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Tips to prevent hypothermia when swimming in cold water

Even as the temperature outside rises with the summer months, the temperature of the water is still dangerously cold.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As temperatures rise across Northern California, many people will be looking to head to the nearest river or lake to cool off. But experts say water temperatures are much colder than some might think. And, if swimmers are not careful, they could find themselves dealing with hypothermia.

RELATED: Sun is out but water temperatures remain dangerously cold

ABC10 spoke with John Mohamed, Chief of Operations Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART), to receive some safety tips on this subject.

Some things to know:

  1. Anytime the water temperature is below your body temperature, hypothermia can come into play.
  2. The average water temperature in most reservoirs, lakes, and rivers around the Sacramento area is between 55-64 degrees. In water that cold, hypothermia can set in in about 5-7 minutes.

How do you know if you're developing hypothermia?

  1. The first stage is that the body wants to dump excess fluids. Therefore you will feel a strong urge to use the bathroom.
  2. The next stage is that you will be shivering, and start losing your motor skills or the ability to move your extremities.
  3. Eventually, you'll start to lose your cognitive functions.

What can you do to prevent hypothermia?

  1. Wear a wetsuit or drysuit while in the water.
  2. If you do not have a wetsuit or drysuit, only go waist deep.
  3. If you want to fully submerge your body in the water, only stay in for a limited amount of time.
  4. Be cautious of drinking booze before you get in the water. Having alcohol in your system can accelerate hypothermia.

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WATCH ALSO: Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART) volunteers share tips on water safety

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