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RESEARCH:

“Float first and kick for your life”: Psychophysiological basis for safety behaviour on accidental short-term cold water immersion

UNIVERSITY OR ORGANISATION: Northumbria University, James Cook University Hospital

SUBJECT: Cold Water
TYPE: Experimental Study
DATE: 2015


Accidental cold-water immersion (CWI) evokes the life threatening cold shock response (CSR) which increases the risk of drowning. Consequently, the safety behaviour selected is critical in determining survival; the present advice is to ‘float first’ and remain stationary (i.e. rest). This study examined whether leg only exercise (i.e., treading water; ‘CWI-Kick’) immediately on CWI could reduce the symptoms of the CSR, offset the reduction in cerebral blood flow that is known to occur and reduce the CSR's symptoms of breathlessness. They also examined whether perceptual responses instinctive to accidental CWI were exacerbated by this alternative behaviour.

 

COUNTRY

United Kingdom

AUTHORS

Martin J. Barwood

Holly Burrows

Jess Cessford

Stuart Goodall

JOURNAL / PUBLICATION

Physiology and Behaviour

RESPONDENTS

17 participants

9 males, 8 females

ACTIVITY

Cold water immersion

Thermoneutral water immersion

ENVIRONMENT

Pools

AGE

21 years Adults

GENDER

Male

Female

ETHNICITY

N/A

 

 
 

 

 

 

We are leading the development of customised insights that help explain New Zealand’s drowning problem, and shape interventions for safe play across our waterways.
For information contact the Head of Data, Research and Insights on wsnz@watersafety.org.nz

 
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