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Cold Water Shock

Cold water – shocking and deadly


(NC)—Cold water shock is thought to cause more deaths than hypothermia. Be aware of the dangers of sudden, unexpected immersion in water below 15 degrees Celsius. Even strong swimmers experience rapid exhaustion from cold shock.

The sudden exposure to the cold water could make you gasp for breath, swallow water and choke. You could also experience breathing difficulties, muscle spasms, a rise in your heart rate and blood pressure, and a heart attack or stroke. If you fall in cold water, it will be crucial for you to conserve energy and body heat. Struggling to stay afloat will tire you and cause you to lose valuable energy.

Wearing a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD) could save your life. A PFD can keep you afloat while you gain control of breathing and prevent drowning from loss of muscle control. Expect the unexpected and wear your PFD at all times. Once you're in the water, it may be too late.

More information on cold shock and hypothermia is available at  or call toll-free   -

News Canada

For further information and to view a video, visit

                   Cold Water Boot Camp                    

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