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10 Drowning Myths Everyone Still Believes

Learn how to prevent, spot, and rescue a swimmer in trouble.

Drowning doesn’t need to happen

Air bubbles in clear blue water in poolJag_cz/Shutterstock

Every year, there are 3,536 deaths caused by unintentional drowning in the United States, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can prevent drowning deaths by taking swim lessons (no matter your age), learning CPR, wearing life jackets on a boat, and supervising children (without distractions) at all times, they advise.

You can tell if someone’s drowning

Abstract underwater backgroundsElovich/Shutterstock

One of the most pervasive drowning myths is that you’ll know when someone is drowning. Believe that, and it’s possible to miss someone who’s in peril. “It may not be as obvious as a person yelling ‘help me, help me,’” says Gabriella Cardone, MD, an emergency medicine pediatrician with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and attending physician at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

They’ll flail their arms

hand of the man while asking for help drowning in the seaChiccoDodiFC/Shutterstock

Think you should see a bunch of crazy splashing? Only in the movies. Certainly, if someone is splashing and yelling for help, assist them right away. However, the waters are often calmer. “People get scared [when they’re in trouble in the water] and they don’t move,” says Dr. Cardone. That’s why you need to know the silent but deadly signs someone’s about to drown.

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