Understanding Shallow-Water Blackout

Shallow-water blackout is a condition that renders a victim unconscious in the first couple of feet of water while using a closed-circuit oxygen breathing apparatus. It usually results when an inexperienced swimmer or snorkeler takes multiple deep breaths to increase the time that he/she can spend underwater, and hyperventilates. The medical explanation for shallow-water blackout is highly technical. In simple terms, this condition is the result of purging the body of carbon dioxide–the stimulus that causes the brain to recognize …


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