The hot, steamy days of summer signify the coming of cocktails and swimwear, but they also mean stickiness, stifling nights and all the wonders of increased humidity. Anybody who feels particularly unsettled by soaring moisture in the air will know that humidity affects your body. It can impact your health in subtle and interesting ways, from increasing the risk of dehydration to stressing out your heart.
"Most people are sensitive to heat and humidity, which cause feelings of stickiness and discomfort," Dr. Janette Nesheiwat ,M.D., a family and emergency doctor, tells Bustle. The ideal moisture level in the air for most people is between 30 and 60%, and anything that goes beyond that may make you start to feel a bit uncomfortable. Moisture in the air changes the body's perception of heat; the higher the moisture, the hotter it feels.
It can also be humid when it's cold, and that's not much fun either — a combination of cool temperatures and moist air can make arthritis worse, according to a study published in NPJ Digital Medicine in 2019. But it's in the warmer months that it can be notoriously bad. Here's how that thick summer air can affect your body.