TRIPLE DIGITS!!!  It is that time of year again!  What you need to know to be prepared.

Whether it is the temperature or your score, you would like for them both to be lower.  Here are some tips to help beat the heat.

Constantly hydrate even when you are not thirsty.  If you are thirsty, dehydration is already setting in.  You need more water than normal when in a hot dry climate.  Normal water consumption is half of your body weight in ounces – example:  if your weight is 200 lbs., you will need to drink 100 ounces of water.  If you are not going to the restroom, you are not drinking enough.  Alcohol dehydrates, limit consumption in the heat.

Electrolytes are chemicals that conduct electricity when mixed with water.  They regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue.  Electrolytes in the body include sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride and phosphate ions.  Muscles needs calcium, sodium and potassium to contract.  The heart, muscle and nerves use electrolytes to carry electrical impulses to other cells.  A balance of electrolytes is key.  Good sources of electrolytes are sports drinks when used in moderation (they can contain high levels of sugar and consumption of too many can create an imbalance of electrolytes in the body).  Read the labels and know what’s right for you.  Some foods that restore electrolytes include coconut water, celery, watermelon, cucumber, kiwi, bell peppers, citrus fruit, carrots, cultured dairy and pineapple.

Wear light colored, loose, breathable, sun protective clothing and hats (wide brimmed or floppies are a good choice).  Wear a cold wrap around your neck while playing.  Keep bandanas or towels in a cooler of ice water to cool down your body.  Make your own wrap with a small baggie of ice wrapped in a bandanna and tie it loosely around your neck.  Keep yourself and your cart in the shade as much as possible.  Carry a supply of baggies to fill with ice in case of an emergency.

Wear sunscreen.  Apply sunscreen as part of your daily routine in the morning then apply a second layer 20 minutes prior to going outside.  Minimum protection should have a SPF of 30.  Broad spectrum products are best containing one of the following ingredients for proper absorption:  zinc oxide; titanium dioxide; avobenzone or mexoryl.  Expiration dates matter.  Sunscreen will lose its effectiveness if it gets too hot.  Remember to cover the ears, neck and lips.  Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours or every 40-80 minutes if sweating.

Wear protective eye wear with 100% percent UVA/UVB protection.  Check with your optometrist or ophthalmologist to check your sun glasses for their protective levels.  Eye wear (Rx and readers) can be clear and still have the UVA/UVB protection.  Light colored eyes are more sensitive to light due to the absence of a pigment called melanin.  The more melatonin present gives more protection to the retina.  Dark colored eyes contain more pigment that helps protect them.

Know signs of heat illness:  Overheating is a result of exercising in temps above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heat stroke occurs when the body has lost too much water and can no longer cool itself. This occurs when sweat stops working to cool your body.

Heat Cramps:  cramping, pain and spasms in your abdominal muscles and legs signals that you are losing too much water and salt.

Heat exhaustion:  cool, moist, pale flushed or red skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea/vomiting, dizziness and fatigue even with a normal body temperature.  What to do:  get inside and drink half a glass of cool water every 15 minutes until you improve.

Heat Stroke:  Call 911 if your temperature spikes; hot-red and dry skin; changes in consciousness; a rapid weak pulse; rapid shallow breathing.  While waiting for assistance, place bags of ice in the groin or armpit area to quickly cool the body down.

Try to keep ice, cold water bottles or ice blocks in the coolers on your golf cart.

As far as your score, keep cool and remember it’s just golf!

Take care, be safe, stay cool, and enjoy the hot sizzling Arizona summer!