First Aid for Drowning Victims
Death by drowning normally occurs when air cannot get into the lungs. This usually happens because a small amount of water enters the lungs, but drowning may also be caused by throat spasm.
The water that often gushes out of a rescued casualty’s mouth is from the stomach, and should drain naturally Attempts to force water from the stomach may result in the stomach contents being inhaled. A near-drowning casualty should always receive medical attention. Any water entering the lungs causes irritation and, even if the casualty seems to recover at the time, the air passages may begin to swell. A near—drowning casualty may also need to be treated for hypothermia
DO NOT use the abdominal thrust unless the casualty’s airway is obstructed and artificial ventilation has titled.
- uncontrollable gasping on entering the water, with the consequent risk of water inhalation;
- a sudden rise in blood pressure, which can precipitate a heart attack;
- sudden inability to swim;
- hypothermia — if immersion in the water is prolonged or the casualty is exposed to the wind.
- Choose the safest way to rescue the casualty. Remember to Reach and throw, DON’T go into the water. Stay land and reach out with your hand, a stick or branch, or throw a rope or a float.
- IF you are a trained life-saver, or if the casualty is unconscious, you may have swim to the casualty and tow him to dry land. It is safer to wade than to swim.
- DO NOT enter the water yourself unless it is absolutely necessary
- IF the casualty is unconscious, carry her with her head lower than her chest once she is clear of the water, to minimize — risk of vomiting.
- Shield the casualty from the wind it possible, to prevent the body From being chilled any further (this is known as the “wind chill” factor).
- Arrange to take or send the casualty to hospital, even if he or she seems to have recovered well or, if necessary