Background: Drowning is a major, but often neglected, public health issue. Many interrelated factors are actively involved in the occurrence of drowning but the one between meteorological events has recently been increasingly the focus of attention.
Objective: To determine the effect of relative humidity and sea wavelength on mortality and weather they are independent risk factors for drowning.
Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted on unintentional drowning cases aged over 18 years. Two drowning victim groups were formed as Group 1 (died at the time of event) and Group 2 (survived the event). Significant determinants of mortality across groups were evaluated in terms of relative humidity, temperature, sea wavelength, and relative humidity/sea wavelength.
Results: A total of 155 patients were enrolled in the study. Among these, 44 belonged to Group 1 and 111 to Group 2. Relative humidity and mean ratio of relative humidity/sea wavelength were higher but sea wavelength was significantly lower in Group 1 and statistically significant differences were found between groups (p<0.001 and p=0.025, respectively). We determined that age and the level of relative humidity were the significant predictors for mortality (p=0.002 and p<0.001, respectively).
Conclusions: Meteorological parameters along with contribution of geographical features, may cause fatal course in drowning cases especially in persons who are older or have comorbidities. Thus healthcare officials, meteorological services, and local government bodies should notify residents and visitors of coastal regions about the potentially hazardous effects of high ambient temperature and excess humidity.