LAHORE - Mugginess is an extremely uncomfortable weather condition. At present the weather has become hot and the humidity levels have become high in the past few weeks.

Muggy is a condition in which the weather feels hotter. If the temperature is 30 and the humidity level say is 60 percent then the temperature will feel like it is more than 30 and perhaps it will feel like 38. Hence, it will feel hotter than it actually is.

High levels of humidity have severe effects on human health. That is why more and more people are facing difficulty in breathing. Asthmatic people are more badly affected in this type of weather.

Dr Waseem Abbas, a general physician in Lahore said, “There are more breathing related issues in humid weather. It is because air borne infections are higher in humid and rainy weather. It causes difficulty for the patients of asthma. The spread of germs is increased in a rainy and humid weather, so infections are also increased”.

There are several other health-related mishaps that can occur as a result of the hot and humid weather. The cooling mechanism of the body is slowed down. It has to perform more actively in a humid weather to cool down the body temperatures timely. This way, there is a high risk of the accelerated heartbeat which can affect heart functioning.

As Dr Waseem said, “Physical exertion is increased in this weather, which can affect the heart functioning. The cases of hypertension have also increased in the past few weeks of muggy weather. It means high blood pressure, which can result in lethargy and loss of energy”. Dr Muhammad Ali, Heart Specialist at Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology said, “The risk of heart attacks increases in this weather. The humidity in air causes dehydration in people. This dehydration increases the chances of blood clotting in veins which can severely affect the heart.”.

The walls of the heart are also affected by humidity. Dr Muhammad Naeem, Assistant Professor at Sir Ganga Ram hospital said, “Continuous sweating leads to the deficiency of minerals. Hence, the work load on heart increases and it has to pump blood very fast. Such a persistent activity of heart results in ventricle hypertrophy in humans (the thickening of walls of the pumping chamber of heart)”.

High moisture in the air makes it difficult to breathe. Excessive sweating can lower the water levels of the body. Hence, there are more cases of dehydration and heat strokes in humid weather. And high chances of fatigue, muscular cramps, heat exhaustion, and dizziness.

Dr Muhammad Naeem said, “The high levels of humidity in the air can cause excessive sweating which results in electrolyte imbalance (the imbalance of salts). Hence, it causes general weakness, and acute humid and hot weather may lead to syncope in humans. Syncope means the loss of consciousness and fainting”.

Heat strokes are life threatening. Extreme cases of dehydration due to heat stroke can cause death. Dr Waseem said, “The number of emergency cases has increased in this humid weather. Mostly the cases are of dehydration and heat strokes. The patients include those people who have more exposure in sun and those who have long working hours. It makes them vulnerable

It is crucial to drink lot of water in this weather to maintain a stable water level in the body. As Dr Waseem said, “The only way to stay healthy in high levels of humidity is to drink a lot of water to replace the water loss from the body. The loss of water can cause muscle cramping as well. Also,avoiding too much sun exposure will help a lot.