Ready to plunge
In one of the area's strangest rites of passage, thousands of seemingly sane people will spend part of this weekend splashing around in a frigid Chesapeake Bay for the 18th annual MSP Polar Bear Plunge, held Jan. 24-25. Some do it to raise money for Maryland Special Olympics, some because of the camaraderie that comes from participating in such mass hysteria, some because they just want to prove they can, some because -- well, you never know what will happen, or who you'll meet.
We asked a half-dozen plungers to take a break from psyching themselves up for the experience and tell us a little bit about their plans, their preparations and just why it is they're doing this. -- By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun /January 22, 2014)
It's going to be cold inside and outside the water at Saturday's Polar Bear Plunge. The National Weather Service is forecasting snow showers between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. with a high of 34.
The Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge entices thousands into chilly water, and emergency medicine physicians at Greater Baltimore Medical Center said there are things charity participants can do before they dip this Saturday to prepare and protect themselves.
Dr. Jeffrey P. Sternlicht said the cold makes a body’s blood vessels constrict to retain heat, which can be uncomfortable for healthy people but dangerous for those with heart problems. He suggested they get clearance from their doctors to participate. He also suggested all plungers develop a tolerance for the 35-degree water ahead of time by gradually lowering the temperature in the bath.
Finally, he said to remove clothing before the plunge to adapt to the temperature, easing in and out of the water, not plunging longer than 15 minutes, and removing all wet clothing before putting on dry clothes.
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