Drowning physical examination

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Physical Examination

Signs or behaviors associated with drowning or near-drowning:

Vitals

Respiratory Rate

  • Hyperventilating or gasping

Head

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open

Eyes

  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes open, with fear evident on the face

Miscellaneous

  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back to float
  • Uncontrollable movement of arms and legs, rarely out of the water

References



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