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First Aid 2023

First aid for drowning (full step-by-step)

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First aid for drowning (full step-by-step)
First aid for drowning (full step-by-step)

During drowning, respiratory function is impaired due to the entry of water through the nose and mouth. If there is no rescue quickly, water can accumulate in the lungs, which prevents the passage of oxygen, putting life at risk.

Some measures can be taken to save a drowning person. Then you should:

  1. Ask for help from another person who is close to the place, so that both can continue with the help;
  2. Immediately call the fire department ambulance at 193, if this is not possible, call SAMU at 192;
  3. Provide some floating material to the drowning person, such as empty plastic bottles, surfboards, or foam or styrofoam materials;
  4. Try to help without getting into the water If the person is less than 4 meters away, it is possible to extend a branch or broom handle, however, if the victim is more than 4 meters away, a buoy can be thrown with a rope, holding the opposite end. When the victim is close, it is important to always offer the foot instead of the hand, because with nervousness, the victim can pull the rescuer into the water;
  5. Enter the water only if you know how to swim;
  6. If the person is removed from the water, it is important to check breathing for 10 seconds, observing the chest movements and listening for the air to come out of the nose. If breathing, it is important to leave the person lying on their side until professionals arrive at the scene;
  7. If the person is conscious,without symptoms, only with a dry cough or foam at the mouth, it is recommended to observe breathing, asking the person to lie on their side, keeping you warm, relaxed and calm until the fire department or SAMU arrives;
  8. If unconscious and not breathing,is recommended to initiate cardiac massage on the victim.

To confirm that the person is not breathing, bring the ear to the victim's nose and mouth and perform the "VOS" method: See if there are chest movements, Hear if there is breathing noise and Feel if there is air coming out of the mouth or nose.

What to do if the person is not breathing

If the person is unconscious and not breathing, before the rescue team arrives, cardiac massage must be started:

  1. Call the fire department,on 193, or SAMU, on 192;
  2. Lying the person down on a firm surface, with the belly up;
  3. Place your hands on the victim's chest, interlacing your fingers and keeping your arms straight, as shown in the figure below;
  4. Push your hands hard against your chest, between the nipples, using your own body weight, and doing 2 compressions per second until the victim recovers or until the arrival of help. It is important to let the person's chest return to its normal position between each push.

In the case of children, only one hand should be used to perform the cardiac massage, placing only the palm of one hand on the child's chest, with the fingers raised, making 2 compressions per second.

In babies up to 1 year, it is recommended to position only 2 fingers in the middle of the chest, performing 100 to 120 compressions per minute. See how to perform cardiac massage on the baby.

Caution when trying to save someone in water

After helping the drowning victim with floating materials, you can try to get him out of the water, however, this should only be done if the rescuer knows how to swim and is safe in relation to the place. Other precautions need to be considered in case of water rescue, such as:

  1. Notify others that the rescue attempt will be made;
  2. Remove clothes and shoes that can weigh down in the water;
  3. Take a flotation material such as a board or float;
  4. Do not get too close to the victim, as the person may grab and pull them to the bottom of the water;
  5. Only remove the person if there is strength and experience;
  6. Keep calm, always calling for help.

These precautions are important so that the rescuer does not drown and it is always necessary to keep someone outside pointing out directions and calling out loud.

What to do if you are drowning

If you're drowning, it's important to stay calm, as fighting the current or thrashing around causes muscle wasting, weakness, and cramping. It's also important to try to float, wave for help, and only scream when someone can hear, to avoid getting water in your mouth.

If the drowning is at sea, you can let yourself be carried out to sea, out of reach of the surf and avoid swimming against the current. If drowning happens in rivers or floods, it is important to keep your arms open, try to float and try to reach the shore by swimming with the current.

How to avoid drowning

Some simple measures can prevent drowning, such as swimming or bathing in places that know the depth, do not have currents and are supervised by firefighters or lifeguards.

It is also important to avoid swimming right after eating, consuming alcohol and drugs, or after being exposed to the sun for a long time, especially if your body is hot and the water temperature is very cold, as this can cause cramps, making it difficult to move in the water.

In addition, it is necessary to respect the signs in rivers and seas, as well as it is important to wear a life jacket on boat or jet ski trips and avoid being close to swimming pool pumps, as they can suck your hair or the body.

Children and babies are more susceptible to drowning and, therefore, some extra care is necessary, such as not leaving them alone near or in bathtubs, buckets full of water, swimming pools, rivers or the sea, as well as, prevent access to the bathroom by putting locks on the doors.

Young children should always have floats with them when they are in the pool, river or sea and, when possible, it is recommended to install protective fences around the pool and enroll them in swimming lessons.

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