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In the hot, dry climate in and around Amarillo, heading to the pool to cool off, exercise, and have some fun is a veritable “summer ritual.” But swimming also brings with it significant safety concerns – including slip and fall accidents along pool perimeters, diving accidents, and drowning. Here, we want to look at how to recognize a drowning incident when you see one and what to do about it.

Signs Of Drowning

When you are the one beginning to drown, you know exactly what is happening. But it’s not always immediately evident to others that someone in the pool is in danger of drowning. Even non-life guards should become aware of the basic signs to look for, including:

  • Bobbing up and down in the water, while making a “staircasing” motion with the legs – where the victim tries to “climb” out of the water.
  • Arms may be extended outward or upward or hidden in the water. They won’t be relaxed or engaged in typical swim motions.
  • The head is typically tilted back, and the person will be gasping for air. The mouth may be periodically at or below the water line.
  • The hair is often covering the face of one who is drowning, and the eyes (if visible) may be closed or look hazy and seem to be staring out into space.
  • Swim motion is weak or nonexistent, and the person isn’t covering any ground.
  • Thrashing is often absent, and the event may be very silent.


How to Treat Drowning Victims

First steps in treating a drowning victim include notifying a lifeguard and calling 911.  Rescuing a struggling swimmer should be done by someone skilled or trained to do so. The adrenaline response of a struggling swimmer can overpower even experienced rescuers. A rescuer must also be aware of any surrounding environmental dangers as well.

Once the victim is safely removed from the water, a lifeguard or trained bystander will need to check to see if the victim is still breathing, followed by checking for a pulse. Someone may need to administer CPR. You can learn CPR through American Red Cross courses offered throughout the country. If you are alone, a 911 dispatcher may be able to walk you through the basics of CPR. “Near drowning” victims should be kept warm and dry, and transported to a medical facility for further evaluation and treatment. When in doubt, do not hesitate to contact 911 to have first responders evaluate and transport the victim.

If you live in the Texas Panhandle area or traveling down I-40, our Board Certified emergency doctors can help 24/7 in our modern and fully equipped Emergency Room.