Can Low Humidity Cause Dehydration?

According to a recent report by CBS, as many as 3 in 4 Americans go throughout their daily lives in a constant state of dehydration. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are “critically” dehydrated, but most of whom are categorized are either mild or moderately dehydrated. With such a high percentage of the population not consuming the 10 daily cups of H20 as recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), it begs the question: can low humidity cause or contribute to dehydration?

The Role Of Humidity In Dehydration

To better understand the role humidity plays in dehydration, you must first familiarize yourself with the basics of humidity. Whether you are indoors or outdoors, the atmosphere contains moisture vapor in the form of humidity. The term “relative humidity” is defined as the amount of moisture vapor (expressed in a percentage) in the air to the total amount needed for saturation at the same temperature. Because warm air holds less moisture vapor than cold air, relative humidity is generally the preferred method of measurement.

Because our bodies are comprised of approximately 70% water, it should come as no surprise that exposure to dry air can lead to dehydration. When you’re exposed to dry air, the air will attempt to draw moisture from anything it can, including the human body. The moisture in and on your skin will evaporate, as will the moisture in your lungs, eyes, nose and body.

As noted by Grace Webb, dehydration is a serious issue that can prevent the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Water is necessary for the body to digest and absorb vitamins and nutrients. It’s also key to proper digestion; it detoxifies the liver and kidneys, and carries waste away. If your urine becomes darkly colored like this, we’re dehydrated. The urine should be light, straw colored,” said Grace Webb, Assistant Director for Clinical Nutrition at New York Hospital.

Easily Prevent Dehydration

There are some simple ways to prevent dehydration caused by exposure to dry air, one of which is to invest in a commercial-grade humidifier for your home and office.

Even if you decide to use a humidifier, however, you should still be conscious of how much water you drink throughout the day. Just because you aren’t thirsty doesn’t necessarily mean that you are hydrated. A good rule of thumb is to consume a minimum of eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day, more so if you have a physically active lifestyle.

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