When you hear about a drowning, you likely associate it with a fatality. However, not everyone dies after drowning. This should be good news but it also exemplifies the tragic injuries individuals can suffer if they are deprived oxygen for too long when they are underwater.
Drowning can cause serious brain damage that can lead to long-term complications. How can drowning cause so much damage? When your brain doesn't receive oxygen, your brain cells start to die within minutes of having oxygen cut off. If enough brain cells die, serious damage can occur that can harm a person's cognitive and motor skills.
Pediatric neurologists say a severe brain injury can happen within just five minutes of being deprived oxygen. This is why drowning can be so dangerous and result in traumatic injuries if the victim survives.
A devastating example of how drowning can cause severe brain damage can be seen in two girls who fell into their grandmother's pool when they were little and suffered severe brain trauma. Paramedics said the girls were underwater for 10 minutes and they were unsure if they would even survive. They did but the drowning has caused serious brain damage that they need help eating, walking and talking.
Drowning cases are more common during California summers. Due to the serious brain injuries individuals can suffer, pool owners need to make sure their pools are safe. This means having a fence or safety gate around the pool as well as having an alarm system to indicate when someone is near the pool. These steps can help prevent drowning and any injuries that may result from someone being near an unsafe pool.
Source: NBC DFW, "Sisters' Near Drowning Caused Severe Brain Damage," Bianca Castro, May 31, 2014