How to revive someone who has nearly drowned or swallowed water.
Whether in public swimming pools or on the beach drownings are tragic and sadly we hear about them every summer in Israel. Only bathe on beaches where lifeguards are on duty (usually until 6pm). However calm and safe you may think the sea looks, you never know what is going on below the surface. The afternoon currents on the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) are extremely powerful. Side currents, under currents and water turbulence make many of Israel’s beaches unsafe for swimming.
If faced with an emergency drowning situation, are you able to help revive someone who has swallowed water?
What is the first thing I should do?
Call the emergency services immediately and then proceed to administer first aid emergency measures.
- Step-by-step instructions for calling the emergency services with Hebrew, English and transliterations
Begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on land, if possible. If the injured person needs immediate life-and-death measures, mouth-to-mouth can be administered in the water (if that is possible without endangering yourself).
- Turn the drowning victim’s head to the side, allowing any water to drain from his or her mouth and nose. Turn the head back to the center.
- Strongly breathe four times into the mouth of the injured person as you pinch his or her nose. This helps air get past any water that is clogging the breathing passageways and the lungs. Point to note: it’s not only water that can come up. About eighty percent of near-drowning victims may vomit at some point during the resuscitation.
- After four strong breaths, put your ear near the mouth and watch the chest for any breathing movement.
- Check the pulse for signs of life.
- Repeat the cycle.
The first 48 hours after swallowing water in near drownings are the most dangerous. Complications resulting from water exposure—pneumonia, infection, heart failure—can all occur during this time. Therefore, you should always make sure a drowning victim gets to the hospital.