The effect of clothing on the initial responses to cold water immersion in man

M. J. Tipton*, D. A. Stubbs, D. H. Elliott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


The protection provided by three clothing assemblies against the cold shock response was investigated. Nine healthy male volunteers each undertook three two minute head-out immersions into stirred water at 10 degrees C. The subjects wore a different clothing assembly for each immersion, these were: a) Swimming trunks only; b) Conventional clothing (equivalent to RN No 8s); c) Conventional clothing plus windproof/shower-proof clothing (RN foul-weather clothing Mk III). The cardiac, ventilatory and thermal responses of the subjects were examined before and during the immersions. No significant differences were found between the magnitude of the responses recorded on immersion when conventional clothing or foul-weather clothing were worn. Mean skin temperature was lower (P less than 0.05) and respiratory frequency and minute ventilation were higher (P less than 0.05) on immersion in swimming trunks compared to the other two conditions. It is concluded that when policies for the use of immersion protective clothing are being formulated, consideration should be given to all of the potentially hazardous responses associated with cold water immersion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Royal Naval Medical Service
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1990


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