By Dr. Nina Radcliff
Our pools, lakes, beaches, ponds and waterparks offer refreshing fun along with an oh-so-welcomed cooldown on hot days. And enjoying the water is a great way to spend time with family and friends (and get some exercise)—but as these water times arrive, so does the need for extra precaution!!
It’s a very sad fact that everyday 10 people die from unintentional drowning–and too that it is the second leading cause of unintentional injury related deaths to children under 14 years of age. And of those who survive, many receive emergency care for nonfatal submersion injuries including severe brain damage. This may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).
These facts are staggering – and heartbreaking!! While we do not want to think about the chances of tragedy striking while we enjoy our fun, it is vital to take safety precautions to ensure a healthy, happy and safe time in the water.
Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know: Drowning and Water Safety
What is drowning?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as the “process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion or immersion in liquid.” This definition encompasses both fatal and non-fatal events. When water enters our lungs, it impedes the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Our lungs are meant to be sterile, meaning only air should enter—other elements are not welcome. And if these other elements enter, our body reacts with inflammation and swelling which further impairs air exchange. [Read more…]