The Occurrence of Drowning

by Michael_Koger

Drowning is a global public health problem, and it especially affects children.

This medical condition entails a process of respiratory impairment that results from submersion or immersion in liquid. Worldwide, its occurrence is highest among children who are between the ages of one and four. In the United States, it is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in clients ages 1 to 14 [1, 2].

Men have death rates from drowning which are twice the overall mortality of women. Such a disparity may be the result of alcohol use in men. They also tend to swim alone. Furthermore, they are more likely to consume alcohol prior to swimming than are women [1].

Predisposition to Drowning

     There are approximately 360,000 annual drowning deaths across the globe.  Those who have more access to water than others are at risk.  For example, children may live near sources such as ditches, ponds, irrigation channels, or pools.  Moreover, commercial fishing, or fishing for subsistence, places workers in danger [1].

     There is also high occurrence of these injuries in poor countries.  It has to do with use of small boats in those regions of the globe.  In essence, the infrastructure is inadequate there, and emergency response is not very efficient.  Evacuation, rescue, and warning procedures in these countries are still in development.  This also poses a problem with floods [1].

     Small boats are commonly in use when people are seeking asylum, and safety equipment may not be available for them as they travel.  Additionally, some passengers on vessels have health problems such as seizure disorder, and there may not be adequate medical care or equipment to manage the situation.  There are also the concerns that some craft operators consume alcohol or illicit drugs when they are in charge of the ship [1].

     Finally, since some episodes of drowning involve suicide or homicide, it is conceivable that global rates of these incidents are uncertain [1].


     The occurrence of drowning is a global public health problem.  Several environmental and behavioral factors may lead to it.


  1. World Health Organization.  (2018).  Drowning.
  2.  Szpilman, D., Sempsrott, J., Webber, J. et al.  (2018).  “Dry drowning” and other myths.  Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 85, 529-535.
  3. The photo shows a library at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is reprinted with permission from that organization.
  4. Copyright 2018 Michael Koger, Sr.  All Rights Reserved.


     The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and one should not use it for diagnosis or treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact their physician for advice.


Updated: 07/19/2018, Michael_Koger
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