It’s a time of year when normal numbers are swelled by Easter visitors, and it’s not always obvious quite how cold the waters can be here. Cold water shock can affect people even with water temperature of up to 25º, it’s not just freezing water that is dangerous, and the water around the Canaries’ doesn’t get above 24°C (75°F) even in August. Technically, therefore, it’s always “cold”, and bathers can get into difficulties within five minutes.
Just to be specific about symptoms, normal body temperature is 98.6º; shivering begins when the body temperature lowers to approximately 96.5º; amnesia and coordination problems begin to set in at approximately 94º, unconsciousness at 86º, and death, normally from cardiac arrest, at approximately 79º … and 79º is 4º above our normal high season water temperatures! Please read my page HERE for information on all this and for recommendations on how to stay safe in waters around Tenerife.
At 4pm this afternoon, a German woman was resuscitated from cardiac arrest in the water in Puerto Colon: she was pulled from the water by lifeguards and after being resuscitated and stabilized by them, a doctor who was at the beach, and the paramedics when the ambulance arrived, she was then transferred to Hospitén Sur where she is said to be in critical condition, but alive. This makes two near drownings and two deaths from cold water shock so far this year. In January a woman was resuscitated at Playa de las Vistas, and in February a 65-year-old Austrian woman drowned at Playa del Duque and a 70-year-old German man at Playa de la Arena. Please help me get the message out there to avoid any more.