Update on Drowning (SAMJ July 2017)

Impacting drowning fatality in South Africa will require broad based collaboration on prevention across civil society.

South Africa has a high fatal drowning rate (4/100 000) comparable to most low income countries and a significant number of the 2 000 deaths a year are children.  Prevention needs to encompass a range of activities including awareness campaigns, education, swimming competency, personal flotation device usage, alcohol control, swimming pool regulations etc. within a broad Preventative Framework.

Drowning is defined as respiratory impairment (problems with getting oxygen to the lungs and body) as a result of immersion or submersion in a liquid and outcomes are either fatal or non-fatal. We no longer refer to near-drowning.

Emergency medical management of drowning includes immediate rescue, rapid access to bystander and ambulance care and transport to a hospital emergency centre. Resuscitation skills are a core component of care. Survival depends fundamentally on submersion time and the severity of the hypoxic event. Survival decreases exponentially (steeply) with increased submersion time.

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO READ THE FULL REPORT (July 2017)

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