Water proof your life this summer

Published 9:16 am Friday, June 21, 2013

Make sure your kids have Coast Guard-approved flotation devices,  like life vests, on whenever they are near water. Make sure the vest has a strap that fits down between the legs, and has a collar to keep the child’s head up, and his or her face out of the water. All swimmers, regardless of age or skill level, should swim with a buddy. There have been many good swimmers, even lifeguards, who drowned because they became over confident and got into trouble in the water. Also, remember, it only takes a teaspoon of water in the lungs to drown you.

I recommend swimmers take life-saving classes. Know your limits. Swimming in lakes, rivers or oceans is not the same as swimming in a pool, because you have to account for moving currents (even lakes have underwater currents), rocks, stumps, branches and other underwater debris. This takes more of your energy and could easily cause you to snag a foot, hand, arm or other body part, trapping you under water.

If you do find yourself in water unexpectedly, or if you get in trouble in the water, don’t panic. If you relax your muscles, you’ll float much easier. If you tense up, you’ll tend to sink. Also, if you panic, you will run out of air faster. If you find yourself in a current, swim with the current and gradually try to make it to shore.

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One other condition I would like to mention “dry drowning.” Dry drowning occurs when a person’s lungs are unable to take in oxygen, due to breathing in a very small amount of water.

Even while the water prevents the lungs from oxygenating the blood, the heart does not slow down, so the person can still walk and talk, but then later dies from lack of oxygen. Sometimes in dry drowning, the larynx goes into spasms, called laryngospasm. This also deprives the victim of oxygen. A sudden change in a person’s mood or personality, energy level, agitation, sleepiness, vomiting, involuntary defecation or extreme lethargy may be a sign of oxygen deprivation. If any of these signs are observed get medical help immediately.

Diet or exercise question? Email me at dwcrocker77@gmail.com, or visit fitness4yourlife.org. 

David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 26 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC-Spartanburg baseball team, S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team and the Converse college equestrian team. He has been a water safety consultant to the United States Marine Corps, lead train to L.H. Fields modeling agency and taught four semesters at USCC-Union. Crocker was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.