Near drowning has the potential to cause brain injuries. Most victims include young children between the ages of 1-4 years old or young men. Around half of cases involving young men in a drowning incident were under the influence of alcohol. Even if an individual survives after a incident, the outcome can be upsetting due to the potential for brain injuries.
Brain hypoxia arises from the lack of oxygen to the brain. In case the oxygen supply is disrupted for a short span of time, hypoxia will not show any signs.
In near drowning accidents, serious symptoms might manifest. The individual might have memory loss and difficulty in absorbing new things as consequences of the accident. In addition, there is diminished judgment and motor coordination.
Once the oxygen supply is cut off for more than 5 minutes, the neurons within the brain start to die and hypoxia might result to coma or even death. The only treatment for brain hypoxia is to provide supplemental oxygen to the individual.
Brain ischemia arises if there is lack of blood flow to the brain. If the individual suffers from hypoxemia, complete recovery after a brain ischemia is likely but only if the brain endured it briefly.
The brain-related signs of extended ischemia include swelling, seizures and disrupted cerebral autoregulations.
Infection of the central nervous system
The organisms present in the water and soil can trigger severe infections that focuses on the central nervous system after moving up in the lungs of a drowned victim.
The symptoms might not arise until 1-3 weeks after the near drowning incident where fever, seizures and vomiting are the usual signs. Remember that some of these infections can be deadly and hard to treat.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on brain injuries from near drowning is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the indications by taking a standard first aid course with Kelowna First Aid.