There’s nothing like a dip in the sea on the onslaught of a warm afternoon. However, sudden immersion in water having temperature 15 degrees Centigrade or lower can cause the body adverse physical affects which can be fatal if immediate first aid is not given.
Consequences Of A Cold Water Shock
As the body experiences sudden immersion in cold water, the blood vessels inside start to narrow. This results in restricted flow of blood. To normalize blood flow, the heart starts pumping harder. Consequently, the blood pressure rises. This can ultimately lead to a stroke or heart attack.
On the onslaught of a cold-water shock, the body panics and gasping occurs. This leads to inhalation of water into the lungs and results in drowning.
Phases Involved In A Cold Water Shock
There are three stages of a cold-water shock:
- The first minute of immersing in cold water causes the cold water shock. This stage is characterized by gasping and rapid heart rate. You need to avoid panic in this duration as the shock will subside in a minute. Be extremely cautious of not inhaling water into your lungs.
- In 10 minutes, your limbs and fingers will become numb and you would lose your ability to swim effectively. This is the second stage in which immediate rescue is required.
- If rescue is not available and you’re in the cold water for about an hour, you’ll undergo hypothermia. Hypothermia is the falling of body temperature below 35 degrees Centigrade. This affects the normal functionality of your nervous system and other vital organs, ultimately leading to heart failure and death.
There are techniques you can learn to delay hypothermia and self-rescue in a first aid training course. Basic knowledge in first aid can help you or your loved one escape from a risky situation.
How To Prevent The Consequences Of A Cold Water Shock
The first minute of cold water shock causes gasping and inhaling water. You can prevent this by floating. Floating will give you a chance to regularize breathing till help arrives. When you’re afloat and your breathing is normalized, you can easily swim to the shore or call someone to help.
Follow these steps to float in order to prevent drowning.
- Avoid panicking and whipping your limbs around.
- Extend the legs and arms by leaning back.
- To aid in floating, move your limbs gently.
- Try to normalize breathing while you’re afloat.
- When your breathing is regularized, you can call someone for help or swim to the shore.
Cold water shocks can be fatal if immediate rescue services are not provided. To prevent the loss of precious lives, it is recommended to always check the water’s temperature before diving in.
Moreover, expertise in first aid can help you in fighting such situations as well as rescuing someone else who’s experiencing it.
Metro Safety provides extensive emergency first aid training courses in Coquitlam, BC. Contact us today to register for our classes conducted by trained professionals.