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  • Writer's pictureFrankie C.


Updated: Aug 30, 2019

Dry drowning, what to look out for.

Health experts define drowning as trouble breathing after you get water into your air ways. You may have heard the term “Dry Drowning”, though not a medical term dry drowning is a rare but real complication you need to know about.

When dry drowning occurs, water never reaches the lungs. Instead, breathing in water causes your child’s vocal cords to spasm and close up. This causes the air ways to shut, making it hard to breathe. Symptoms may show up right away or within days, look out for coughing, chest pain, trouble breathing and feeling extremely tired. Your child may also have changes in behavior such as irritability or a significant drop in energy, this could mean they are not getting enough oxygen to their brain.

The link below is to a case in Texas where a 4-year-old died from dry drowning nearly a week after swimming.

The 4-year-old was experiencing symptoms of a stomach bug, including vomiting and diarrhea for several days. After about a week, he stopped breathing.

Some doctors avoid calling it “dry drowning” however, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t differentiate between “wet” and “dry” drowning. Drowning is defined as “the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid,” according to the CDC website.

The Delgados are now urging other parents to keep an eye out for their children, even after they’ve left the water and the swimsuit comes off.

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