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article imageWarning over swimming related drowning deaths

By Tim Sandle     Jul 10, 2015 in Health
In the U.S. there has been a spate of avoidable deaths by drowning. This is due to “underwater breath-holding behaviors,” which has become a popular dare among young people.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the extent of “underwater breath-holding behaviors” has now become a public health concern. This is based on a review of incidents in New York State collated between 1988–2011. Some 16 deaths were reported during this period.
The CDC thinks that education and policy interventions are needed in order to raise public awareness about dangerous swimming behaviors. These are behaviors defined as ones that cause death by drowning among ordinarily healthy swimmers.
With the activity, popular among teens, swimmers submerge and then attempt to hold their breath for as long as they can, usually remaining motionless. This is a type of dare or contest to see who can hold their breath for the longest period. The risk is that the activity leads to blackouts and then the person drowns.
Live Science reports that in one case, a teenage boy was rendered unconscious when participating in a breath holding challenge. Lifeguards were alerted but they were unable to resuscitate him.
Commenting on the activity, Dr. Peter Wernicki, medical advisor to the United States Lifesaving Association, told Health Daily that: “When we think of people drowning, what usually comes to mind are people who don't know how to swim. This is probably one of the most common ways that people who are relatively good swimmers die from drowning.”
In a sign that action is being taken, the Daily Mail reports that a number of U.S. swimming pools have imposed bans on the practice. However, to enforce this pool attendants and life-guards need to be very attentive.
More about Swimming, Drowning, Kids, Pools, Swimming Pool
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