Fast Five Quiz: Drowning

Richard H. Sinert, DO


June 25, 2020

The risk of drowning in people with seizure disorders, most notably epilepsy, is raised 15- to 19-fold compared with the general population. Males are also at increased risk of drowning. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that males have twice the overall mortality rate of females and they are more likely to be hospitalized than females for nonfatal drowning. The WHO's Global Report on Drowning: Preventing a Leading Killer found that the highest drowning rates are seen among children aged 1-4 years, followed by children aged 5-9 years. A bimodal age distribution is noted, in that adolescents aged 15-19 years are also at increased risk.

The WHO also lists other factors associated with an increased risk of drowning, which include:

  • Lower socioeconomic status, being a member of an ethnic minority, lack of higher education, and rural populations are all associated with increased risk, although this association can vary across countries.

  • Infants left unsupervised or alone with another child around water are at increased risk.

  • Alcohol use near or in the water increases the risk of drowning.

  • Tourists unfamiliar with local water risks and features are also at increased risk.

Read more about the risk factors for drowning.


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