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Old 08-13-2007, 11:18 AM
Rusalka Rusalka is offline
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 974
Is it normal for your lungs to hurt in humid weather?

I've noticed that when I walk briskly in weather that is both hot and humid (walking in 95 degrees) my lungs hurt a little when I breathe. It's the same kind of pain that you get if you run until you're out of breath, except I'm not running. I'm a little out of shape, but I'm not old and I've been exercising and walking every day. The out of breath feeling only happens when it's very humid. Hot and dry doesn't feel this way. Can someone explain why?

I can't remember if I've ever noticed it before, because it's not been this hot and humid where I live, or maybe I've never tried to walk briskly in this kind of weather before. Yes, I'm going to see my doctor.

Last edited by Rusalka; 08-13-2007 at 11:20 AM.
Old 08-13-2007, 12:13 PM
Napier Napier is offline
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Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
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This answer may be obliquely useful.

People with chronic bronchitis often find high humidity painful, and some sources recommend keeping humidities between 40% and 50% RH.

When humidity is high, molds prosper, and they are hard on many people's respiration.

Since other animals pant when they are having a hard time exporting enough body heat, I wonder if we do too? Maybe you're breathing more because in high humidity your sweating is less effective and you're starting to pant? Note, this last suggestion is only speculative, whereas the first two I understand are generally accepted as true.
Old 08-13-2007, 02:22 PM
Pullet Pullet is offline
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A bit of googling "difficulty breathing humid weather" turns up useful links. It looks like the general theory is as Napier suggests. When the weather is humid, it's harder for your body to cool itself, since sweating isn't going to work as well. So, your breathing rate tends to go up as you try to pant away the heat. But panting is just another form of evaporative cooling like sweating.

My advice: find a comfy bar/coffee shop and settle in until nightfall.
Old 08-13-2007, 03:22 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Location: temperate forest
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Another possible --though maybe not the most likely -- explanation is that the humid days happen to coincide with high air pollution days. High ozone can cause tightness or discomfort in the lungs.
Old 08-13-2007, 06:33 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Originally Posted by Quercus
Another possible --though maybe not the most likely -- explanation is that the humid days happen to coincide with high air pollution days. High ozone can cause tightness or discomfort in the lungs.
Nashville has an ozone alert on, & I've been suffering all day.
'Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.
~~The Buddha
Old 08-13-2007, 08:33 PM
Race Bannon Race Bannon is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 539
I'm a runner. On hot humid days, I take it slow, but I can clearly identify a different feeling in my lungs when running. Not pain, but a kind of stress similar to running hard in cool weather, but it kicks in at a much lesser level of effort. My breathing and heart rate shoot up at a speed that would be much easier in cool weather. I believe the body is deliberately switching your resparation and blood flow to your lungs for cooling, not just oxygen. With high humidity, the results aren't as good as when it's dry.


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