Drowning is Nothing Like TV portrays it to be

Posted by Jacqui Blanton on May 27th 2014

Do you know what drowning looks like? Do you think someone that is drowning flails and trashes around the water screaming for help? If you do, you're wrong. Drowning is a silent killer. It's part of why it is one of the leading causes of unintentional death. There is actually a thing called Instinctive Drowning Response, which is how victims tend to respond:
  1. A victim is typically physiologically incapable of calling out. The body's priority is to get oxygen, not call for help.
  2. The victim's mouth is not above water long, so they barely have time to exhale and inhale before they go back underwater.
  3. A victim's natural instinct is to press his/her arms outwards and downwards onto the surface so we can leverage our bodies upward.
  4. Waving our arms up in the air is voluntary, the victim has to stop drowning in order to wave their arms.
  5. To stay above water, a drowning victim needs to kick. They typically don't, and tend to struggle on the surface up to 60 seconds.
If you're not looking for it, you won't see this happening until it is too late. An article on Medical News Today lists what to watch for:
  • Eyes are closed or appear glassy and unfocused
  • Head is tilted back with the mouth open or low in the water with the mouth at water level
  • Hair covers forehead and eyes
  • Hyperpentilation/gasping
  • Trying to swim in one direction but not going anywhere
  • trying to roll onto their back, or their body is vertical and they aren't using their legs
Until I did more research on it, I thought drowning looked like it does on TV. But it's misconceptions like that that can lead to the loss of life. Check out PoguePoolSpa.com for more blogs, and the video below to see what drowning really looks like for yourself.   KMSP-TV