Humidity poses heat-related illness dangers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Humidity poses heat-related illness dangers

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

If you happened to be outside before the storms rolled through the Tennessee Valley on Thursday, you may have noticed the heat and humidity. We’re getting into some of the first days of the year that it feels hot and sticky outside.

But that mugginess is more than just uncomfortable. It can actually be dangerous.

Don Webster, chief operating officer of HEMSI, said when it's muggy and humid outside, peoples’ sweating mechanisms actually break down. When it's humid out, there's no way for sweat to evaporate off your body, so the heat actually builds into the skin tissue. Because of the humidity, the body has no way to naturally cool off.

We all know extreme temperatures themselves can be a danger, but Webster said it's the humidity that really gets people.

Webster advises that it's important to get into some air conditioning throughout the day or be near a fan. It’s also smart to take frequent breaks if you’re
working or playing outside for extended hours over the summer. But most importantly, Webster said it’s all about drinking water before, during and after being outside.

“Prehydrate yourself. The night before, drink water,” Webster said. “Get up in the morning and drink water. Make sure you’re not dehydrated and prehydrate."

He said sports beverages are OK but stray away from sodas and alcohol while soaking up the sun this summer.

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