Coast Guard warns of cold water challenge trend
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. -- Cold water challenges started out as a unique way to raise money for charity, but now it's turned into a dangerous social media fad sweeping through Michiana.
After Michiana's brutal winter, the lake is still cold, only in the low 50s.
"Even being in the water for a short amount of time could cause severe damage to your body," says Vinny Deluca of Michigan City's Coast Guard station.
Coast Guard officials say that's cold enough to cause cardiac arrest or even drowning.
"It can cause involuntary gasps that would make you gulp water, and get the water in your lungs," says Deluca.
Despite the risks, Michiana's newest social media trend continues, and it's really supposed to be for a good cause.
Rules vary across the internet, but most times a charity is involved.
Sometimes you have to donate to charity for each person who completes the challenge or you have to donate money to charity or take the plunge.
A group of four women from Michiana jumped in Lake Michigan on Monday for the charity "Runnin' for Prestin."
The charity is based out of LaPorte and raises money for kids with cancer.
Coast Guard officials say if you must do it, do it with a friend or two.
"If you are going to do it, it's highly recommended you have supervision, don't go by yourself, and know the area you're jumping," says Deluca.