May 22, 2015

Summer is coming, be informed! What is 'secondary drowning?'

Last year I wrote a blog about the importance of knowing what secondary drowning is. I'm going to be writing about that again. I want to warn parents out there since Summer fastly approaching, children will be spending a lot of their time swimming. A lot of you still may not know or understand what 'secondary drowning' is. It is a phenomenon most haven't heard about but it can lead to some serious health problems or even 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.

It does not take a pool full of water for a person to drown. In fact all it takes is just tablespoon in your lungs for it to be deadly. You could be out of the pool for hours before you even start to notice the symptoms. So please be aware. Symptoms include 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 the reason why near drownings often go unreported and lead to death.

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