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First Aid

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Drowning is a form of suffocation. As a person struggles to stay afloat, water can enter the airway and block the entry of air. If breathing stops and the oxygen supply to the brain is cut off, permanent brain damage or death can result. Thus it is vital to start expired air resuscitation (EAR) as quickly as possible - preferably as the person is being taken from the water.

Prevent drowning by

  • learning to swim
  • teaching your children how to swim
  • not leaving children alone near water
  • learning basic rescue and resuscitation procedures.


Do not attempt to rescue anyone in deep water if you are an inexperienced swimmer. Instead call for help immediately.

First aid treatment

  1. Check the airway, clearing it of vomit or any other obstruction and begin mouth-to-nose expired air resuscitation while coming ashore in shallow water if it is safe to do so. Do not attempt resuscitation in deep " water unless you have been trained in the' technique and have a flotation device.
  2. When the person is out of the water, place in the lateral position and check the airway again.
  3. If the casualty is not breathing. resume mouth­to-nose EAR or start mouth-to-mouth EAR.
  4. When the casualty starts breathing again, keep in the lateral position, covered with a towel or blanket to save heat loss.
  5. Seek medical aid immediately. Anyone who has lost consciousness or needed resuscitation must go to hospital.
  6. Monitor breathing and pulse until medical help arrives, because the casualty's condition can deteriorate.

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