When a person is taken out of the water soon after drowning, the face exhibits a turgid and livid appearance; the eyes are open and staring; the limbs somewhat stiff; the tongue thrust a little beyond the teeth; and the epigastrium tense and tumid. Under favorable circumstances, life may be restored even after the heart has ceased to act.


The patient should be taken to a suitable place and rubbed dry with warm flannels, and covered warm. The face should be turned somewhat downward to allow the water to run out of the mouth, but he should not be handled roughly. An injection should be administered, composed of third preparation, cayenne and slippery elm, and a table-spoonful of the same administered at once, in lukewarm water. No other means can be employed that are so well calculated to arouse the nervous influence and excite respiration, as powerful stimulants administered by injection to the bowels or introduced into the stomach. The injection should be frequently repeated. Rub the surface thoroughly in pepper-sauce, and put a bottle of hot water at the feet. The first symptoms that attend returning animation, are twitching of the muscles about the mouth; soon followed by efforts to breathe; sudden motion of the limbs; a small and weak pulse, beating at irregular intervals; and a discharge of frothy fluid from the mouth. As soon as the patient can swallow, stimulants, such as third preparation of lobelia or pepper tea, must be given in small doses frequently repeated. Vomiting is often induced when animation is being restored, which is always a favorable symptom.

Suspended animation from the inhalation of gas from burning charcoal, or by lightning, or fainting, should be treated as above directed, if they do not recover after dashing cold water into the face, and coming to the air.