Orthopedics – A trend toward less surgery
You may know what the heat index is, but do you know today’s wetbulb globe temperature? It’s a cousin of the heat index but takes into account not only temperature and humidity but also wind speed, the sun’s intensity and cloud cover and does so in direct sunlight rather than the shade as with the heat index.
The military, OSHA and sports teams use it to decide when enough is enough outdoors. Dr. George Pujalte, assistant professor in family medicine and sports medicine at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, and his colleagues are examining whether marathons and half-marathons — there are more than 100 annually in Florida — get called off as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine when the WBGT runs higher than the recommended WBGT cutoff of 82 degrees.
Pujalte says the researchers hoped to find races called off or altered — perhaps earlier start times or fans blowing mist the length of the route — when it was too warm. Instead, just a bit into the study, they have already found two that should have been canceled but weren’t. Race organizers have a lot of money at stake in running races as scheduled. “We need to talk to people and show them our data and say, look this is dangerous. High schools are supposed to monitor WBGT for student athletic activities but a large number aren’t equipped.”
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