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Dry Drowning…Who Knew?

It’s summertime and most of us, especially those of us living in Florida or along the coast, will probably be spending a considerable amount of time in, near or around the beach or pool…anything to keep us cool. During this season, we are cautioned and given tips on how to prevent one of the single most tragedies that occur during this time, especially concerning our children – drowning.

When we hear the word drowning, we automatically associate it with the respiratory failure or impairment due to extended times submerged in bodies of water or fluid, but this is not so with dry drowning. Dry drowning can occur hours and even days after a drowning incident or submersion in water. After a drowning episode, one may appear to be physically healthy and stable, but the coming hours and days are the most crucial to be attentive to.

Dry drowning is also referred to as aspiration or secondary drowning. Dry drowning “occurs when someone inhales water into their lungs but isn't affected until after the person has left the water they were swimming in. This causes the heart to slow and lungs to swell as the swimmer's blood oxygen level drops. This can lead to” cardiac arrest.” [2] "In water aspiration, especially in salt water. When you get salt water in your lungs it draws fluid from other parts of your body to the lungs causing what its referred to as pulmonary adenoma or water in the lungs, which makes the oxygen, carbon dioxide exchange, which helps you breathe. It's altered and patients become hypoxic and can come across serious health complications further down the line after the water rescue," Perlaky explained.” [1]

Delayed symptoms may cause many to disassociate them with drowning episode, but it is better to be safe and visit a medical professional if you or a loved one experiences any of the symptoms below following submersion in water or a drowning episode.

Symptoms include:

  • Nausea

  • Systematic movements

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Vomiting

  • General lethargy

  • Trouble breathing

  • A genial sense of malaise

  • Discoloration of the skin due to lack of oxygen, carbon dioxin exchange

To date, there has already been 3 reported cases of dry drowning, one case being fatal.

[1] http://www.wjhg.com/content/news/Identifying-dry-drowning--428286593.html

[2] http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/13/health/dry-drowning-colorado-trnd/index.html

[3] http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/06/12/colorado-dad-recognizes-dry-drowning-symptoms-in-son-after-reading-texas-boys-story.html

[4] http://www.channel3000.com/news/what-parents-need-to-know-to-prevent-dry-drowning/541856329

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