Summer and warm weather months are everyone’s favorite time for swimming – it’s just a great way to cool off and have fun. But did you know winter is a wonderful time to stay active with swimming, too? Many parents keep their children away from pools and the water during cold weather months, which is a shame because fears about swimming in cold weather are overwhelmingly the product of misinformation.
Here are some of the top cold weather swimming myths:
Most colds are caught in winter. False, and easily provable. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that most colds are caught in autumn and spring, not winter. Why? Because the infectious agent that causes the common cold is dormant for a large part of the cold weather months – the name “cold” is a bit misleading, which leads us to…
Swimming during winter leads to more ear infections. In actuality, as noted above regarding colds, many of the infectious agents that cause ear infections are dormant during winter months. Ear infections from swimming are no more likely in cold weather than they are any other time of the year.
Wet hair or temperature changes cause colds. This is an old one that our mothers told us, and it’s simply not true. Numerous studies from health organizations around the world, including the American Lung Association, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the CDC have found there’s no link between wet hair, or going from warm pool water into colder air, and catching cold.
Swimming in cold weather makes you more prone to fatigue or drowning. While you definitely want to stay away from excessively cold water, swimming in a heated pool is fun and comfortable regardless of the weather outside.
So what’s the takeaway from dispelling these cold weather swimming myths? Use the same common sense and swim safety techniques you would in summer. Go ahead, get into the pool, and enjoy yourself! Texas Swim Academy offers Fun Fridays every Friday evening from 4 – 6 PM. Parents and students can spend some quality time practicing swimming skills and enjoying our indoor heated pool.
Did you know there are different types of drowning? There’s more to look out for than just someone struggling in the water – here’s what you need to know about the four different types of drowning.
Wet drowning is the type we are most familiar with, however the symptoms do not appear as they are dramatized in film and television. Wet drowning kills silently: victims do not thrash around and scream. Because all their energy is directed toward respiration and inhaled water may impede efforts to cry out, victims who are drowning often appear lethargic. The head is usually tipped back, with mouth open and near water level, with little movement. There may be a panicked look in the eyes, and swimming effort (if any) is weak and uncoordinated.
Dry drowning results from a struggle in the water, during which small amounts of water are taken into the lungs. The reaction is delayed, and one or more hours later the victim experiences shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Watch for dry drowning symptoms from anyone who has had recent difficulty in the water, including:
- Chest pain, cough, or difficulty breathing
- Sudden change in behavior
- Extreme fatigue
If you suspect dry drowning, get the victim emergency hospital treatment as soon as possible.
Secondary drowning arises from circumstances similar to dry drowning – a near drowning episode or struggle in the water – and is caused by a build up of fluid in the lungs. Delayed onset and symptoms are the same as for dry drowning, as is the need for immediate emergency hospital treatment.
Electric shock drowning occurs when an electrical fault sends a strong current through the water. Pools with faulty lights or electrical wiring are a danger, as are waterways with a dock or boat with an electrical defect. Death can be caused by the shock itself, if the electrical current is sufficiently strong, or by drowning if the victim is only disabled by the current.
If you are in the water and feel the tingling sensation of a current, draw in your legs and attempt to exit the water as quickly as possible. Do not jump into water to try to save someone from electric shock drowning; call for help, throw in a flotation device, and attempt to turn off the source of electricity.