When we talk about humidity, we’re referring mainly to the atmospheric humidity, which corresponds to the water vapor contained in the air. Although humidity is usually invisible and not felt directly, we can sometimes feel its presence. At 10% relative humidity, the air seems dry, at 50% it is comfortable, at 80% we feel a certain heaviness, and at around 100%, the humidity starts to condense: fog, haze and even rain appear.
- 10% Relative Humidity : Air Seems Dry
- 50% Relative Humidity : Comfortable
- 80% Relative Humidity : Air Feels Heavy
- 100% Relative Humidity : For and Haze begin to appear
A high humidity level can affect human health on many levels:
As humidity rises, moisture becomes more prominent in the air and consequently starts to feel heavy and sticky. It often keeps a low profile – staying low to the ground and feels like it’s hard to escape from. Visually, it’s often associated with something sinister and cloudy … fungi, molds and algae all flourish in humid environments.
When we say that our bodily functions are affected by humidity, it doesn’t mean that we explode with water, but humidity can affect us in more subtle ways…
If humidity reaches the stomach, digesting food will feel pretty heavy and we’ll get the uncomfortable sensation of having a full stomach and little appetite.
Getting hard to breathe
If humidity stagnates in the lungs, our breathing will get more laborious and we’ll feel an excess of pressure in the chest (as you do in a very wet sauna).
Aggravates pain and conditions
Humidity makes the air feel sticky: Very often, the diseases it causes are difficult to cure, their evolution is chronic, they last a long time or they occur by repetitive crises. Osteoarthritis, which develops gradually over several years, is a good example. Movements are harder perform in humid environment, and people tend to do less exercise when humidity is high (lower tolerance to physical efforts) In fact, people with osteoarthritis experience more intense pain on wet, rainy days.
Feels a bit heavy man!
Humidity is heavy: we often associate feelings of heaviness in the head or in the limbs. We feel tired, we have no strength.
Dirty in Nature
Humidity is “dirty” in nature: it contributes to the production of wax at the edge of the eyes, oozing in case of skin diseases, abnormal vaginal discharge and troubled urine. It also promotes infections by facilitating bacterial growth.
The World Health Organization considers that there are two types of humidity, external and internal:
If we are exposed for a long time to high humidity levels, for example by living in a damp house, working in a humid climate, or standing for a long time in the rain or sitting on wet ground, this will encourage the invasion of external moisture in our body. The simple fact of staying in a poorly ventilated basement also makes many people feel heavy, tired or oppressed in the chest.
Humidity also favors certain infections, including fungal, parasitic or bacterial infections. The best known is bilharzias, a universally widespread disease that is a major cause of bladder cancer worldwide.
Transformation and circulation of organic liquids are managed by Spleen / Pancreas. If the latter is weak, the transformation of the Liquids will be deficient, and they will become impure, increasing internal humidity.
If this internal humidity stagnates for a while, it can condense and turn into phlegm or mucus. While humidity itself is invisible and can only be perceived through the symptoms of a disease, the phlegm is clearly visible and more easily causes obstructions. For example, if the lung is obstructed by phlegm, coughing, expectoration of phlegm and chest tightness will occur. If they reach the upper respiratory tract, mucus can lodge in the sinuses and cause chronic sinusitis.
Is humidity bad for us ?
So as we can see, a very low relative humidity can be bad as we start to experience the pitfalls of dry air (you can read more about this here), a 50% relative humidity will feel comfortable, but as we get higher, around 80%, we’ll start to feel the effects and start to feel unwell. If we have certain medical conditions, they can be exaccerbated by higher humidity, which is definitely not a good thing.
How to reduce humidity
The most effective way of reducing humidity in your house is to use a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is an electrical appliance that allows you to control and maintain the humidity in your home so it’s comfortable. There are all kinds of sizes and strengths of dehumidifiers – large moist areas, such as indoor swimming pools are ice rinks need extremely large systems in place to keep walls and fixtures dry. Your house would require a much smaller appliance, possibly a portable dehumidier that can be moved into different rooms. These can typically be around 30-50cm tall and new models can be extremely efficient.
For the home, one of the most popular dehumidifiers at the moment is a portable one made by homelabs. This is available in 3 sizes – a 4 gallon, a 6 gallon and a 9 gallon version. What this means is that if you leave it switched on, the 9 gallon version will remove 9 gallons of moisture from the air each day.
Customers seem to love this model as it’s very quiet, has built in wheels and handles so it’s super easy to move from one room to the other and also runs very efficiently so it won’t eat up your household running budget.You can adjust the moisture settings to your ideal setting and once the tank is full it will shut itself down.
At the time of writing this was retailing at $149-$204, depending on which model you choose, but check out the latest prices here.
For more dehumidifiers, have a browse through some of the best sellers on Amazon.
How to remove humidity from a room without a dehumidifier
If you’d rather not use a humidifier then there are other ways to bring down the humidity level – here’s a few tips…
- Don’t over-water plants inside the house
- Hang the washing outside to dry
- Switch ventilation fans on when showing or bathing
- Repair any leaks in showers and toilets
- Make sure your gutters aren’t blocked
- Open windows when cooking or showering
- Increase the indoor temperature – warm air can hold more moisture, decreasing the relative humidity
- Don’t store freshly cut firewood inside as this releases water vapour
- Think about whether you need carpets – carpets can retain moisture (and dust mites love them)
- Concrete walls can get humid, make sure you waterproof them with products such as Drylok
You can read more about humidity in your home here…