Are you at risk for drowning?

Are you at risk for drowning?

Drowning is an accident often associated with children. However, adults are among the 4,000 people who die each year in the United States from unintentional drowning, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The recent survey found that roughly 40 million adults reported not knowing how to swim, and that more than half of adults have never taken a swim lesson. The good news is there are many safety precautions to reduce your risk of drowning. Dr. Oyinkansola Okubanjo, an emergency medicine physician at Advocate Health Care, recommends the following:

  • Never swim unattended. Choose pools and beaches with a lifeguard present and swim with a buddy or group. Drowning can be quiet so it’s important someone can visually see you.
  • Wear a well-fitting life jacket when participating in any water sport activity. Inflatable pool toys are popular in the water; however, they aren’t reliable floating devices.
  • Avoid alcohol as it can impair your judgement and coordination. If you happen to fall and hit your head, you may lose consciousness which can result in drowning.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Skip taking a swim on days with poor weather conditions – even if you are a highly skilled swimmer. Often, beaches will display warning flags.
  • Take beginner swim lessons to increase your comfortability around the water – no matter your age.
  • Avoid swimming if your medication impacts your balance, judgment or makes you drowsy.
  • If you have a medical condition, such as epilepsy, take extra precaution and inform others about your condition.
  • If you have a home pool, use a four-sided fence that is at least 4 feet tall and fully encloses the pool. This prevents anyone from falling in the water.

Dr. Okubanjo also encourages you to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) so you can save the life of another person who is drowning by buying them time until they can receive care from medical professionals.

Are you trying to find a doctor? Find one in Illinois or Wisconsin.

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is an external communications specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her bachelor's degree in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in health care public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.