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Nearly Drowning


Near drowning is severe oxygen deprivation (suffocation) caused by submersion in water but not resulting in death. Lack of oxygen in the blood may lead to brain damage and death, and when this occurs, the event is called drowning.

What are the symptoms of near drowning?

Symptoms may vary according to the severity and include :

  • Cough.
  • Gasping for breath.
  • Vomiting.
  • Wheezing.
  • Blue skin.
  • Unconscious.

What are the complications of near drowning?

Near drowning may lead to :

  • Lung infection.
  • Permanent brain damage.

What should I do to help the victim?

  • Assess the patient’s conscious level.
  • Call for help.
  • Check the airway, breathing and pulse.
  • Remove foreign body in the mouth.
  • Perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) if victim is not breathing.
  • Seek medical help.

How to prevent drowning and near drowning?

Among the measures to prevent drowning or near drowning are :

  • Learn how to swim.
  • Do not swim alone.
  • Wear life jackets when in boats.
Last Reviewed : 26 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Muhammad Fadhli Mohd Yusoff
    Dr. Ahmad Tajuddin Mohamad Nor
Reviewer : Dr. Muhaini Othman