How can humidity levels effect our breathing?
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - This week, our First Alert Weather Team is tracking a shift in our humidity to a more dry set-up - but different levels of humidity can actually affect your breathing.
Humidity measures the amount of water vapor in the air at any given time - allowing for meteorologists to gauge things like muggy conditions and how humidity might affect how hot the air feels. In times of high humidity, the air is saturated - making it more difficult to breathe.
“Too much humidity can cause the airways to swell - which can create an issue,” said Tim Roark, Pediatric Respiratory Care Manager UK Children’s Hospital.
Breathing in humid air activates nerves in your lungs that narrow and tighten your airways. If you have a chronic lung condition such as asthma or COPD, you might struggle even more.
“With really high humidity levels, again, you can have an increase in swelling of the airways, which can cause you to have a slight increase in respiratory rate if you have healthy lungs. But if you do have a breathing condition such as asthma, COPD, or Cystic Fibrosis - it can exacerbate those conditions,” stated Roark
Higher Humidity levels can also make the air stagnant enough to trap pollutants and allergens like pollen, dust, mold, and dust mites. But no matter the humidity levels, doctors encourage hydration to keep those deep breaths smooth and keep any sort of buildup out of your airways.
“Stay well hydrated. Staying hydrated helps to keeping those secretions thinner and more manageable. They are easier to cough up when they are thinner”
For more information on ways to protect your airways from respiratory illnesses, visit UK’s clinical respiratory research website.
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