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A large number of persons die of drowning every year. It happens at the time of flood, or at the time of crossing a river. In the cities, some bathers drown in the swimming pools and rivers. Unless a person has received a blow in the process of diving into the pool, death from drowning is the result of asphyxia. Recovery from drowning may take place even after submersion for as long as half an hour. But speed and immediate treatment on withdrawal from the water are of paramount importance.

In the process of drowning, a person draws waters mixed with air into his air passages and the two are churned up with mucus into a froth which forms an obstacle to the entrace of air into the lungs during subsequent attempts to resuscitate him. The best way to start the process is to lay the person on his stomach, with his arms on the sides. In the case of a child or a person of small structure, he may be suspended up side down to let the water run out of his mouth and nostrils. Any foreign matter like sea weeds or grass should be pulled out with fingers. Raise the victim's stomach by placing a folded cloth under his abdomen and then sit on your knees on both sides of his buttocks. Place your hands in such a manner that all you weight rests on them and press all the air and water out of the lungs of the victim. Release the pressure so that some air can enter the chest cavity of the patent. This movement should be repeated 12 to 15 times per minute.

Of all the methods of dealing with a drowned person, this is the best because the pressure exerted on the lower part of the ribs allows more air to enter the lungs than a person can inhale in the process of normal breathing. Another method recommended is to lay the victim on a stretcher and rock the stretcher at least 15 times a minute. The victim is tied to the stretcher with his face down and the rocking movements help to expel the water from his lungs.

Artificial respiration can be induced by breathing directly into the mouth of the patient. Here too, speed is of the essence. Lay the victim on his back and kneel opposite his left ear. Turn his head towards you and extend it to the position where you can easily join his mouth with yours. Open his mouth and sweep a finger round the insides to see if there are any foreign bodies. Remove all bits and pieces of grass and grit. Place the thumb of the right hand between the teeth and grip the lower jaw in the centre and hold it forwards so that the lower front teeth protrude. Close the victims nose by pinching it with your fingers. The thumb and index finger of the left hand is the best way to pinch the nostrils with. Take a deep breath and placing your mouth over the victim's mouth sealing it, blow force fully. In the case of children blow gently. Remove your mouth and allow passive respiration. Repeat the procedure twenty times a minute.

Persevere in this procedure, because in many recorded cases of drowning the victims have recovered hours after being taken out of the water. The moment the victim starts breathing, try to restore his circulation by wrapping him in a blanket an din cold weather by applying hot water bottles to bring back warmth to his body. His arms and legs should be rubbed upwards. When the patient is able to open his mouth and can sip something, give him hot tea or coffee or even brandy. Smelling salts, if available, or some salmiac and lime to which water has been added may be held under the victim's nose to bring him to full consciousness.


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