Recognizing the signs of drowning features canker mouth sores

Mario Vittone, author of the article “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning,” wrote that popular depictions of drowning victims in movies or on television have little basis in reality. A drowning victim is incapable of yelling for help or waving their arms wildly in the air. He called drowning a “deceptively quiet event.”

When drowning, a victim will involuntarily engage in the instinctive drowning response, as described by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D. The victim’s body will often remain in an upright position with the head held back and the mouth open while the victim alternately submerges and emerges from the water. The victim’s arms will likely be extended to the side and pushing down on the water as if the victim is trying to lift their body out of the water. The victim will be unable to call for help because the drive to breathe will automatically override the victim’s speech ability.

If a person in the water is yelling and waving their arms, they are probably not drowning. But that does not guarantee there is no danger. The victim may be in aquatic distress. At this point they are still able to contribute to their own rescue by summoning help or grabbing a rescue device. A good method of determining an individual’s level of distress is to ask the victim if they are in trouble. If the victim is unable to respond, the process of drowning has already begun and immediate action to rescue the victim is required.

“There are measures everyone can take to help prevent these tragedies,” said Macumber. “One is teaching your children to swim, and always supervise children when they are in or around water. Learning CPR is a must for homeowners who have pools in their backyards, residents of any home, complex, condo, et cetera, where there is a pool and boaters who spend time on the Delta. Always have a fence surrounding your pool on all sides, and if you plan on spending time on the Delta, always wear a life vest.”

In recent years, so-called ‘dry downings’ have become a popular topic in social media. The typical scenario is one in which the victim of a nonfatal drowning suddenly dies hours or days after the drowning incident and the death is attributed to the drowning. The medical community does not recognize dry drowning, near-drowning or delayed drowning as actual conditions.

To be sure, any drowning incident is serious. The presence of water in the lungs can cause dangerous complications such as infection. In these cases, the onset of any complication develops over hours, allowing sufficient opportunity for the victim to seek and receive treatment. The standard for care recommended is that any drowning victim who experiences discomfort greater than they would associate with “swallowing a drink that goes down the wrong pipe” should seek medical care.

“Usually these patients can be observed for four to six hours in an emergency department and be released if normal,” wrote Alissa Katz in Emergency Medicine News. “More significant symptoms would be persistent cough, foam at the mouth or nose, confusion or abnormal behavior, all of which warrant attention. Drowning deaths do not occur due to unexpected deterioration days or weeks later with no preceding symptoms. The lungs and heart or their passages do not fill up with water, and water does not need to be pumped out of the lungs.”