How to avoid water-related tragedies this summer

Summer vacations spent by the water are a must. While a day at the pool or the beach can be packed with fun, it can also be dangerous. Aside from sunburns, falls and bugs or jellyfish stings, you also have to look out for more silent, sneaky dangers: dry drowning and rip currents.


Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning

Most people think that once back on dry land, the risks of drowning are over. Unfortunately, dry and secondary drowning can happen after your child has exited the water. Don’t stress out too much though; these types of incidents are rare, accounting for only 1 to 2 percent of drowning accidents. Dramatic consequences can also easily be prevented if you know the symptoms and react properly. 

Dry drowning and secondary drowning don’t happen without warning signs. Usually, symptoms of dry drowning appear right after an incident in the water. Secondary drowning is a little harder to spot as symptoms appear between 1 to 24 hours after the child has gone out of the water. Both conditions share the same symptoms, including: 

- Water incident: be extra alert if your child was under water and swallowed a lot of water inadvertently.
- Cough: persistent coughing or gagging after being out of the water must be evaluated.
- Trouble breathing and chest pain: seek medical assistance if your child complains about his chest or seems to breathe heavily.
- Vomiting: this is a sign that the body is either fighting an infection or a lack of oxygen.
- Sleepiness: if your child seems abnormally tired after a swim, it could mean that he/she is not getting enough oxygen in the blood. 
- Change of behavior: consult a pediatrician if your child’s behavior changes or if he/she becomes forgetful or dizzy. 

In most cases, these symptoms will go away on their own. Still, if you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical assistance. Global Travel Plus’ subscribers can also call the Operations Center 24/7 for an immediate medical consultation and referral. If your child is really struggling to breathe, call 911 or head to the emergency room right away. 


Rip Currents 

Rip currents represent a significant risk, pulling even the strongest swimmers out to sea at a speed of up to 8 feet per second. Eighty percent of rescues performed by beach lifeguards are due to rip currents which kill more than 100 people each year in America. 

Before going to the beach this summer, learn how to identify a rip current. First, watch out for channels or breaks in wave patterns. They will usually have choppy waters with significant variation in colors. Secondly, look for lines of debris, foam or seaweed floating towards deeper waters. Always follow beach safety rules such as staying in an area overseen by lifeguards, using a swimming buddy system and checking weather and surf forecasts. 

If you happen to be pulled away by the current, follow these tips to get back to shore safely: 
-Don’t panic and don’t try to swim against the current. Even the best swimmers cannot fight against it. 
- Swim parallel to the beach to get out of the current. Once you escape the influence of the outbound water, you can start swimming back towards shore.
- If you are unable to get back to shore, get the attention of lifeguards and save your energy and remain afloat while help is on its way. 

Remember, we are often our own worst enemy and thinking "it won't happen to me" is the best way to make sure it actually happens. Don’t spoil your summer; follow these tips and listen closely to the lifeguards.   

About Global Travel Plus
When you’re experiencing any kind of emergency while traveling 100 miles away from home or in another country, Global Travel Plus assists you with relieving the additional stress experienced. Services include medical consultations, referrals and monitoring, emergency evacuation and repatriation, medical and non-medical escort, assistance with foreign hospital admission and prescriptions. With Global Travel Plus on your side, you’ll enjoy real worry-free travel everywhere in the world in any situation.  

Posted: 6/23/2017 5:52:52 PM