The Dangers of Dry Drowning

. June 2, 2017.

The terms “dry drowning” and “secondary drowning” have generated a lot of buzz in the news in recent years. But what exactly do they mean? With pool season in full swing, now is the time to learn about these conditions and what can be done to keep your family safe. April Lieb, certified physician assistant in pediatrics at Caughman Health Center, shares the symptoms parents should watch for and provides tips for prevention.

Know the symptoms

Both types of drowning occur after a submersion incident in water. Dry drowning involves taking in a small amount of water through the nose or mouth which leads to spasms in a person’s airway. In secondary drowning, the water gets into the lungs and can build up and cause breathing trouble. While they are rare conditions, both are equally dangerous and cause the same symptoms including:

  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Behavior changes such as irritability

If your child shows any of these symptoms following a water submersion incident, seek immediate medical help.

Prevention is key to safety

The most important thing parents can do is to prevent any type of drowning in the first place. Always watch your child in or around water of any type including bathtubs, ponds, toilets and small plastic swimming pools, and never let your child swim alone. By following prevention strategies and knowing what symptoms to look for, you will be better equipped to keep your little ones safe this summer.