Sridevi's sudden death shook the entire country and when the cause of death was revealed as an accidental drowning, it led to another disheartenment. The reason possibly is because accidental drowning seems to be trivial and really uncommon but in reality, it is more common than it is thought to be.
According to CDC, "From 2005-2014, there was an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents." In Japan, bathtub drowning is so common that around 19,000 deaths in a year occur related to this cause.
According to WHO, "Drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths."
What is accidental drowning?
The body gets into hypoxia when someone drowns accidentally or unintentionally. It is basically the impairment of the breathing function that happens as a result of being underwater. The drowning stops the oxygen supply to the brain, leading to unconsciousness and cardiac arrest because the blood flow is disrupted, the Time of India reported.
If a person is rescued, before the lack of oxygen or changes in lungs leads to a cardiac arrest, the person stands a good chance of survival only if he/she gets medical help within minutes. But, a continuous cut-off of oxygen supply to the brain can lead to brain damage and eventually, brain death.
It is actually not possible for the person to shout for help during that condition. During the process of drowning, the vocal folds involuntary closes to prevent the entry of water, blood, mucus or other such substances. Within just 60 seconds, the person's body can go into hypoxia -- the lack of oxygen in the body. So, a person who is undergoing asphyxiation might not be able to call for help.
Alcohol increases the risk of accidental drowning
In case of Sridevi, post-mortem reports suggested that there were traces of alcohol in her body. It is to be noted that alcohol can substantially increase the risk of drowning. As per a report by NCBI, "Drowning appears to be the overwhelming cause of death associated with recreational aquatic activity with alcohol detected in the blood in 30%–70% of persons who drown while involved in this activity."
Alcohol increases the risk as it acts as a depressant for the central nervous system. Therefore, the signals coming from the brain are decreased – even if it's of pain and injury. The motor skills of the person are affected due to the alcohol consumption. The higher the concentration of alcohol in the blood, the more severely it gets affected.