The Placer County Sheriff’s Office is alerting boaters and swimmers at Lake Tahoe to be aware of the danger of becoming a victim of cold shock while in the waters of the alpine lake.
“Our primary goal is to educate boaters about the dangers of cold water, cold water shock and the need to wear your life jacket in case you jump or fall into the lake,” said Lt. Michelle Baxter. “Wearing a life jacket is the best way for boaters, paddle boaters and swimmers to stay safe.”
She said in a video posted on Facebook that cold water shock can strike anyone, regardless of swimming ability.
The National Center for Cold Water Safety notes that cold shock occurs in the moment cold water makes contact with skin, triggering a number of potentially lethal shock responses:
▪ Loss of breathing control: During cold shock, some find it impossible to control breathing. Gasping can lead to hyperventilation, which can cause dizziness, faintness, cramping and loss of consciousness.
▪ Heart and blood pressure problems: Cold water causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. This can lead to heart failure and stroke in some.
▪ Mental problems: Cold shock causes a reduction in clear thinking, including disorientation, panic, lethargy and fear.