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What Is Dangerous Underwater Breath-Holding Behaviors?

July 30, 2019

When the weather gets hot in Michigan, many people do not hesitate to go for a swim to cool off. Whether you are swimming in a pool or another body of water, you probably have heard of water safety and how to protect yourself and others from drowning. You may even know CPR and have training in what to do if someone drowns. However, drowning is not the only concern at this time of year in the water. One risk that you may not know about is dangerous underwater breath-holding behaviors.

DUBBs, according to Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, are activities a person does purposely in an attempt to increase his or her ability to go without breathing underwater. Often, people who practice DUBBs are good swimmers and in good shape. If you try to do this, you may think there is no harm in it and that since you are skilled in the water that it will not lead to anything bad happening. The reality is that DUBBS can easily lead to drowning because the practices can cause oxygen deprivation that makes you black out.

DUBBs come in three types. The most obvious is when you go under the water and just hold your breath for as long as possible before you must return to the surface to breath. You are not moving but staying still and focusing on holding your breath, which could lead to passing out. Another type is intentional hyperventilation. This is when you intentionally hyperventilate before you go under the water in an attempt to lower your carbon dioxide level so you can hold your breath longer. The last type is hypoxic training. This is where you submerge yourself and hold your breath for as long as you can while swimming. This is actually a training exercise for distance swimming, but is only safe when you are under observation by a professional trainer. This information is for education and is not legal advice.