Yay, it is officially summer time. Warm weather is finally here to stay. Although this also means more stress on your team. Just like your turf, you don’t want your team getting dehydrated in the hot sun. Any outdoor workers, including your course workers, need to know the risks and signs of heat-related illnesses.
Anyone working outdoors, like those who earn their living maintaining golf courses, needs to be familiar with the signs and risks of heat-related illnesses.
According to the Mayo Clinic , heat exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. It’s one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe. With similar signs, heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.
Hydration is key in preventing these illnesses. Encourage your team to drink 16-18 ounces of fluids about two hours before and another eight ounces about 30 minutes before their shift. Also encourage electrolyte drinks such as Gatorage or Powerade. Water should be a primary source or re-hydration but adding in some sugars during long shifts is a good idea.
Heat illnesses can occur during mildly warm days as well. According to Sports medicine specialist Dr. Sean A. Cupp, we gain heat and lose heat through conduction and radiation. There are multiple ways our bodies can heat up and cool off. If you’re in a moderate-temperature environment with high humidity you’re at a much greater risk of having a heat illness than if you were in a low-humidity, high-heat environment. At that point, you’re thinking “I need to be replacing my fluids.” If you’re in a high-humidity environment with a moderate temperature, you’re probably not going to think about replacing your fluids as much.
Make sure water and if possible, Gatorade or Powerade, are readily available to your staff. You wan to keep them healthy and productive to keep a smooth running golf course. Heat illnesses can be fatal. Call 911 if any of your team members experience these symptoms.