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Cold Water Shock - Causes Symptoms and Responses

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What causes cold-water shock?

Cold-water shock is the first stage of the sudden and unexpected immersion in water which temperature is of 15 °C or lower and occurs during the first minute of exposure. Cold-water shock likely causes more deaths than hypothermia. Canada’s substantially cold waters are especially dangerous when you fall into them unexpectedly.

Cold-water shock symptoms?

The reactions of the body may be muscle spasms and hyperventilation. Other symptoms may be an increase of the pulse and blood pressure. Sudden immersion into cold water may cause cardiac arrest, even for a healthy person. The shock of the cold water can also cause an involuntary gasp reflex that can cause victims to swallow water and drown, even for a good swimmer. Cold water can paralyze the muscles instantly

Cold-water shock treatments?

If you are wearing a lifejacket before falling into cold water, it will keep you afloat while you gain control of your breathing and prevent drowning from loss of muscle control. Trying to grab a lifejacket while in the water, let alone putting one on, will be very hard because of the changes your body will be experiencing. People in cold-water shock should try not to panic and try to control their breathing. 


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