Drowning: how to administer first aid

A man drowning

Drowning is not a pleasant thing to experience as anyone who has survived it will tell you. There is a reason that simulated drowning (waterboarding) is still an effective means of torture.

This is why most people panic while drowning, which unfortunately makes it happen faster. But in that situation, not being able to take in a breath, panicking seems to be in order.

This is also why you should know exactly what to do if you are attempting to administer first aid to a drowning victim. Time is of the essence and you might be able to keep them alive before help comes.

Generally, there are some steps to follow if you want to save someone that is drowning. Let us find out how you can do that, shall we?

1. Bring them out of the water and call for help

Drag the victim out of the water

If the person drowning is still in the water, you have to rescue them first of all. This is the first half of the job, the second half is reviving them. Try to drag them from the water to land.

Call for help, signal to a lifeguard or call for an ambulance. You might be able to revive the drowning victim, but they might still need proper medical help. You have to do all of this as fast as you can, every second counts.

2. Administer mouth to mouth

CPR (drowning)
A boy administering CPR to a drowning victim

Okay, so, you have managed to drag the individual out of the water. The next step is to place them on their back and try to see if you can get a response from them. Shake them and call out to them. If they are still unresponsive, then administer mouth to mouth resuscitation (CPR).

Continue the CPR until the person starts breathing on their own or professional help arrives.

3. Monitor and Observe

Hospital Monitoring
Hospital Monitoring

If the drowning victim starts to breathe and cough, then you can stop CPR. This is a good sign, but they are by no means out of the woods yet. Make sure to sit them upright help them change out of their wet clothes and try to warm them up.

Make sure to monitor them, check their breathing and pulse until professional help arrives. The next 48 hours are critical as complications can arise due to water exposure. The individual could develop pneumonia, infection, or heart failure.

This means that don’t just allow a drowning victim to go home, take them to the hospital. They need to be observed and treated if a complication develops.

Final words

You can see that you can save someone’s life if you follow a few simple steps. You do not need to be a professional healthcare expert to help someone that is drowning. Although it is always a good idea to learn basic First Aid, you might need it one of these days.

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Segun is an ardent lover of fashion, reading and writing. When Segun isn't swimming baking or cooking he is punching away keys somewhere on the African continent. He is a creative with a penchant for finding (and in some cases creating) new and interesting ways of doing things. For more details, send an email to info@healthfacts.ng

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