Amid news that 2018 is shaping up to be the fourth-hottest year on record, a new report has found that Americans are mopping their brows at levels not seen since 1986.
The report, from the American Perspiration Institute (API), was released Monday.
"These findings should serve as a wakeup call," said Richard Simmons, Ph.D., director of research at the API and lead author of the report. "Brow-mopping has long been an early, and reliable, indicator of rising temperatures. And the levels of brow-mopping we're seeing today are truly alarming."
"We ignore this news at our peril."
Simmons said his team found that in the month of July, Americans paused to "wipe, dab, or mop" their foreheads, on average, three times daily.
"Whether they're using a tissue, a cotton handkerchief, or a thirsty terrycloth hand towel, Americans are mopping their brows furiously," the report notes, "with a frequency and intensity not seen since the mid-1980s."
The report notes that mopping one's brow "provides temporary relief, at best" and that "overzealous mopping" may produce side effects ranging from acne to abrasions.
"We understand the impulse to mop one's brow in an effort to 'beat the heat,"" Simmons said. "But we urge caution."
The researchers also found significant increases in the following behaviors:
- Stopping during a run to bend over, hands on knees, while sweat drips from the nose to the pavement below
- Looking to the cloudless sky, under an unforgiving sun, as one pours water from a water bottle onto one's face
- Holding a cold beverage to one's forehead
- Use of expletives in describing the weather
With no end in sight for the current heat wave, Simmons said he expects these trends to continue.
"In case you haven't noticed," he said, "it is ****ing brutal out there."