The Healthy Golfer Blog

Beat the Heat?

Wow! Golfers all over the Island here must be thrilled with the weather we have been enjoying over the past few weeks! Due to my travel, practice, family and writing commitments it is often difficult for me to get a round of golf in, but I enjoy it to its fullest when I get the chance to.   


Golf and heat generally go hand and hand at this time of the year. Really enjoying a game at this time of year and with the climate we have been having lately has a lot to due with your body’s ability to withstand the heat. A cool and comfortable golfer is a better golfer. Besides planning ahead for the wonderful warm weather activities like golf; it is also important to plan ahead to prevent serious problems caused by the heat.


When the weather is hot, your body works overtime trying to keep cool. Excess heat escapes through sweating, exhalation of warm air and increased blood flow to the skin. But hot weather can overwhelm those mechanisms, leading to a wide array of uncomfortable symptoms. If nothing is done to remedy these symptoms, serious harm, even life-threatening problems can occur.


Here are three serious types of heat-related conditions in order of severity

(Note: these can occur in stages):

1.    Heat syncope: fainting caused when the body compensates for too much heat by diverting blood from the brain to the skin.

2.    Heat exhaustion: extreme fatigue characterized by muscle aches, nausea and normal body temp. Additional symptoms include cool, clammy skin, rapid/weak pulse, pale skin, headache, dizziness and weakness.

3.    Heat stroke: failure of the body’s temperature control systems (This can be fatal depending on the severity and treatment).  Symptoms include confusion, agitation, rapid/strong pulse, hot/dry skin, reddish colored skin, lethargy, convulsions and eventual loss of consciousness. The core body temp. rises to sometimes above 40 degrees Celsius which can damage major organs.


If you or someone you are with starts to experience any of these types of symptoms it is important to seek medical attention to prevent any life-threatening situations from occurring. You should also keep in mind that signs and/or symptoms can develop over several days or strike during a single burst of strenuous activity.


It is easy to prevent your golf game from turning into a life-threatening heat-related emergency. Here are a few prevention tips:

1.    Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water, sports drink or other suitable beverage regularly. Do not drink liquids that contain alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar - these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.

2.    Try to play at cooler times of the day (morning or evening).

3.    Rest as often as you can in shady areas (you can also make use of your umbrella on the fairways as shade).

4.    Wear a wide-brimmed hat and lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.


It is easy to get distracted from the potential danger of the elements when playing at any beautiful golf course. Everyone should pay particular attention to the symptoms described above regarding heat, especially if you are playing a lot of golf and the heat wave we are experiencing continues. Plan ahead and keep safe!


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