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Helping With Drowning Or Near-DrowningDisaster kit

When A Person Is Most At Risk Of Drowning

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.

drowning preparednessEmergency 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 pulse.

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.

After Care

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
Trauma Kitof 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.