Lancaster General Health representatives Bob Schied, Kim Shirker and Sue Fox fill up on water at the LG Health Wellness Pavilion at the U.S. Open. (Photo courtesy Lancaster General Health)

Medical staff urges U.S. Women’s Open attendees to stay hydrated

Posted: July 8, 2015 3:30 pm

The heat is getting to a lot of people at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Lancaster General Health, which is running  the two wellness pavilions at the tournament, reported “a serious uptick in the number of dehydration cases” Tuesday.

“People are unfamiliar with walking long distances in the heat,”  said LG Health spokesman John Lines.  “Then they walk a distance or two here at the Open in the extreme heat and are troubled.”

Dehydration and other heat-related problems are “a real concern” according to Dr. Christine Stabler, who said they account for about a third of the patients at the wellness pavilions so far.

“Another third are mild traumas — blisters and things like that, knee injuries,” she said. “Another third are headaches.”

Nothing to mess with

Heat-related illnesses range from discomfort to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency requiring immediate attention.

Most of what LG Health saw Tuesday was heat exhaustion, which is a step below heat stroke, Stabler said.

“They’re nauseated, they feel clammy, they feel light-headed, they may have cramps,” she said.

Rehydrating and resting in a cool, shaded area relieves the symptoms of heat exhaustion, but it takes a while. So, she said, she wants people who think “I don’t want to have to pee when I’m on the court so I won’t drink” that they’re asking for trouble.

“There are restrooms marked clearly all over the place,” she said.

Stabler also noted that drinking alcoholic or caffeinated beverages heightens the dangers of dehydration.

Don’t bring your own

Attendees are not permitted to bring their own beverages — including water — to the tournament because of security concerns, according to United States Golf Association spokesman Jeff Altstadter.

“However,” he said, “drinking fountains are available on the course and water is available for purchase at the concession stands.”

Lines said water is also available at the wellness pavilions.

Risk factors

The old and the young are most susceptible to heat-related illnesses, Stabler said. Others at particular risk include those who are taking medications like diuretics, those who have mental health issues and those who are overweight.

Those who start to experience symptoms should sit down in a cool place and rehydrate, she said. To replace lost body salts, a handful of salty snacks or beverages with electrolytes are a good idea, although she urges people to avoid those with excessive sugar.

“Plan well,” she said, “and you can enjoy yourself all day.”

Other preparations Stabler advises are securing personal shade via a hat, visor or even umbrella; taking and using adequate sunscreen; and  wearing appropriate, comfortable socks and shoes.

“I’ve seen people in gladiator sandals and flip-flops,” she said, “and I know they’re going to be hurting by the end of the day.”

Where to find help and water

First-aid stations will be located just inside the main spectator admission gate and at a second location on the championship course, according to the USGA.

“Please see the course map located on the daily groupings and starting times sheets and on signage boards for exact locations,” said the spectator guide.

Daily locations of the concession and beverage stands will also be noted there.

And, it noted, ” Complementary water will be provided in all first-aid stations.”