First aid for drowning

In the summer, especially in the scorching heat, most people tend to spend time near water bodies. And none of them is safe from an accident on the water, threatening drowning. This can occur for various reasons: carelessness in the water, a sudden deterioration in well-being, the occurrence of seizures of the lower extremities, and so on. Everyone should know what to do in such a critical situation, and what should be the first medical aid for drowning.

What is drowning?

Drowning is a life-threatening condition characterized by the onset of asphyxia as a result of fluid entering the lungs or their edema. Thus, a drowned person dies due to respiratory failure. When drowning in fresh water, death occurs from the cessation of circulatory function as a result of impaired contractions of the heart ventricles. When fresh water is absorbed into the blood during its penetration into the lungs, it liquefies, increasing in volume, and red blood cells are destroyed. Sometimes there is pulmonary edema. When drowning in sea water, on the contrary, the blood thickens, a large accumulation of fluid in the alveoli leads to their stretching and rupture. There is pulmonary edema, and as a result of gas exchange disorders, cardiac arrest occurs.

Proceeding from this, the true drowning, imaginary, or syncopal, as well as asphytic, is classified.

True drowning is characterized by death due to respiratory failure due to the ingress of water or other fluid into the lungs. The skin turns blue, hence another name for this condition - “blue” asphyxia. If in time to get the victim out of the water, you can make successful rehabilitation measures while maintaining respiratory and cardiac activity.

Syncopal drowning is characterized by reflex cardiac arrest, while there may be little or no water in the lungs. In another way, this condition is called "white" asphyxia, because the skin of the affected person acquires a white tint. This type of drowning is usually accompanied by a strong fear or spasm due to a sharp cold, but white asphyxia allows you to make more favorable predictions regarding further resuscitation of the victim than other types.

Asphytic drowning is a condition that often resulted in death due to laryngospasm, although water does not enter the lungs. At the same time, the external signs of a drowning man occupy a middle position between the first two types of drowning. This asphyxia, as a rule, is a consequence of the depressed state of the central nervous system due to intoxication, poisoning, intoxication. It should be noted that the rehabilitation of this type of asphyxia is the most difficult.

Thus, if during the accident on the water it was possible to determine the type of drowning, you can try to provide appropriate assistance before the arrival of the medical team, so that the drowning person can be saved.

First aid for drowning

In general, first aid for drowning consists of two stages of measures: removing the victim from a reservoir and taking rescue measures on the shore.

First aid for drowning

The first stage should be carried out in such a way that the rescuer himself does not suffer at the same time, since a drowning person in consciousness may behave inappropriately, which can harm the person helping him. Therefore, when saving a person, you need to behave very carefully: if you can reach him from the shore or other stable surface, it is best to stretch him a stick, oar, rope, lifebuoy. If it is far enough, you have to go swimming, acting at the same time quickly and clearly. You need to grab him from behind by the neck or by the hair and quickly drag him to the shore. In no case do you need to jump into the water to help the drowning man, if your swimming skills are very weak.

The second phase of rescue measures consists of first aid on shore.

First aid for drowning

Assistance should be based on signs corresponding to any type of drowning that have been described above. If the person is conscious, you can limit yourself to soothe and warm the victim. First aid for drowning a person who is unconscious begins with the removal of water from the respiratory tract, with the exception of a state of white asphyxia, in which you can immediately begin resuscitation. With blue asphyxiation from the mouth and nasopharynx, you need to remove sand, algae, tina. To do this, you need to: manually clean the oral cavity with a finger wrapped in a cloth, then cause a gag reflex in the victim by pressing on the root of the tongue. If the jaws are tightly closed, you need to try to open them with a hard object and prevent the tongue from dropping.

The presence of a vomiting reflex indicates that the victim is alive, so his lungs and stomach need to be freed further. To do this, you need to turn the person over, laying his stomach down through the knee, turn his head to the side, then induce vomiting and press on the chest. These steps must be repeated until no more water is released from the victim’s nose and mouth. Along with these activities, you need to monitor the heart rate and breathing of a person in order to be ready for resuscitation.

The following actions are aimed at saving the victim in the event that he does not already have a gag reflex, and specifically they are in intensive care.


The complex of resuscitation measures consists of artificial respiration and heart massage. How it is carried out, at least in general terms, everyone should know. First, the victim must be pressed on the stomach so that air escapes from the lungs. Then it is necessary to blow in the accumulated air according to the principle “mouth to mouth” or “mouth to nose”. The most effective way is from mouth to mouth, but it is not always possible to implement it because of the tightly closed jaws. Air is blown in at least 12-13 times per minute, periodically replaced by pressure from the abdomen to ensure that all air is out of the lungs. If the victim’s chest has risen sharply, artificial respiration measures have been performed successfully.

First aid for drowning

If the victim does not have a pulse, a heart massage should be done. To do this, you need to put one hand on the heart, the second - across it and make pressure with the whole body mass. If the weight of the resuscitator is much greater than the victim, it is worth doing this with caution so as not to break his ribs. Four or five pressures should be replaced by mechanical ventilation. If you managed to regain consciousness to the victim, you do not need to refuse the help of health workers, since there is a risk of heart failure again. The victim needs to be warmed; actions to use drugs for the respiratory system (ammonia, caffeine or camphor subcutaneously) also do not interfere.

If there is a suspicion that the victim during drowning received any injuries, you need to try to identify them without turning the person over. If the limbs have lost sensitivity, there is a high probability of spinal cord injury. Other most common injuries are cranial and cervical vertebrae. The victim must be placed on a flat, solid surface without turning his head. If there is a risk of severe vomiting, carefully turn the person to the side with his whole body, holding his head. The remaining rescue actions should be undertaken by the emergency medical team.

Watch the video: Emergency First Aid : How Give CPR (April 2020).