If you’ve recently moved to a humid climate for the first time, you’ll start coming across everyday problems and challenges you’ve never come across before. Most of these are nothing but minor inconveniences if you’re prepared. Here’s what to look out for:
The first thing is to dress appropriately and stock your wardrobe accordingly. In a very humid climate you’ll sweat even though you don’t feel all that hot. Your clothes should be loose and comfortable. Tight fitting clothes will either trap the sweat between the fabric and your body, damaging your skin and potentially leaving an irritating rash, or be absorbed into the fabric, giving you that sweaty armpit or sweaty back look, which instantly turns people off. In humid countries where people are forced to wear formal suits to work, such as Japan, most workers wear an extra layer of underwear, such as a vest under their shirt. This means they feel even hotter when they are outside in the heat, but it hides the embarrassment of appearing sweaty as most of the sweat is absorbed by their vest. They often carry small towels with which they can mop their brows, and travel sized deodorants which they can apply discreetly during trips to the bathroom. The whole thing is not as bad as it sounds as they spend most of the day under the air conditioning anyway.
Speaking of which, make good use of your air conditioner. Lee Kwan Yew called it the greatest invention of mankind. Without it, his home state of Singapore could never have developed into the wealthy and smart hub it is today. If you have to go outside make it brief, try to stay in the shade and in the breeze. Take taxis or use public transport with air conditioning.
Even with air conditioning, you may find yourself feeling sticky at home. In that case you might want to buy a dehumidifier. These are especially useful in preventing the build-up of mold in your wardrobe and on your clothes.
Don’t try to dry your clothes on a clothes line. They may just end up feeling soggy, sticky and smelling bad. You are much better off using a clothes dryer, or simply dropping your dirty washing off at the laundry and having someone else deal with it.
Also long gone are the days of stepping out of the shower and letting your hair dry off naturally in the breeze. This might actually still be possible for those with extremely short hair, but unless that’s you, it’s time to take a look at Oomphed! for a decent blow dryer.
When it comes to applying makeup in a humid climate, make sure you use a primer to keep your makeup in place. Once that’s done, wait a few minutes before you apply the makeup. Don’t forget to regularly moisturize – even though the air is humid, your pores are likely soaking up salty sweat. Use moisturizer and other products with as little oil content as possible. Also, avoid powders as they will end up smudging and even running.
A nice little trick that will help you get to sleep is to freeze your pillowcases, bedsheets and even your bedclothes. There’s nothing worse than overheating in bed, and cooling the fabric around you in this way will give you a decent chance of nodding off instead of being kept awake, sweaty and uncomfortable. If possible, try not to sleep with the air conditioner on. If the temperature outside has lowered, open a window and let a draft into your room. An alternative would be to use an electric fan, although these can get hot and actually make your room more uncomfortable.
You might have to sleep with a mosquito net. During the day wear long pants and long sleeves to keep from being bitten. The most dangerous bites come from mosquitoes which breed in standing water and bite in the daytime. Always be on the lookout for any signs of malaria or other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. Take yourself off to a hospital if you fear you may have been infected.
Lastly, don’t fret about it too much, you’ll acclimate and get used to it.