Texas weather can be filled with unpredictable circumstances but during the summer months it is pretty safe to assume that it is going to be hot. The hot temperatures can lead to a risk of heat related illnesses and it is important to take care of yourself while on the golf course.
Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are the three to be aware of. I am not a doctor or medical professional but have found some useful information to share that could help you or someone you are playing with in the event of getting overheated while on the course or during other outdoor activities. The following information is from the National Health Council and can be very useful to make sure that you know the signs and take steps to avoid illness and/or injury.
- Heat exhaustion is where you become very hot and start to lose water or salt from your body, which leads to the symptoms listed below and generally feeling unwell.
- Heatstroke is where the body is no longer able to cool itself and a person’s body temperature becomes dangerously high (sunstroke is when this is caused by prolonged exposure to direct sunlight).
Heatstroke is less common, but more serious. It can put a strain on the brain, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys, and can be life-threatening. If heat exhaustion isn’t spotted and treated early on, there’s a risk it could lead to heatstroke.
To help prevent these illnesses be sure to drink lots of fluids while outdoors, take breaks if necessary, seek shade whenever possible and wear clothing that allows for air movement and has good breathability.
Signs and symptoms
Heat exhaustion or heatstroke can develop quickly over a few minutes, or gradually over several hours or days.
Signs of heat exhaustion can include:
- tiredness and weakness
- feeling faint or dizzy
- a decrease in blood pressure
- a headache
- muscle cramps
- feeling and being sick
- heavy sweating
- intense thirst
- a fast pulse
- urinating less often and having much darker urine than usual
If left untreated, more severe symptoms of heatstroke can develop, including confusion, disorientation, seizures (fits) and a loss of consciousness.
What to do
If you are unsure or uncomfortable in a situation such as this never hesitate to call 911 and request help!
If you notice that someone has signs of heat exhaustion, you should:
- get them to lie down in a cool place – such as a room with air conditioning or somewhere in the shade
- remove any unnecessary clothing to expose as much of their skin as possible
- cool their skin –use whatever you have available, such as a cool, wet sponge or flannel, cold packs around the neck and armpits, or wrap them in a cool, wet sheet
- fan their skin while it’s moist – this will help the water to evaporate, which will help their skin cool down
- get them to drink fluids – this should ideally be water, fruit juice or a rehydration drink, such as a sports drink
Stay with the person until they’re feeling better. Most people should start to recover within 30 minutes.
Remember, when in doubt, ALWAYS call 911.