there is hope !!
and Resuscitation in the South African Surf Zone.
of the South African Lifesaver and Current Challenges.
Hagemann MbChB, DA(SA). Provincial Medical Adviser. Michael Hoffmann
FCP (SA) Neurology. National Medical Adviser. South African Lifesaving,
causes of drowning and requirements for
resuscitation as experienced in the surf zone of South
Africa are heterogenous. Clearly many different people from all walks of
life and with widely differing surf knowledge and ability are prone to immersion
and rescue by lifesavers. The competent free diver getting into trouble from
over-breathing to the non-swimmer, alcohol abuser
and infant are examples of the extremes of this spectrum.
initially diagnosed as the direct cause of collapse in only one person,
Impact of alcohol on human swimming abilities
Alcohol has been aptly named the ubiquitous catalyst in predisposing
people to submersion and drowning and has been
implicated as a major factor in the many secondary causes of drowning.
the presence of alcohol on the breath did not
influence the outcome of resuscitation. A comparison with a recent Australian
study is appropriate here. Their incidence of alcohol
on breath was 21% (compared to our local figure of 33%) which
also did not affect resuscitation outcome. Very similar findings were noted by
the Canadian Lifesaving Society in their 1996 edition of the National Drowning
Report wherein alcohol beverages were involved in 36% of all preventable
water-related deaths in Canada.
Young age, alcohol consumption and bathing in non-demarcated areas are the primary prevention targets readily amenable to public health education.
Last updated on 04 January 2004
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