Influence of variations in the ambient humidity on insensible water loss and thermoneutral environment of low birth weight infants

Acta Paediatr Scand. 1984 Sep;73(5):615-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1984.tb09984.x.


Total evaporative water loss, transepidermal as well as respiratory water loss was measured in 8 infants on day 1, 11 infants from day 2 to 8 and 8 infants after day 8. Measurements were performed at two levels of humidity, either vapor pressure of 16 or 25 mmHg (2 133 or 3 333 Pa). Evaporative water loss was 40% lower at the higher humidity. Neither metabolic rate nor body temperature showed a significant difference between the two levels of humidity. The effect of the change in humidity on the neutral thermal environment was calculated, the neutral temperature being 0.05 degrees C lower when the vapor pressure is increased by 1 mmHg (133.3 Pa). We conclude that a high humidity is of limited value in nursing infants born after 30-40 weeks.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Humidity*
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Temperature*
  • Water Loss, Insensible*