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It’s summer time, so let’s talk about “dry drowning”

  • Posted on May 17, 2019

We need to demystify “dry drowning” – we need to remember that anything that “clutter’s up your Facebook feed you should really take with a grain of salt.

Children can only flail on the surface of the water for about 20 seconds, then this causes the epiglottis to spasm and then once the child goes under and they gulp in water. In order to drown – you have to swallow water. Your body is pretty smart and has a reflux to keep water out of the lungs. This can be compromised if you have a seizure or heart attack while swimming. Secondary drowning occurs when a person had some difficulty in the water and had to be pulled out – they did swallow some water, but seemed ok. This can cause some difficulty breathing hours after incident. Research shows this can occur 6-8 hours after the “near drowning” incident. They are breathing fast and working hard to breath, can hear rales. Secondary drowning does not occur 24+ hours after incident. Prevention of ANY type of drowning is KEY and child-proofing pool and making sure you know basic CPR is important. Also, designate at least one adult to be on “water watch” when kids are swimming, so that you aren’t distracted by others or your phone and not paying attention to what’s going on in the water!

Sarah Caudle, PA-C