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Cold Water Shock - What Is It and How To Avoid It

Cold water is any water below 15°C. Entering into cold water can have a serious effect on your body, so it is important to be aware of Cold Water Shock.


The average sea temperature is 12°C and rivers are usually colder, so this applies for most of the year in the U.K.


What happens?

- skin blood vessels close, blood flow resistance increases

- the heart has to work harder so blood pressure and heart rate increases

- sudden skin cooling causes involuntary gasps for breath

- movement can be seriously affected 

- breathing rates can increase dramatically and get out of control 

- you might panic and inhale water into your lungs

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