[T]he last 12 months have been the hottest since recorded-keeping started in 1895, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Average temperatures in the continental US for the month of June were a full 2 degrees above the average for the 20th century. ... NOAA's National Climatic Data Center says that the odds of this heat wave occurring randomly would be 1 in 1,594,323.Why our bodies have trouble coping:
Our muscles and metabolism generate heat continuously. We transfer that heat into our surroundings by sweating, exhaling warm air, and circulating blood near the surface of our skin to cool. When the temperature gradient (or difference) between the body and the air is high, heat flows easily from us into the environment, and we cool down. But when the weather hovers around our internal temperature, our inner swelter lingers, and we feel hot and uncomfortable. Humidity makes things worse by interfering with the vaporization of sweat, one of the human body’s main cooling mechanisms.A similar logic explains why hot drinks and spicy food can actually help cool you down in the summer.