Drowning is a condition that causes disturbances in the respiratory system, due to the entry of fluid into the respiratory tract. This condition is very fatal because it can lead to death. Based on WHO data in 2015, as many as 360,000 drowning victims could not be saved.
Drowning is the most common cause of death in infants and children. Cases of drowning at an early age that often occur are newborns who drown in the bathtub due to carelessness of the caregivers when bathing them, or children aged 1-4 years who drown in the swimming pool due to lack of parental supervision.
Older children or adults also do not escape the dangers of drowning. This can occur in locations such as fish ponds, rivers, lakes, or the ocean.
A drowning person may show signs of a panicked voice, and body movements to reach the surface of the water or to call for help. In drowning victims who are still rescued, the symptoms that appear are:
- Throw up
- Hard to breathe
- Chest pain
- Swollen belly area
- Blue and cold face.
Give first aid if you find the victim drowning, and immediately take him to the nearest hospital.
Cause of Drowning
Drowning is caused by the inability to position the mouth and nose above the surface of the water, and to hold one's breath when underwater for a certain period of time. In this condition, water can enter the respiratory tract so that the oxygen supply becomes stopped, which results in damage or disruption of the body's system.
Cases of drowning can be triggered by a number of factors, such as:
- Can't swim.
- Having a panic attack while in the water.
- Falling or slipping into a water reservoir or sink filled with water.
- Consuming alcohol before swimming or sailing.
- Suffering from an illness that recurs while in the water, such as a heart attack, epilepsy, or concussion.
- Not supervising and guarding babies or children when they are in places prone to drowning, such as bathtubs, fish ponds, swimming pools, water reservoirs, rivers, lakes, or the sea.
- Natural disasters, such as floods or tsunamis.
- commit suicide.
The drowning incident requires immediate treatment. The most important thing is to look for signs of cardiac arrest and respiratory arrest, because it is necessary to carry out cardiopulmonary resuscitation before all diagnostic procedures are carried out.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination, especially by examining the respiratory tract function of drowning victims. Doctors can also perform tests to determine whether there is hypothermia, which is a condition in which the patient's body temperature drops dramatically from normal temperature.
If necessary, laboratory tests will also be carried out, to see the levels of electrolytes, hemoglobin, and hematocrit (the ratio of the volume of red blood cells to the total blood volume).
Diagnosis can also be made through imaging to see the condition of the inside of the body, such as a chest X-ray to examine the patient's lungs. In drowning victims who are suspected of having trauma to the head or neck, the doctor may perform a CT scan of the head or cervical spine.
If you see someone who is asking for help from drowning, you can do the following things:
- Immediately help the victim to get out of the water and move him to land, or ask for help from someone who has the ability to swim, or to the beach or swimming pool team. If not, contact an emergency help center immediately.
- Throw a buoyant object where the victim can reach it, such as a life jacket, swimming band, or rope. Objects thrown should not harm the victim. This assistance can keep the victim afloat and conscious.
- In drowning victims who have been successfully transferred to the surface, the mouth and nose can be checked, whether they are blowing air or not. See also the movement of the victim's chest.
- Next, check the pulse on the victim's neck for 10 seconds.
- If there is no pulse, then perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or cardiopulmonary rescucitation (CPR), as follows:
- Position the drowning victim to sleep on his back, and position yourself next to the victim, between his neck and shoulders.
- Stack both hands and place them on the victim's chest. The position of the arms must be straight.
- Give push or pressure from top to bottom, until the victim's chest moves about 5 cm.
- Open the victim's mouth and nose, then blow through the mouth twice in one second. Repeat giving thrust to the victim's chest for 30 times and two blows into the mouth until the victim's chest begins to expand.
- Be careful in positioning the victim's head and neck when giving CPR.
- If the victim drowns in cold water, dry immediately, change clothes, and cover with a warm blanket.
- Immediately take the drowning victim who can be helped to the nearest hospital.
When you arrive at the hospital, the doctor will assess the patient's airway, breathing, and heart ability as a first step. If necessary, the doctor will perform CPR again, give additional oxygen, and install a breathing apparatus, especially in patients who experience respiratory arrest and decreased consciousness. The doctor will also assess whether the victim needs to be treated in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Although deadly, drowning can be prevented before it happens. A number of things that can be done to prevent this event from happening are:
- By closing access to places filled with water tightly. You can use a locked door or a fence that is not easily passed, especially by children.
- Always provide supervision to children when in locations that are prone to drowning, such as bathtubs, swimming pools, fish ponds, lakes, rivers, and the sea.
- Do not consume alcoholic beverages before swimming, fishing, sailing or fishing.
- Tell your doctor if you are taking sedatives when you have to work or move in areas prone to drowning.
- Learn and understand the proper technique of performing CPR, in order to be able to provide assistance to a drowning person.
The following are a number of drowning complications that are at risk, depending on how long the victim has not received oxygen:
- Imbalance of fluids and compounds in the body.
- Hemolysis, namely the destruction of red blood cells.
- Pneumonia or inflammation of one or both lungs.
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome.
- Heart failure.
- Brain damage.