I easily remember laughing at Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the Road Runner while watching Saturday morning cartoons as a child. I can still see the Coyote walking slowly through the sweltering desert, sun high in the sky, sweating, tongue-hanging-out, about to collapse from heat, hunger and thirst. Then, BEEP! BEEP! the Road Runner would fly past, and the chase was on with a perfectly revived Coyote.
I remember as a child, on the rare warm days that we used to get in Britain, my grandmother telling me to “have a cup of black tea … it will help cool you down”. As a seven-year-old, this seemed like a crazy idea, especially when all I wanted was a cold lemonade and another ice cream. But it appears that this old wives’ tale may actually be more Stephen Hawking than Stephen King.
Water is essential for human life. It accounts for for 50-70% of our body weight and is crucial for most bodily functions. Any deficit in normal body water – through dehydration, sickness, exercise or heat stress – can make us feel rotten. First we feel thirsty and fatigued, and may develop a mild headache. This eventually gives way to grumpiness, and mental and physical decline.