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I’m Drowning – What Should I Do While Drowning?

Updated on November 26, 2012
Learn these tips to save/rescue yourself while drowning.
Learn these tips to save/rescue yourself while drowning. | Source

Just hearing the word ‘drowning’ is already scary enough, let alone experiencing it. However, drowning can happen to anyone anytime. While the most common reason of drowning is a person’s inability to swim, there are some other reasons as well. For example, children aged one to four can easily get drowned and it only takes about a few inches of water for them to lose their lives. Nonetheless, this doesn’t necessarily mean that adults don’t get drowned easily. Therefore, you may start asking yourself what to do while drowning, just in case anything unexpected takes place.

Yet, before you start making yourself busy trying to figure out what you should do while drowning, you had better try to figure out in advance about drowning itself. Drowning is a condition in which you fail to replace the oxygen you have burnt. Therefore, what you need to do is actually to inhale more oxygen. Remember this rule of thumb: try not to panic while you’re drowning. This may sound difficult but it isn’t impossible to do. When you panic, you’ll only drown yourself deeper under the water.

Don’t Scream

Well, contrary to what most people will first do when they are about to drown, it is not recommended at all for you to scream. Screaming will burn your oxygen even faster and it is usually ineffective while you’re drowning. Instead of screaming, it will be better for you to wave your hands to nearby people and signal that you’re drowning.

Don’t Bother Finding Land, Not Yet

While you’re drowning, the first thing that may come across your mind is often finding land so that you can get out of the water. However, as a matter of fact, this isn’t the most important thing to accomplish. What you should actually do first is to make sure your body doesn’t run out of oxygen.

Try to Get More Oxygen

In order to inhale more oxygen, you’ll have to get your head over the water. Then, after you have finally done it, try your best to inhale as much air as you can. But remember, you need to be careful in doing so otherwise you may get choked instead.

What Are You Wearing?

If you have successfully completed the first step, you should now be floating on the water. This is because your lungs should have been filled with air. Well, this should be true unless you happen to be wearing something that proves to weigh heavier than water itself.

If this is the case, whatever that thing that’s heavier than water you’re wearing may be, you should remove it or you’ll be putting your life at risk. Shoes often prove to be the culprit here, but if you happen to be wearing a weight belt as well, you had better let that go just as well. However, there’s one thing you shouldn’t forget while you’re trying to remove the heavy things. You should always try as much as you can to inhale oxygen over and over again.

Relax Your Muscles

Even though you may be buoyant and floating on the surface by now, there may be little chance you can hold your head completely out of water. In this case, most people will panic. Unfortunately, panicking only causes your muscles to get flexed. Flexed muscles, in turn, will burn oxygen pretty quickly and, of course, this is something you won’t want to happen as you’re lacking of oxygen while drowning. Therefore, what you should do instead is to focus on relaxing whatever muscles you may not be using and try to remain floating with your head facing down.

Help Yourself with Your Hands and Legs

Even with relaxed muscles, you’ll find that you’ll soon be in need of more oxygen. Therefore, try to slowly put one of your legs in front of the other, forming a shape similar to the letter ‘V’. Put your legs in turn in doing this. For example, you may first put your right leg in front of the left one and then the left one in front of the right one and so on. This way, your legs will thrust you up and forward.

At the same time, you should also press down your hands against the water and push yourself forward with them. By pressing down your hands, you will thrust your head up so you can keep on inhaling more oxygen.

You need to do these things – thrusting yourself up and forward with your hands and legs, trying to breathe in more oxygen when you can and hold it while you can, and relaxing your inactive muscles – continuously until you get out of the water.

Try to Find Land

Now that you have managed to maintain oxygen inside your lungs, it is time for you to try to find land. Of course, even though you may not be drowning at the moment, you can’t let yourself be in the water forever. You’ll finally get tired, cold, and ultimately drowned. When this happens, there’s no point in your trying to survive from drowning in the first place. Using your hands and legs as mentioned in the previous step is an effective way to move you towards the direction you want to go.

Rescue Others While They Are Drowning

Now that you know how to prevent yourself from getting drowned, you may want to share it with others in the hope that they know what to do when they experience the same thing. However, though, some people may not be able to follow your instructions and will seemingly get drowned all the same. Therefore, you may want to rescue them. Fortunately, rescuing a drowning person doesn’t always have to wait for the lifeguard to arrive. Instead of waiting for the lifeguard to arrive – which may be too late in some cases, you can learn how to rescue a drowning person yourself. This may come in handy for you in the future, say in case one of your family members somehow happens to be drowning. So, what are you waiting for? Learn how to rescue others while drowning before it is too late.


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