a matter of discomfort, it’s a matter of danger,” Dr. Dave Robinson said.
However, excessive sweating is not the only side effect of heat and humidity; dehydration can cause limbs and fingers to swell.
“It’s a protective mechanism, when you’re not drinking enough water, especially in hot weather your body holds onto the water,” explained nutritionist Robin Kaiden. “Sometimes if you feel bloated and you realize that you haven’t drank enough, just drink more and your kidneys will release that extra fluid.”
Kaiden said what you eat may be just as important as what you drink.
“All these fruits and vegetables, they’re really high in water; watermelon, cucumber, celery, so any way that you can get more water or use the vegetables that are natural diuretics, will help shed water from the body,” she said.
Finally, experts recommended eating smaller more frequent meals, limiting activity and getting inside with the air-conditioning.
How are you coping with the heat and humidity this summer? Let us know in our comments section below…