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Southlake Style

Drowning Prevention

Jun 09, 2014 09:10AM ● By Dia

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Stay Safe While Swimming

By Dr. Josh Prickett – Medical Director, North Tarrant E-Care Emergency Center 

With hot weather descending on North Texas, there’s no doubt that Southlake-area residents will be heading to rivers, lakes, beaches and pools to get cool. Whether it’s to escape the heat, exercise, or just to relax, swimming is a great way to spend time with family and friends, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t proceed with caution. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 1,000 people drown in non-boating accidents each year, and many of these deaths could have been prevented.

Among the top reasons for drowning incidents are:

·       Inexperience

·       Dangerous Conditions

·       Use of Alcohol/Drugs

·       Improper Safety Equipment

·       Lack of Lifeguards

Take Safety Precautions

In order to prevent drowning, follow some simple water safety precautions before making a splash. First, you should never swim alone. Even if you bring along someone who isn’t swimming, that person can act in the event of an emergency. Second, you need to keenly evaluate the water conditions before getting in. This is especially important if you plan to swim in a lake or a river, as these bodies of water can have rough currents during windy or inclement weather.

There are always hazards underwater, as well, such as branches, glass and metal shards. Always inspect your feet for cuts and abrasions, clean wounds completely, disinfect cuts, and seek medical care for deep cuts or for any signs of infection. In some cases, a doctor may recommend a tetanus shot.

Finally, remember that experience counts. If you’re not a strong swimmer, always remain in shallow water and consider wearing a flotation device. Only use safety gear such as U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vests. You should also have a strong swimmer nearby who will be able to help if you experience trouble.

CPR Saves Lives

Everyone can benefit from learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. CPR will give you the chance to potentially save someone’s life. Even if a drowning individual is pulled from the water, liquid in the lungs can still cause a lack of oxygen to the brain, ultimately leading to severe damage or death. By receiving CPR quickly, the American Heart Association states that a victim triples their chance of survival.

Regardless of the circumstances, anyone who has experienced near-drowning needs to seek medical attention. If the affected individual receives CPR or medical treatment on site, he or she should still be taken to an emergency care center to be checked out. A drowning incident that does not result in death can lead to a variety of other health problems including heart, lung, and brain damage. By diagnosing early, you have a better chance for recovery and health.

In and around the Southlake area, residents who have been involved in a drowning or swimming accident can turn to E-Care Emergency Care Centers. An E-Care Emergency Care Center provides urgent care and ER care for individuals who have experienced any type of serious health emergency, and each facility is staffed by medical professionals using advanced technology and health care techniques.

To learn more about your local E-Care Emergency Care clinic, check in online or call (817) 281-7277.

Josh Prickett MD

Josh Prickett, MD, is currently medical director for North Tarrant location of E-Care Emergency Center in North Richland Hills. Dr. Prickett graduated from the University of Oklahoma Medical School and has been practicing emergency care in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Texas since 1989.  He has been married to his wife Carin for 29 years. They have a son Jonathan, a daughter Whitney, and a son-in-law John. Dr. Prickett and his family are active at Gateway Church in Southlake and love being a part of the Southlake community.