August 14, 2009
Like mad dogs and Englishmen, golfers can easily be seen on Cape Region courses in the midday sun.
However, the current heat wave carries with it the risk of injury and illness for those choosing to play golf, despite the high heat and humidity.
Picking a cooler time of day to play is one option that avid golfers can take to reduce the risk of heat stress, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. For those who can’t or won’t alter their golfing schedules, however, there are several signs to watch out for their playing partners and themselves, to keep the fun from turning into something else.
There are several ways by which the human body tells the brain about the limits of its endurance in hot weather.
Heat cramps usually appear in the abdominal muscles or the legs, during periods of extreme heat. Heat syncope, on the other hand, is a sudden loss of consciousness or strength because it’s so hot. Fainting is sometimes the first sign of this condition.
Golfers suffering from heat exhaustion can have clammy skin that is cold to the touch, accompanied by weakness, vomiting, heavy sweating, and sometimes fainting. It can often happen during high heat with high humidity. That’s because the body’s cooling system is stymied by the inability of the sweat glands to cool the skin, if the humidity keeps the sweat from evaporating.
The worst stage of heat exhaustion is a heat stroke. The golfer’s skin is dry and hot, and these signs are often accompanied by confusion, loss of consciousness, a rapid heartbeat, and a high fever.
The first aid recommendations for these conditions are relatively straightforward.
For heat cramps, if the golfer is alert, have him drink something like Gatorade or similar sports drink, or some lightly salted water, or just cool water, and massage the cramps until the muscles relax.
If the golfer suffers from the early stages of heat exhaustion, try to have him lie down in a cool place, and place cool wet cloths or cool water directly on their skin to help bring down the temperature. Cold compresses on the neck, groin, and armpits may also help.
If the golfer faints, or is deeply confused or disoriented, or seems to have a high fever, don’t waste any more time. Call 911, and help him get immediate medical attention. If your golf course permits cell phones, keep one on and handy during these hot rounds, and know the number of the pro shop to call in addition to 911.
Other than not playing at all, or shifting the playing times to early morning or late afternoon/early evening, there are some other ways to reduce the chance of heat-related illness while out on the course.
Never miss a chance to keep drinking non-alcoholic liquids during the round. One of my golf buddies keeps track of his intake. On hot days it’s not unusual for him to put away a gallon during eighteen holes.
If there’s a bench at the tee boxes, sit on them until it’s your turn. Stay in the shade and rest whenever possible during the round, without holding up others. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes to help wick away moisture and keep the skin from overheating.
DK does it
Congratulations to David Krasnoff of Lewes for his August 5 hole-in-one at Shawnee Country Club.
DK, as he’s known to hundreds of food lovers in the Cape Region, fired a No. 4 hybrid on the 165-yard par-3 ninth hole for the one.
As of press time, this reporter had not yet learned how many people helped DK celebrate his score with an adult beverage or two.