CPR is a standard treatment for near drowning. But if CPR doesn’t seem to work, the airways may be obstructed. The rescuer may then use the Heimlich maneuver to expel water and help the victim breathe, according to the American Heart Association.
Here’s how to apply the Heimlich maneuver in near-drowning situations:
- Place the unconscious victim on his or her back and turn the face to one side so water can drain from the mouth. If you suspect the airway is blocked, however, don’t turn the head, because it will prevent expulsion of the object.
- Kneel astride the victim’s hips, facing toward the head.
- Place the heel of one hand on the victim’s abdomen, slightly above the navel and below the rib cage. Place the other hand on top of the lower hand.
- Press into the victim’s abdomen with quick upward thrusts. Repeat until water no longer flows from the victim’s mouth.
The victim should see a physician immediately after rescue. If the victim doesn’t regain consciousness, proceed with CPR and call for emergency medical assistance.
Used with permission from A Year of Health Hints by Don R Powell, PHD and the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, copyright 2010. www.healthylife.com