Dangers Of 'Dry' Drowning

Summer is here and with it comes the inevitable day by the pool or in the ocean with everyone frolicking and having fun.

Now, if you have children, you likely already know about pool dangers, and have addressed those with fences, swimming lessons, life vests and other safety equipment to keep your child safe while they have fun.

But did you know that a seemingly fun day at the pool can lead to something serious later, and could ultimately lead to death if you don't see the signs of trouble?

'Dry drowning' and 'secondary drowning,' while rare, are real dangers and we all should educate ourselves about it, especially since, in some cases, the warning signs aren't immediate and may not show up until 48 hours AFTER a child leaves the water.

So here's the basics:

  • 'Dry drowning' is when a child gets water in their nose and mouth, and, to prevent water from getting into the lungs, the throat closes up, making it hard to breathe.
  • 'Secondary drowning' happens when water actually gets into the lungs which can also cause trouble breathing. 

The danger of both is that as the child has trouble breathing, less oxygen gets to the brain.

Now, keep in mind, this doesn't always happen because the child has swallowed a lot of water in large gulps, it could also happen when gets into the nose and mouth by simply splashing and playing around in the pool. 

ABC 7 talked to Dr. Richard Kang, of Dignity Health Northridge Hospital Medical Center, and asked him what kind of symptoms people should look for to identify if someone is suffering from either condition. He said to look for:

  • Coughing
  • Sleepiness/Extreme tiredness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea

Dr. Kang says if you recognize any of the symptoms above and the child has recently been swimming, seek medical attention. 

Recently, the Today Show talked about the danger of this, watch the video below for more information so you and your children can have a safe, fun summer. 

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