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Parents want to warn others after their 14-year-old died of cold water shock
November 8, 2016
If you've ever considered jumping into a cold lake on a hot summer day, you may want to think again. Cameron Gosling, 14, died when his body went into shock after jumping into the cold River Wear, near Durham, England in July of 2015. The shock directly led to his drowning, Counselor Joy Allen, a member of the Safer Communities Cabinet, said in Dying to Be Cool, a video made by the Durham County Council to warn about this danger.
That day Cameron and his friends headed to a local park to hang out. They decided to take a dip in the lake to cool off. While Cameron's friends waded into the cool lake, he decided to jump in. But, he never resurfaced.
Today, reports that water shock usually occurs when someone jumps into water that is 70 degrees or below. The U.S. Water Fitness Association recommends swimming pools have a temperature between 84 and 86 degrees.
Water shock causes victims to take in an involuntary gasp. If you're underwater when this happens, you could aspirate water. Even if you are able to catch your breath, cold incapacitation sets in quickly. This reaction makes it very difficult for you to move your arms and legs and can occur in less than 10 minutes.
Additionally, this type of shock could attribute to a heart attack, especially in individuals with arrhythmia or other heart conditions, Dr. Ryan Stanton, a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians told Today.
You can stay safe in colder water by wearing a life jacket (even if you lose consciousness, due to shock, the jacket will keep you afloat), wear a wetsuit when paddle boarding, and walk into the water slowly to allow your body to acclimate.
If you are swimming and begin to shiver, or notice your limbs going numb, get out of the water immediately.