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The effect of blood alcohol on the initial responses to cold water immersion in humans

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Many drowning victims have alcohol in their blood, but it is not clear whether there is a causal relationship. This study examined the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on the initial responses to cold water immersion. Sixteen subjects wearing swimming costumes undertook two, 3-min head-out seated immersions in water at 15  °C. One hour before immersion, subjects drank either 3.7 ml · kg body water–1 of 40% v:v alcohol as vodka, or an equivalent volume of water (control) mixed with squash. On immersion, the average blood alcohol concentration was 23 mmol · l–1 (105 mg · 100 ml–1) after alcohol consumption and zero in the control condition. Respiratory frequency in the first 20 s of immersion was found to be reduced (P 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-281
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Volume75
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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