Drowning is a terrifying way to die. It’s fast, it’s final, and it’s something that could happen to anyone. If you’re reading this article, there’s probably a good chance you aren’t afraid of water. But the fact is that drownings occur much more often than you might think; in fact, they are the fifth leading cause of death by unintentional injury in the U.S. Adults age 65 or older are particularly at risk for drowning, but young adults and teens also experience drowning deaths on a fairly regular basis. If you’re anything like me, you probably know all of this because it’s something we read after an unsuspecting loved one drowned. Maybe it was a parent or grandparent — someone who was old enough and wise enough to know better than to take risks like swimming alone at night or going out past their depth with so many people watching.
How Does It Feel To Drown?
Drowning feels like you’re suffocating. The sense of panic people feel is very real – it’s the body’s reaction to a lack of oxygen. When the body senses that it’s not getting enough oxygen, it triggers the “fight or flight” response, which releases adrenaline and other hormones that give people energy and strength. This is what accounts for people fighting so hard to stay alive when they’re drowning.
What Can Cause Drowning Deaths?
1. Falling Into a Body of Water
The most common reason for drowning deaths is falling into a body of water, such as a pool or lake. The average person can’t swim 50 yards without needing to get out and rest. But if someone is in a place where they have no way out, or if the water is deep enough that it’s hard to reach the surface, they could potentially die from drowning.
2. Accidental Ingestion
In many cases, people who die from accidental ingestion are young children or teens who have accidentally taken pills or consumed alcohol that was not intended for them. Other examples include swallowing bottles and other household items that contain harmful chemicals (like bleach) and ingesting medications that have been mixed with other substances.
3. Drowning in Hot Water
This happens when people get trapped in hot tubs or hot water heaters; people who are elderly, disabled, or otherwise unable to escape may also succumb to this type of drowning.
4. Drowning in Cold Water
This is another scenario where people with disabilities and old age are at risk; people who are unable to swim can fall victim to drowning in cold water, which happens when they slip and fall into the water while trying to cross a frozen lake or river.
What Are the Risks of Drowning?
1. An Unfamiliar Place, at Night
The most common risk factor for drowning is going to a place that’s unfamiliar to you at night. Many times, people will go to a different location than where they intended to go — or they’ll just go somewhere that’s not as safe as they thought it would be. This is because people aren’t necessarily thinking carefully about what they’re doing when they’re swimming alone at night or in an unfamiliar body of water — they just want a good time.
2. The Water Is Cold or Deep
Cold water can cause hypothermia, which is a drop in body temperature that can be fatal if it happens quickly enough; this condition can also occur in warm water if the person’s body temperature drops too much. People who are elderly and unable to swim are at risk for cold water drowning because their bodies cannot regulate their temperatures as well as those of younger people, who can stay warm in cold water by moving around and giving off heat.
3. The Water Is Too Deep
People who are in the water for a long period of time, or if they’re elderly and unable to dive to the bottom of the water, may drown if they fall into deep water — especially if they lose consciousness while submerged.
4. The Water Is Stagnant or Overcrowded
This is often a problem at beaches and other locations where people gather, especially if there’s alcohol involved. If there are too many people in the water, bodies may not be able to move fast enough through the surf — this can cause them to choke on seaweed or other debris that’s caught in their throats; it can also cause them to inhale too much water, which could lead to drowning.
5. The Waves Are Large or There Are Other Dangers Around You
If there are waves coming at you as you’re swimming, or if you’re in a location where there are other dangers (such as a shipwreck), you could be in danger of drowning.
6. You’re Stressed Out
This is one of the most common risk factors for drowning, and it’s not just kids who get into trouble when they’re stressed out — adults can also be at risk. People who are stressed out may have a harder time regulating their heart rate and breathing, which can make them more susceptible to drowning accidents.
3 Important Lessons From Drowning
1. Stay Calm
If you’ve ever experienced the feeling of being pulled under the water, you’ll know how scary it is. But if you stay calm and don’t panic, you’ll be able to control your breathing and keep yourself afloat.
2. Don’t Panic
If someone’s drowning, a panic reaction will make it harder for them to breathe and stay afloat; it could even cause them to drown faster.
3. Don’t Swim Alone
Swimming alone without a life jacket can be dangerous — especially if you’re in an area where there are dangerous waves or other dangers around you — but even when there are other people around, it’s still a good idea to swim with a buddy or two so that one person can watch out for another.
How To Stay Safe Around Water
1. Swim in a group
Never swim alone. There are too many factors that can affect your safety: how deep the water is, how strong the current is, how far you have to swim to reach the shore, and more. If you’re with a group of people, it’s much easier for someone else to help you if something happens. Also, it’s less likely that someone will fall behind or get distracted by their phone when they’re in a group.
2. Don’t drink alcohol before swimming
Alcohol impairs judgment and slows down reaction time – two things that could be very important if you’re unconscious and drowning in the water!
3. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise helps you stay in shape and boosts your overall health, but it also helps keep you in good physical condition. In addition to keeping your heart healthy, exercising regularly can help you swim faster and more efficiently. Exercising regularly also helps you recover faster after an activity like swimming – if you’re an athlete, this is especially important!
4. Check the water temperature before swimming
If the water is freezing cold or hot, it might not be a good idea to jump in! If the temperature is right for swimming, though, don’t forget to wear a life jacket – they can help prevent drowning by stopping a person from going under if they fall into the shallow end of the pool or lake!
Water is such an amazing, therapeutic element. It can be fun and playful if you’re around it in the right way, but it can also be deadly if you don’t respect it. If you are around water, then make sure you are always wearing a life jacket. Even if you are just standing near water, make sure you are wearing shoes that can get wet so that you don’t step on something that could injure you. If you’ve ever been curious about what it feels like to drown, then you now have a better idea of what it might be like. It’s scary, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s something you never want to go through. If you’re near water, make sure you stay safe — and make sure your friends and family members stay safe, too.