Why do we feel hotter in humidity?

We all know that 32 degrees in Darwin feels a lot hotter than 32 degrees in dryer areas. Have you ever wondered why?

Your body needs to maintain a constant temperature of around 37 degrees to function properly. Your body produces heat by the conversion of food into energy (metabolism) and by muscular activity (exercising or shivering). Heat is also absorbed from sun, hot air and hot food.
Your body cools by dilating (widening) blood vessels near the skin’s surface, to allow warm blood to be brought to the surface for the heat to escape. The evaporation of sweat from the skin’s surface also assists heat loss. Moving air, from a fan or breeze, enhances this cooling process. The faster the air moves, the quicker sweat evaporates and the layer of warmed air near the skin is wafted away.
Working or exercising in a hot environment is risky because the air heats the body at a faster rate that it can cool itself. In a hot dry climate, the evaporation is fast and the body can cool itself faster. In a humid climate the evaporation is slower. So to help your body’s own cooling system in humidity it’s best to; avoid vigorous physical activity, wear minimal, light, loose clothing, stay out of the sun, frequently drink water and get in front of a fan or cool breeze.

Heat exhaustion
You can succumb to heat exhaustion if you aren’t careful in hot weather, especially if you are active, have to wear heavy clothing or allow yourself to become dehydrated.
Fluid loss from sweating decreases the amount of water in your body and therefore the blood volume also decreases. Because the blood flow to the skin increases, the effectiveness of the circulation to your vital organs is decreased, possibly causing your body to go into a mild form of shock.

What are the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion?

* Feeling hot, weak and fatigued
* A headache that won’t go away
* Suffering thirst and nausea
* Feeling dizzy and faint
* Rapid breathing or short of breath
* Pale, cool, clammy skin
* Rapid, weak pulse

What should I do if I think someone with me or I may be suffering heat exhaustion?
Move the sufferer to a cool place with circulating air
Remove unnecessary clothes and loosen tight clothes
Sponge with cool water
Give frequent sips of cool water
Seek medical assistance if the sufferer doesn’t recover quickly or vomits.

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