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Home > Health Library > Near-Drowning
Near-drowning is a common but out-of-date phrase for surviving a drowning event.
Drowning happens when a person is underwater and breathes water into the lungs. The airway (larynx) can spasm and close, or water can damage the lungs and keep them from taking in oxygen. In either case, the lungs can't supply oxygen to the body. This can be deadly.
Going without oxygen has a rapid effect on the body.
Right after a drowning, a person may:
Even a little water in the lungs can cause serious lung problems in the next hours or days. Emergency medical care is critical after a person survives a drowning.
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if a drowning victim has:
Call a doctor now if a recent drowning victim has new breathing problems or signs of a lung infection, such as:
Other Works Consulted
Christiani DC (2016). Physical and chemical injuries of the lung. In L Goldman, A Schafer, eds., Goldman-Cecil Medicine, 25th ed., vol. 1, pp. 595–602. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Shephard E, Quan L (2012). Drowning and submersion injury. In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed., pp. 341–348. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Current as of:
June 26, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineWilliam H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Current as of: June 26, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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