If you’re prepared to brave freezing air and chilling waters, chances are you’ll have fun kicking off 2018 by participating in a New Year’s Day polar plunge.
Although many South Jersey polar plunges have been canceled or rescheduled due to predicted record-low temperatures Monday, people are gearing up to run into the Atlantic Ocean in Atlantic City to continue a winter tradition.
Medical and health experts say healthy adults can expect to have a good, safe time running into 40-something-degree waters and coming out to temperatures in the teens, but people who have from cardiovascular, lung or vascular diseases should rethink that dive.
ATLANTIC CITY — A New Year’s tradition will go on as planned in the resort in “rain, sleet s…
“To be safe, people with heart, respiratory or other potentially life-threatening conditions should always consult with a physician before undertaking such an event,” said John Wolfram, general manager of Exceptional Medical Transportation. “My understanding is that conditions like asthma, angina and others can be triggered or aggravated by sudden immersion in cold water.”
Wolfram and his team of emergency responders and medical technicians will be at the Atlantic City Polar Bear Plunge in front of Resorts’ Landshark Bar and Grill on Monday afternoon to help anyone in need of medical attention during the event.
Responders who have covered the events for several years have found them to be relatively safe, Wolfram said. The typical cases they encounter include people who have a respiratory issue or who become mildly hypothermic and require drying or passive warming.
Dr. Thomas Brabson, chairman of emergency services at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, said the body experiences several things when suddenly immersed in freezing water.
Margate is the fourth South Jersey town to reschedule or cancel its New Year's Day polar plunge due to weather concerns.
That first point of contact with the cold water is a shock to the body, which causes an increased heart rate. Blood vessels shunt warm blood to the core of the body at the expense of the hands, feet, arms and legs.
The hands and feet are often the first to turn white and bluish, and sometimes get numb, Brabson said.
“Because of this sudden jolt that causes these symptoms, it puts a major stress on the body,” he said. “Your body’s reaction is to try and generate heat with muscle contractions and shivering. That’s why people with heart and lung conditions should avoid doing it.”
For the average healthy person, though, polar plunges can be fun and incident-free, as long as you follow some good tips and advice. Participants should stay as warm as possible before entering the water and get dried off quickly when they come out.
The weekend's forecasted cold weather has event organizers reconsidering several first day d…
The time polar plungers spend in the water — a couple seconds to a couple minutes — isn’t usually enough to cause them medical complications, but they can develop hypothermia if they spend too long standing in freezing temperatures on the beach in wet clothes, Brabson said.
And while everyone loves a good celebration for such a feat, Brabson said, it’s best to leave the drinking for the after-party.
Alcohol, in addition to causing cognitive and motor impairment, also dilates blood vessels, which causes the body to lose heat more quickly. That’s the last thing you want when it’s below freezing outside.
Follow these precautions and tips, experts say, and you’ll have a good time at polar plunges in the New Year. If you can’t participate due to medical conditions, you can always donate to whatever causes the plunges benefit and cheer on family and friends.
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Polar Bear swimmers run from the surf after jumping into the ocean for a swim in Atlantic City on Thursday, Jan. 1, 1998. More than 150 members of the club braved the the chilly ocean temperature of 47 degrees for the annual event.
Don Lenox, of Morrisville, Pennsylvania, left, wears a diaper and hat as he portrays baby '1998' while addressing fellow Polar Bear swimmers before going into the ocean for a dip in Atlantic City on Thursday Jan. 1, 1998. More than 150 members of the club braved the 47-degree ocean temperature for the annual event.
Atlantic City Polar Bear Club members exit the water after taking a cold dip in the Atlantic Ocean in Atlantic City as part of their annual ritual to welcome in the New Year Friday, Jan. 1, 1999.
Atlantic City Polar Bear Club members enter the water to take a cold dip in the Atlantic Ocean in Atlantic City, as part of their annual ritual to welcome in the New Year, Friday, Jan., 1, 1999.
Sean Gramm, of Southampton, emerges from the surf victorious after taking part in the annual Sea Isle City Polar Plunge on Feb. 19, 2000.
Sea Isle City Director of Tourism Irene Jameson and daughter Jorene, back, get into the spirit of the plunge dressed in Polynesian attire Feb. 19, 2000.
Sea Isle City resident Ernie Marcacci is dressed in his finest during the city' s annual polar bear plunge Feb. 19, 2000.
Sea Isle City held it's annual Polar Bear Plunge Saturday, Feb. 17, 2001, with an estimated 500 hardy participants taking the dip. The $25 registration fee goes to help fund family activities in the city through the tourism department. Sea Isle City tourism director and Polar Bear Queen Irene Jameson arrived to the plunge in style on a throne of ice.
Members of the Atlantic City Polar Bear Club run into the Atlantic Ocean on their annual New Years's Day dip Monday, Jan. 1, 2001.
Members of the Atlantic City Polar Bear Club run into the Atlantic Ocean for their annual New Years's Day dip in Atlantic City on Monday Jan. 1, 2001.
Participants in the annual Ocean City Polar Bear Swim make the short dash for a plunge in the ocean Monday, Jan. 1, 2001.
Members of the Xi-Rho chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at Stockton State College held their annual polar bear plunge at the north end of Brigantine on Saturday afternoon, March 1, 2003. Taking the plunge raised money for the American Cancer Society. That year's event honored Joseph D. Favole, who passed away from cancer in December 2002. Joseph was the father of fraternity brother Joe Favole.
