LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Last weekend, temperatures hit the high 80s and touched 90, before spending the next week in the 60s and low 70s. Memorial Day Monday is forecast at a high of 88, and back up to 90 the next day.
With numbers like those, it can be tempting to take a dip. But is the water warm enough to be safe?
According to the World Health Organization, water is at its ideal comfort level for swimmers when between 78.8 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (26-30 Celcius). As of Friday, the region’s mish-mash of hot and cold days left the waters of Lake George at 54 degrees Fahrenheit, as measured at Warner Bay – far from ideal.
Sudden and intense changes in temperature – whether from land to water or from water to deeper, colder water – can result in hypothermia. As laid out by the American Red Cross, signs of hypothermia can include shivering, numbness, glassy eyes, physical weakness, impaired judgment, and loss of consciousness. Children and older adults are considered especially vulnerable to hypothermia.
If a person is showing signs of hypothermia, it’s important to understand that the sudden shock in the change of temperature is the key cause. Warming the person up should be done slowly and carefully. Steps to take in cases of probable hypothermia, as provided by the American Red Cross, include:
- Calling 911
- Moving the person to a warm place
- Monitor breathing, giving rescue breathing or CPR if needed
- Removing any wet clothing and drying the person
- Warm them slowly with blankets or dry clothing, hot water bottles or chemical hot packs
Warming a person too quickly while they are recovering from hypothermia can trigger heart arrhythmias. A hypothermia victim should be warmed from the trunk and abdomen first.
If you are waiting for Lake George to warm up, a pool may be a great alternative. Memorial Day Weekend is prime opening weekend for many pools in the region, and the Red Cross has recommendations for swimming safety there, as well. Drowning accounts for more deaths among children between the ages of 1 and 4 than any other cause, except for birth defects.
Pool and beach visitors are advised to stick to swimming in lifeguarded areas. In an area where a trained lifeguard isn’t present, someone in a group can be designated as a “water watcher,” whose job it is to keep a close eye on everyone in the water.
Another piece of advice is to always be equipped with a life jacket. Life jackets can be crucial to staying safe if you fall out of a boat, or are swimming somewhere beyond your skill level.
Finally, the Red Cross advises anyone headed to the water to remember that drownings often happen quickly and silently. A person drowning will last around 20 to 60 seconds before submerging below the water. When rescuing a drowning person, the best course of action is to throw a floating object to them, rather than enter the water after them.