cold water shock

What Is Cold Water Shock?

Cold Water Shock

Cold water shock occurs when our bodies are immersed in water that is 15°c or less. Cold water shock causes more deaths than hypothermia. If you are around cold water, wearing a life jacket could save your life.

Cold water shock can be lethal and can cause death within minutes.

As you are immersed into the water your natural reaction will be to gasp as the temperature is so cold. If you are underwater this will result in your involuntarily swallowing water. The shock will cause blood vessels in the skin to close, which will increase the resistance of blood flow. As your heart rate increases, so will your blood pressure. This can cause a heart attack, even if you are young and fit.

The longer you are in the water the more serious the outcome. Your muscles may become paralysed, making it impossible for you to swim to safety. By this point if you are not wearing a life jacket, you will drown.

Did you know that all waters around the UK are cold enough to induce cold water shock? It is extremely important to stay safe when around water. Though we may think we are strong swimmers, being immersed in cold water will take away our bodies natural instinct and reactions to save ourselves.

What should you do if you fall into cold water?

Try to keep your head above water so that you can control your breathing. Try to roll onto your back and floating, or paddling to remain at the surface. Be quick. Try to swim to safety before you muscles no longer allow you to do so. Call for help to try and attract attention. Once you are out of the water, quickly warm yourself up in order to prevent hypothermia.

If You Are Planning On Being Near Cold Water

Check the conditions and the water temperature. Dress appropriately. Wearing a thick wet suit and life jacket will increase your chances of survival.

First Aid In Wirral

Interested in undertaking one of our First Aid Courses in Wirral? Call us today on 0151 343 0588 to learn more. Alternatively, you can email us at [email protected] and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.