Bathing in water can be a lot of fun. But besides the fun, the water also holds many dangers. According to the SLRG SSS, 46 drowning cases were reported in 2020. During and after drowning, affected persons are dependent on immediate help from the people close by. Let us explain more about first aid after drowning.
In which circumstances can someone drown?
All things considered, people can drown wherever there is water, but it is often the circumstances that are decisive. For non-swimmers, it becomes particularly dangerous if they suddenly end up in the depths of the water or are in the non-swimmer area. If a bathing accident occurs and people fall overboard, drowning can also occur quickly even if the people can swim. If you have a bathing accident and accidentally hit your head, you could pass out and end up in the depths of the water and drown.
In the public swimming pool, there are also occasional accidents in which people can drown. Children or young people jump off the edge of the pool and accidentally jump onto a diving person. Here, the person affected can lose consciousness and slowly drown without anyone really noticing. That’s why you should always follow the rules in the open-air swimming pool and pay attention to your fellow human beings.
It is especially dangerous for people in the water in summer. High temperatures and cold water can do a lot to the body. Cramps or cardiac arrest can occur. Strong currents can also bring our bodies to the limits of their strength. It is therefore important to take care of yourself and, if in doubt, never go alone in the water. But when it comes down to it, you may have to give first aid yourself. Then you should be prepared for the situation.
How do you recognise an emergency in water?
Basically, one should have a keen eye for when a person is really drowning. The further the affected person is from the shore, the more difficult it is to assess the emergency. If it is still possible for the affected person, he or she will probably cry out for help; but often this is not possible. Instead, one should look for a strong overstretching of the head. This means that the victim is still trying to gasp for air. In addition to this, affected persons try to keep themselves above water somehow by hitting the water very hard with their arms.
With children, the situation is a little different. Children are usually unable to stretch their heads so much that their mouths and nose are above water. They try instead to keep themselves above water with everything they have. Outsiders can then at most perceive movements of the arms and hands. Unlike adults, children quickly fall into a “stupor” status when drowning and drown immediately after. Children also like to go diving, which could look suspicious to outsiders. Therefore, it is best to always keep an eye on children.
How to give first aid?
If an emergency arises where a person is drowning, you can follow these tips:
- Get help from a safe place! Before trying to pull the person out of the water, make an emergency call. If there are two of you at the scene of the accident, you can split up the work. This is because drowning victims usually lash out uncontrollably or try to hold on to something, thus risking putting the first aider in danger. Therefore, you should first try to help the person from the shore if this is possible. A lifebuoy, for example, can be helpful here.
- Check breathing and stop hypothermia! Once the victim is out of the water, you should stop the hypothermia by removing the victim’s wet clothing. In addition, you can put a rescue blanket over the victim, if available. Caution. The silver side must be down-facing or inside. If the person is conscious, check whether the victim can still feel his or her legs. If this is the case, the person should not be moved because a fall into the water can cause injuries to the spine. If the person is no longer conscious, you should immediately check their breathing. If the person is breathing, place him/her in the recovery position; if not, start resuscitation immediately.
Preventing bathing accidents
In the best case, a bathing accident can be prevented beforehand by taking the best possible precautions.
Follow these tips:
- If the outside temperature is hot, it is essential to cool down well before getting into the water.
- You should get out of the water as soon as you start feeling cold.
- You should only jump into the water if you know for sure that it is deep enough.
- Keep away from boats and ships.
- If you can’t swim, the water should only reach up to your stomach.
- You should only swim if you really feel healthy and comfortable to do so.
- If there is a thunderstorm, you should get out of the water immediately.
- One should desist from submerging others underwater.
- One should not go swimming with a full as well as with an empty stomach.
- One should not overestimate one’s own abilities and strengths.
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- First aid in case of suffocation: here’s how to react correctly!
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