It didn’t used to be this way in Dallas. We’ve always had hot summers, but nothing like the kind of humidity we’ve had to endure these last few years. Texas has the 6th highest humidity in America (There’s a reason I never considered living in Houston).
Humidity presents a challenge because it negates our body’s natural ability to cool through sweating. When we sweat, evaporating perspiration actually transfers heat from our bodies to the droplets. This also increases our perception of temperature (measured by the heat index).
“But John, you brilliant, yet oddly quirky tome of useless knowledge,” I hear you ask, “how do I take precaution not to fall victim to heat exhaustion?” Well, dear reader, allow me to help.
Proper Ventilation – Be it outdoors or indoors, a nice fan or cross-breeze is a life saver. One of the articles I read suggests you keep your windows open to facilitate the breeze, but these days, that sounds like the dumbest idea on Earth.
Drink Cold Water – In addition to keeping you hydrated – something we can’t get enough of during the summer – ice-cold water cools you from the outside in.
Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes… or Don’t – The old idiom is to always wear loose-fitting clothes so you can get better circulation, leading to sweat evaporation. However, moisture-wicking technology made of nylon has become a staple in the closets of athletic people. Underarmour and Nike were pioneers of this technology.
Plants Are Your Friend – I don’t imagine the cactus plant on your desk is going to make a ton of difference, but plants absorb moisture in the air and can have a positive effect on the humidity around you.
Don’t Eat Heavy Carbs – Ideally, a salad or fresh fruit will contribute the least to your overheating, but lighter proteins such as chicken or fish are considerably better than the heavier meals like baked lasagna (even though delicious). Save that for the fall… and for your fat pants.
Take Cold Showers – I never understood how people could take cold showers until I started mowing the lawn. Start off with a nice lukewarm temperature, then lower it incrementally so there’s no shock to the system.