What every Parent should know: What is 'secondary drowning?'

June 18, 2014


This is not my usual "deal" or "coupon" post. I wanted to warn parents out there since Summer is here and children will spend a lot of time swimming. There have been many cases of secondary drowning. What is 'secondary drowning' you ask? It is a phenomenon most haven't heard about. But it can lead to serious health problems, including death. Secondary drowning occurs when people inhale water in their lungs and otherwise appear fine. Inhaled fluid can act as an irritant inside the lungs. Physiological responses to even small quantities include the extrusion of liquid into the lungs (pulmonary edema) over the following hours, but this reduces the ability to exchange air and can lead to a person "drowning in their own body fluid." Certain poisonous vapors or gases (as for example in chemical warfare), or vomit can have a similar effect. The reaction can take place up to 72 hours after a near drowning incident, and may lead to a serious condition or death.
"Experts are estimating for every one drowning, we have 600 near drownings" says Dr. Shawna Murphy, of Lehigh Valley Health Network. 
Experts also say it doesn't take a pool full of water to drown. In fact, just one tablespoon of water in your lungs could be deadly. You could be long gone from the pool--minutes, even hours, could pass before you even notice a symptom. They can have wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing frequently. Other symptoms include chest pain, fever and mood changes. All symptoms could appear anywhere from one to 24 hours after the initial incident. Drowning is the #3 cause of accidental death in the United States. The symptoms themselves may not seem like a reason to rush to the emergency room, hence why near drownings often go unreported.

For more information on how to prevent drowning, head over here!

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