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On hot and humid days, you may experience sticky and overheated skin, and the air can feel heavy.
This is because high humidity (the amount of water moisture the air possesses) can make it difficult to get rid of excess body heat through sweat. Usually, sweat on our skin evaporates into the air, cooling our skin. But humidity prevents the sweat from evaporating, as the high moisture content in the air can't absorb much more.
Warm air can hold more moisture than cool air, causing high temperatures to increase humidity's ability to thwart temperature regulation.
A 1-degree Fahrenheit (0.55-degree Celsius) rise in temperature equals as much as a 4% increase in atmospheric water vapour. This is why humidity feels worse in summer.
The "heaviness" we feel is not due to the high water vapour content. The water vapour pushes out small amounts of nitrogen and oxygen, meaning there's less oxygen to breathe. Our bodies are already taxed by being overheated, so it feels like it takes more work to breathe.
But the good news is that our bodies can adapt to these changes. It takes on average nine to 14 days to fully acclimate, depending on one's fitness and body size.
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