Swimming in the lake: avoid bad accidents

Risk of accidents on swimming lakes: Important information to minimize the risk
The local bathing lakes are a popular destination when the weather is good and a dip in the cool water brings a pleasant cool down in high temperatures. But "unfortunately there are always serious to fatal bathing accidents because swimmers overestimate their abilities or behave carelessly in the water", the University Medical Center Freiburg warns in a current press release. The experts provide important tips on how to avoid such bathing accidents and how rescuers react best.

After children have completed their first swimming course, many parents are significantly less concerned when their little ones play in the water. But "the swimming knowledge that children learn with the seahorse is far from sufficient to be able to swim safely in open waters," warns the medical director of the University Emergency Center (UNZ) Freiburg, Dr. Hans-Jörg Busch. And bathing accidents are not only dangerous for those affected, the rescuers are also often in danger, according to the expert.

Heed local warnings
A certain amount of caution is required both at the sea and at swimming lakes in order not to risk accidents. Regular swimming training is only part of the solution here. In any case, it is also important to pay attention to local warnings, according to the Freiburg University Clinic. Because these can indicate dangers such as currents, which pose a risk even for good swimmers. They too are often powerless against suction effects. It is also important to check the water depth. "Jumps into a not sufficiently deep or unknown water are life-threatening, because if you hit the ground or an object in the water, serious head and spine injuries can occur," warns the University Hospital Freiburg.

Cool down before bathing
Furthermore, it is important to get the body used to the water temperature and not to jump into the cold water with the body heated up. Ideally, the body is first cooled in a shower and then slowly goes into the water, according to the Freiburg University Clinic. "A particularly vulnerable group for swimming accidents are men over the age of 60 whose cardiovascular system is weakened," warns Dr. Bush. If the outside temperature is high, jumping into cold water can lead to rapid exhaustion, cramps or even heart failure.

It is also important to avoid hypothermia in the water. Therefore, one should not stay in the water for too long and react urgently to the first alarming signs such as tremors, shivering, deep breathing and fast heartbeat, according to the university hospital.

Rescuers also quickly come into danger
If people run the risk of drowning, quick help is needed. But the “rescuers must also take into account possible risks and adhere to a few important rules so that they do not put themselves in danger,” according to the Freiburg University Clinic. Dr. Busch reports that in the emergency room in Freiburg several helpers had to be treated "who overwhelmed them during a rescue operation." According to the university hospital, the rescuers should therefore take the following points into account if a person gets into trouble in the water:

  • Keep Calm.
  • Contact the emergency call immediately and alert other swimmers to the situation.
  • Inform experienced lifeguards from the local lifeguards.
  • Hand a floating object to the rescue. Because rescuers who swim to a person in need are often also pushed under water if the person concerned panics.
  • Bring the person ashore and check breathing and pulse if necessary. Initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation if necessary.
  • Carry out cardiac massage and ventilation until the ambulance arrives.
  • If the person breathes sufficiently, they should be placed on their side and continue to check their breathing.

In order to avoid taking unnecessary risks, bathers should always observe the DLRG bathing rules when staying at the lake, which you can see here. This way, most bathing accidents can be avoided from the outset. (fp)

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