What is Drown?

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About Drowning

Drown is a common word that means "to drown." It is derived from the Old English word druncnian, which is influenced by the Old Norse word drukkna. The word is also found in Middle English as drunen and druncnian. The OED notes that there is also an unattested Old English form called drunian.

Laryngeal Spasm

Drowning due to laryngeospasm occurs when the airway of the victim becomes narrowed. This can occur when the water enters the larynx or oropharynx. In most cases, the victim experiences a period of breath holding during which water enters the upper airways. The water stimulates respiratory movement, but the victim is unable to inhale. This condition abates as the water level in the body drops.

Laryngeal spasm is caused by water irritating the larynx, causing a severe inflammatory response and the vocal cords to close. This can lead to neurogenic pulmonary edema, which increases pressure in the heart and lungs. This can limit the flow of oxygen to the brain.

Involuntary Breath-holding

The duration of involuntary breath-holding when drowning is largely determined by three factors: aspiration of water, oxygen reserves, and time without oxygen. These three factors are rarely compared in academic literature, but they are frequently the focus of detailed arguments in legal cases.

During a drowning, the drowning victim's body initiates an involuntary breath-holding response to prevent water from entering the lungs. This reaction causes the epiglottis, or airway, to close, obstructing air passage. The victim may struggle for a while, but without oxygen, he or she will likely lose consciousness and die.

As a result of involuntary breath-holding, the victim may experience a sharp pain in the face and throat. They may also make grasping motions with their arms. In addition, when the water reaches the epiglottis, the larynx may spasm, blocking the useless airway and allowing water into the lungs. Involuntary breath-holding during drowning is extremely painful and can result in death within seconds.


When a drowning victim is unconscious, the epiglottis closes over the airway and prevents the victim from breathing. This process occurs involuntarily as a reaction to water entering the victim's mouth. A drowning victim may continue to struggle in the water but will not be able to make any noises and will eventually lose consciousness.

A drowning victim will experience a sharp stinging in the mouth and throat and may even feel like they are choking. The water can also cause the larynx to spasm, blocking the airway and allowing the water to enter the victim's lungs. The person's oxygen levels are low at this point, so they are already completely depleted. If this condition is left untreated, the person will likely die.

Hypoxic Convulsions

The condition known as hypoxic convulsions after drowning is caused by the body's lack of oxygen. It usually occurs within four to six minutes after the drowning victim becomes unconscious. A person suffering from this condition will typically be unresponsive, have trouble breathing, and experience violent jerking movements. This condition can be life-threatening and should be treated promptly.

The first priority of medical treatment is to treat the patient's airway difficulties and correct hypoxemia. Depending on the severity of the hypoxic convulsions, the treatment may include supplemental oxygen. In more severe cases, chest compressions may be required. The goal of treatment is to restore optimal oxygenation, ventilation, and circulation to the brain and prevent long-term hypoxic-ischemic damage.

Lack of Oxygen

Drowning is a life-threatening condition in which an individual can no longer breathe. This can result in a variety of complications, including cardiac arrest and decreased mental function. While a number of drowning victims recover from the incident without further medical intervention, many still experience ongoing medical conditions. In addition, the lack of oxygen in the blood can cause organ failure, including the kidneys.

The first parts of the brain to suffer damage from lack of oxygen are those that control thought. Scientists believe that brain damage begins to occur at about five minutes of deprivation. Many victims of drowning suffer life-long disabilities from brain damage, such as memory loss and seizures. In severe cases, the victim may also experience paralysis. Some drowning victims may even enter a vegetative state.

October 05, 2022


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