Heat and humidity conspire for discomfort, danger

July 21, 2011

(AP) -- When it comes to the discomfort and health risks of the current heat wave, it's not just the heat or the humidity - it's both.

The temperature conspires with the amount of moisture in the air to make it hard for the human body to cool itself.

When people get hot, the body tries to cool down by moving extra blood to the skin and by sweating.

Blood in the tiny vessels near the skin can dissipate heat into the air, if the air is cooler than the body. But that doesn't work if the air is as hot as the body or hotter.

Sweat helps, because when water evaporates it removes heat. But the more moisture already in the air - the higher the humidity - the less evaporation can occur.

Those two processes account for more than 90 percent of the body's ability to dissipate heat, and when they aren't working, trouble can come from , and even death.

Explore further: Weather conditions could results in cattle heat stress

shares

Related Stories

Weather conditions could results in cattle heat stress

July 19, 2011
Cattle producers should be aware that forecasted weather conditions could result in significant heat stress issues in cattle. The US Meat Animal Research Center predicts danger or emergency conditions through most of South ...

Over 65 and not worried about heat? You should be

July 19, 2011
(AP) -- This week's heat wave may be uncomfortable, but you're healthy, active and feel just fine. So what if you're over 65? Think again. Feeling good doesn't mean you're safe.

Recommended for you

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.