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Near-Drowning Injuries


Near-drowning injuries occur when a person has been unable to breathe after being under water. Liquid enters the lungs and prevents the person from getting enough oxygen. Alcohol or drug use while boating or swimming increase the risk of a near-drowning injury. Medical problems such as seizures, muscle cramps, or hypoglycemia while swimming may also increase risk.



  • Medicines may be given to treat or prevent a bacterial lung infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


Use oxygen at home as directed. It is usually given through a nasal cannula, which is a pair of short, thin tubes that rest just inside your nose. Tell your healthcare provider if your nose gets dry or if the skin gets red or sore. Never smoke or let anyone else smoke in the same room while your oxygen is on. This can cause a fire.

Prevent near-drowning injuries:

  • Avoid drinking alcohol while swimming or boating.
  • Do not try to hyperventilate to increase the time you are able to stay under water.
  • Learn CPR if you have a pool or regularly do water activities.
  • Never try to help rescue someone if you do not know how to do it safely.
  • Swim near a lifeguard and ask for safe places to swim. Read and follow warning signs.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have a seizure.
  • You have sudden shortness of breath.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Near-Drowning Injuries (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.