In the quest to understand the many ways bodies react to the world around people, they sometimes encounter terms that are both puzzling and alarming. One such term is “dry drowning.” While the name might sound strange, it is a serious condition that requires immediate attention and understanding.
Dry drowning, also known as secondary or delayed drowning, is a type of drowning that can occur hours or even days after a person has been in the water. It happens when water enters the lungs, causing inflammation and swelling that can lead to difficulty breathing. Cedars-Sinai reports that roughly 1,000 children die from drowning every year, including dry drowning, so you need to understand what it is, so you can help prevent it.
Recognizing the symptoms
Recognizing the symptoms of dry drowning can be life-saving. While it might seem like you or your loved one is perfectly fine after a near-drowning incident or even a fun-filled day at the pool, it is important to keep a close eye on any changes in behavior or physical condition. If you notice symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, fatigue, coughing or changes in color around the lips, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
Understanding the causes
Dry drowning typically happens after a person inhales water through the nose or mouth. It can occur even if the person only inhales a small amount of water. This can cause the vocal cords to spasm and close up, making it hard to breathe. The inhaled water can also reach the lungs, causing them to become irritated and start swelling, which can also result in breathing difficulties.
Preventing dry drowning
Preventing dry drowning starts with taking basic water safety precautions. Always supervise children around water, teach them how to swim and enforce rules regarding water safety.
Responding to dry drowning
When you suspect dry drowning, it is essential to act fast. Call for medical help immediately. While waiting for medical personnel to arrive, remain calm and try to comfort the person affected.
Dry drowning may not be a common occurrence, but it is a serious condition that can have life-threatening consequences and knowing how to respond can save a life. Remember, when it comes to water safety, it is always better to be safe than sorry.