Don’t Hold Your Breath!!!...
When I was 16, I recall hearing the tragic news that a close childhood friend of mine had drowned in his backyard swimming pool. I remember thinking “but Michael was a great swimmer... I swam with him lots of times... how could he drown in just 4 foot of water?”
It made absolutely no sense, and I remember feeling incredibly saddened by the news. This article speaks about the dangers of underwater breath holding. It sounds crazy to be warning you of something so innocuous, but it can be really dangerous.
Michael would have been 16 or 17 at the time, and as I understand, he was swimming with his young sister when the tragedy occurred. They were challenging each other to hold their breath the longest, something we all did as kids... but he didn’t resurface. I remember feeling so terribly sorry for his young sister. She was alone with him, and would not have had the strength or knowledge to help him. She must have felt so helpless.
It’s called Dangerous Underwater Breath-holding Behaviour (DUBB), and Michael is not the only person to have died from it. On average 279 people drown in Australian waterways per year, but I am unsure the number associated with this specific activity. It’s not that unusual.
Often caused by intentional hyperventilation *or perhaps ‘accidental hyperventilation’... I’m pretty sure Michael didn’t mean to do it* and it is well known by medical professionals what what happens in these situations... Hyperventilation or holding the breath before going under pushes carbon dioxide out of the body. That in turn slows the signal to the brain that makes the urge to breathe irresistible. “The ‘blackout’ is caused by the drop in partial pressure of oxygen in arterial blood gas,” according to a spokesman from New York’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts claim that underwater lap swimming and breath-holding exercises have caused many accidental pool drownings. It is probably far more common than you think, and there is often no witness, so the figures could be higher than estimated.
For more information, please read the article in the link below.
Please think about water safety, especially with your children, but also individually. Stay safe Canberra.
Rest In Peace Michael...
Be Somebody’s Hero!