Can I Suffer From Cold Water Shock?

Ever heard of Cold Water Shock? The RNLI describes Cold Water Shock as:

“Anything below 15°C is defined as cold water and can seriously affect your breathing and movement, so the risk is significant most of the year.

Average UK and Ireland sea temperatures are just 12°C. Rivers such as the Thames are colder – even in the summer.

Cold water shock causes the blood vessels in the skin to close, which increases the resistance of blood flow. Heart rate is also increased. As a result the heart has to work harder and your blood pressure goes up. Cold water shock can therefore cause heart attacks, even in the relatively young and healthy.

The sudden cooling of the skin by cold water also causes an involuntary gasp for breath. Breathing rates can change uncontrollably, sometimes increasing as much as tenfold. All these responses contribute to a feeling of panic, increasing the chance of inhaling water directly into the lungs.

This can all happen very quickly: it only takes half a pint of sea water to enter the lungs for a fully grown man to start drowning. You could die if you don’t get medical care immediately”.

Check out this film from Professor Mike Tipton from Portsmouth University, it just could save your life

Find out more about Cold Water Shock via the RLSS Drowning Prevention Week

RNLI Magazine – Cold Water Shock: A Bolt Out From The Blue

Drowning Prevention Week is the national campaign run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK to cut down the number of drownings that occur each year.  Our team are actively supporting the Drowning Prevention Campaign by holding events and sharing content on social media.