Helping With Drowning Or Near-Drowning
When A Person Is Most At Risk Of
While it is true that anyone is at risk of drowning if they are near water,
there are several groups of people who are at an even greater level of risk:
young children under the age of five, and people between the ages of 15 and
25. Most of the people in the latter category are young men.
Children usually drown because they have been left unattended and have wandered
into a pool or other water source. Sometimes small children are left in a
bathtub while the adult answers the phone. Regardless of how the drowning
has occurred, it is important to try to take steps to help the victim as
quickly as possible. Young men drown because they are often more reckless
and prone to taking risks.
Emergency First Aid for Drowning or Near-Drowning
Technically speaking, drowning refers to the suffocation that occurs from the
inhalation of water into the lungs, while near-drowning refers to surviving
it. Emergency services should be called immediately when there is a
suspected drowning. However, do not wait for medical personnel to
arrive before administering first aid.
When someone has drowned, or is in a condition of near-drowning, it is important
to try to get air into the lungs as quickly as possible. If the person is
still in the water, give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Once on shore, or
on a boat, begin to give CPR until the person is breathing and there is a
Hypothermia will interfere with the body’s ability to function, so warming the
person quickly once they are breathing is extremely important. Get the
wet clothing off the drowning victim and wrap them in blankets. Someone
should stay with them until the ambulance arrives, as well.
Anyone who has suffered from drowning or near-drowning must be monitored
closely for up to 12 hours after the incident. The reason for this is
that when water enters the lungs, it destroys the surface layer of the lungs,
and this will interfere with the ability of the lungs to deliver oxygen to the
rest of the body. Wheezing and shortness of breath are symptoms of
respiratory distress and often occur with near-drowning victims.
Besides monitoring breathing and oxygen levels, hospital personnel will be
working to raise the temperature of the body’s core to prevent problems with
the heart or other organs from surfacing as a result of hypothermia.
It is generally considered that if the person who has nearly drowned survives
for 7 hours afterwards without trouble that they will return to a normal state
of health. However, it is advisable to keep a close watch on any such
patient for several days after the incident to make sure that they have fully
recovered. The doctor should be notified immediately of any negative
changes in the person’s condition.