More than 500 participants took part in the eighth annual Sea Isle City Polar Bear Plunge in the ocean off of JFK Boulevard to raise money for the family activities sponsored by the Sea Isle City Tourism Commission. Jim Rowland, of Maple Shade, dressed as the comic book superhero The Flash, which may also describe the amount of time it took for a plunger to enter and exit the ocean Feb. 16, 2002.
On March 9, 2002, Lisa Russo of Wildwood Crest, cheerfully emerges from the Wildwood Crest surf after participating in the Polar Plunge for Andrew Alameno, a Wildwood Crest native who was lost at the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001.
The eighth annual Sea Isle City Polar Bear Plunge took place on the beach at JFK Boulevard with more than 500 participants taking the icy dip to raise money for the family activities sponsored by the Sea Isle City Tourism Commission. Wearing his polar bear cap and a suit jacket, Keith Powers, of Exton, Pennsylvania, leaps over incoming waves as he take the plunge Feb. 16, 2002.
The ninth annual Sea Isle City Polar Bear Plunge was held Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003, on the 41st Street beach, with plungers putting their mettle to the test under true polar conditions. Hundreds of participants braved icy winds and a snow-covered beach to take a dip in the Atlantic to raise money for the Sea Isle City tourism program and gain some bragging rights. A couple takes to the ocean at the start of the plunge.
The ninth annual Sea Isle City Polar Bear Plunge was held Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003, on the 41st Street beach, with plungers putting their mettle to the test under true polar conditions. Arriving on her throne of ice, Irene Jameson, Sea Isle City public relations director, sported a Jersey Girl theme complete with a navel tomato.
Trudy Craney, of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, emerges victorious from the water during the polar ninth annual Sea Isle City Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003.
Kathy Gennett of Huntington Valley, Pa., kicks back in the waves during the the ninth annual Sea Isle City Polar Bear Plunge at the 41st Street beach Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003.
Charlene Twiggs, of Ocean City, holds 5-year-old Maura Twiggs after their polar bear plunge Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2003. Ocean City's New Year's Day activities included with a race, live entertainment and the annual polar bear plunge between Eighth and Ninth streets.
About 150 warm-hearted people run into the 40-degree water during the polar bear plunge on New Year's Day 2004 off Albany Avenue in Atlantic City. The event, sponsored by the South Jersey Polar Bear Club, raised more than $2,000 for Make A Wish Foundation. It was also pegged as a celebration of Atlantic City's 150th birthday in 2004, with banners, shirts, balloons and the mayor as the starter of the run for the surf at exactly 1:50 p.m. to mark the 150th.
About 150 people run into the 40-degree water during the polar bear plunge on New Year's Day 2004 in Atlantic City. The event, sponsored by the South Jersey Polar Bear Club, raised over $2,000 for Make A Wish Foundation.
Charlie Stonaker, of Cinnaminson, rests in the 40-degree water during the polar bear plunge on New Year's Day 2004 off Albany Avenue in Atlantic City.
Sea Isle public relations Director Irene Jameson, 80, shows off her suit to fans at the Polar Bear Plunge in Sea isle City on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2005.
The fifth annual Polar Plunge for Andrew was held Saturday, March 4, 2006 on the Jefferson Avenue Beach in Wildwood Crest, in memory of local resident Andrew Alameno, shown, who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York.
Diane Ramftl exits the cold ocean during the Polar Bear Plunge at the Boston Avenue beach in Atlantic City on Feb. 11, 2006. The plunge was sponsored by Unsuited Entertainment and benefited the Donald L. Perry Foundation for Cancer Research, an Atlantic City-based organization.
Children head into the chilly ocean during the fifth annual Polar Plunge on Saturday, March 4, 2006, in honor of Andrew Alameno, who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.
Jack Maurer, left, and Gary Stocker, both of Wildwood Crest, exit the ocean after a quick second plunge during the fifth annual Polar Plunge on Saturday, March 4, 2006, in honor of Andrew Alameno, who grew up in Wildwood Crest and died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.
A banner bearing the names of all who were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was displayed on the beach during the annual Polar Plunge for Andrew on the Jefferson Avenue beach in Wildwood Crest on Saturday, March 4, 2006. Mon. The event was held in memory of local resident Andrew Alameno, who was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center.
Barb Mancuso, of Deptford, charges into the ocean screaming on her first polar bear plunge. The tug of war was cancelled but the Polar Bear Swim went off between the rain drops in front of Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City on Monday Jan. 1, 2007.
Brian Farrell, of Atlantic City, gets pumped up about the polar bear plunge as he walks up Iowa Avenue in Atlantic City on Monday, Jan. 1, 2007.
Steve Cone, of Dorothy, gets the first feel of cold water as he runs into the ocean during the polar bear swim in front of Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City on Monday, Jan. 1, 2007.
Chuck Hicks, of Ocean City, came dressed as an Eagles fan for the annual Ocean City New Year's Day polar plunge on the beach at Eighth Street, north of the Music Pier, on Monday Jan. 1, 2007. A teeming rain didn't deter hundreds of participants from stripping down to their bathing suits to take the traditional dip in the ocean. The city also held a 5K run on the Boardwalk prior to the plunge. Both events were part of the Ocean City First Night celebration.