Pain Medicine Specialist, Delhi Pain Management Centre, New Delhi
What is drowning?
Drowning is a condition of complete immersion of the nose and mouth in water (or any other liquid). Water enters the windpipe and airways, and stops the air from reaching lungs thus making the person unable to breathe.
What are the causes of drowning?
Drowning may happen to anyone due to carelessness or if a person is not a good swimmer. It may also result from a of suicidal attempt in certain cases. Other factors include alcoholism and drug addiction, tiredness and fatigue, illness such as heart problems and epilepsy.
What are the symptoms?
The person after drowning feels suffocated because of water blocking the airways. His face, lips, nails, fingers and toes become blue and cold; and the patient may faint. He may also suffer from headache, vomiting, chest discomfort and a pink froth comes out from his mouth and nose.
What first aid can be provided?
First aid should be given as quickly as possible. The wet clothes should be removed immediately and he should be kept warm by covering him with a blanket. The patient’s face should be turned down to one side and his arms stretched above his head. The water should be drained out of the lungs by raising the middle part of the body. Mouth to mouth artificial respiration should be given if the breathing is slow or is absent. Once he starts breathing, he should be kept warm by a blanket and then shifted to a hospital.