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Shallow Water Blackout-how to Prevent

What is Shallow Water Blackout:  Shallow water blackout, SWB, results from an insufficient amount of carbon dioxide to activate the body's natural impulse to breathe. Swimmers who practice prolonged underwater breath-holding are particularly at risk of SWB. Prior to submersion, swimmers blow off an excessive amount of carbon dioxide through voluntary hyperventilation (intentional quick breaths in and out) or involuntary hyperventilation (strenuous exercise, excitement, anxiety). When the oxygen level in the blood runs low before the carbon dioxide level rises to the point that triggers the breathing reflex, the swimmer loses consciousness. The swimmer never actually feels as though a breath is needed. Once submerged underwater, the swimmer is hidden from the view of lifeguards by surface glare and ripples/waves on the surface. A series of events is then triggered, including the inhalation of water, possible convulsions and ultimately cardiac arrest and death.

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