Revealed: What's this humidity doing to our bodies?

Long Lunch 13/02/2018
Credit: File.

It's extra humid out there and we're suffering.

So what is it, why does it make us feel so bad, and how can we beat it?

Dr Mike Revell, NIWA principal scientist of meteorology, joined Wendyl Nissen on The Long Lunch to give us the low down on humidity.

He admits recent humidity levels in Wellington have been "a bit uncomfortable," but it's worse in northern areas.

But says it's not just high humidity levels making people feel uncomfortable.

It's also got to have warm temperatures.

"It's like being in the tropics, basically, and our bodies find it hard to cope with that because they can't cool themselves down," he told RadioLIVE.

It's the combination of extreme humidity and high temperatures that can really play havoc with our wellbeing, says Dr Revell. 

He says that's why summer is the time to beware of humidity's more unpleasant effects.

According to NIWA, the term 'relative humidity' is the actual amount of water vapour present in the air divided by the maximum amount the air could hold at its current temperature, usually expressed as a percentage.

Dr Revell says when conditions turn hot and muggy, there are some basic precautions you can take to beat it.

The ultimate response is to stay indoors in air-conditioned comfort.

"The key is to reduce activity, pace yourself, and drink plenty of water to replenish your body's cooling system," he said.

Listen to the full interview with Dr Mike Revell above.

Afternoon Talk with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.