(Drowning; Submersion Incident)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Near-drowning is when a person has almost drowned from not being able to breathe due to being under a liquid, such as water.
This problem is caused by a liquid filling the lungs and blocking normal breathing.
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
This problem is more common in young boys between 5 and 14 years old. Risk factors for children are:
Symptoms may be:
A physical exam will be done. Near-drowning is diagnosed based on events and symptoms.
The first goal of treatment is to restore breathing as soon as possible. This may be done with:
Medication may be given to treat infection in those who were exposed to liquids that may be dirty, such as sewage.
To lower the chances of near-drowning:
American Red Cross
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Red Cross
Children’s Health and Safety Association of Canada
Near-drowning. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/near-drowning. Updated May 31, 2019. Accessed December 10, 2019.
Szpilman D, Bierens JJ, et al. Drowning. N Engl J Med. 2012 May 31;366(22):2102-2110.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 8/4/2020