Spring and summer in the South come with hot temperatures and high humidity levels. The increased moisture in the air can threaten your health and can damage your home with expansion, rot, and mold.
Here's what to know about the dangers of humidity and humidity safety.
What are the health risks?
Breathing: Humidity causes strain on the lungs, which can aggravate breathing conditions such as asthma and COPD.
Increased moisture indoors can breed allergenic mites and fungi, which also affect breathing and overall health. These organisms thrive in relative humidity over 60%, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Viruses: Airborne viruses, such as the flu and the common cold, survive well in relative humidity over 70%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Hyperthermia: When high heat and humidity combine, your risk of hyperthermia, or heat-related illness, increases. Sweat cannot evaporate as quickly in humid weather, leaving you feeling hotter and more at risk for heatstroke, according to the CDC.
What can you do?
Inside: A dehumidifier can help pull moisture out of your home and improve air quality. Sealing air leaks and adding external vents to your stove and dryer also will help reduce humidity. For more ideas, read How to Help Conquer Home Humidity.
Outdoors: Check the dew point rather than the humidity level. If the dew point is in the 60s or 70s, you'll likely have a hard time cooling off. To avoid heat-related illness, limit your time outside, stay in the shade whenever possible, and wear breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen.
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