Were you aware of the fact that drowning can still occur even days after the child has been swimming?
A rare occurrence but one that has had some casualties, “dry drowning” happens when the child inhales water while swimming, the signs of drowning appearing days later. Instead of reaching the lungs like it would normally do, the water causes the vocal chords to contract and spasm, making the youngster unable to breathe in oxygen properly, which could eventually cause death.
There is dry secondary drowning to fret as well, this dreaded scenario occurring when small amounts of water end up entering the lungs after a short period since last entering into contact with pool water. As the water builds up in the child’s lungs, it eventually causes damage to the internal organs. Another horrid scenario is that of pulmonary edema appearing, an issue which untreated is fatal.
As parents, you have enough to worry about with community pools being chlorine-filled and abounding in germs and bacteria which cause the youngsters to get sick. Even at home, without proper pool maintenance and water cleaning, your child could still be exposed to illness. The last thing you want on your mind is to worry about the small one drowning days after swimming, but it is an occurrence which you must be prepare for and take proper action.
Medical professionals advise parents to keep a close eye on the kids when they are swimming, regardless if they’re at home, swimming in the pool set up in the backyard, or at a public pool where children could involuntarily swallow or aspirate water as others push them around. There are signs to watch out for even when the child gets out of the pool, signs which indicate a potential “dry drowning”.
Nurse Penny Hanusa describes the bizarre “dry drowning” as the moment when you “inhale through your mouth or your nose some water and you actually have a spasm in your throat.” As drowning is the second leading cause of injury or death in children aged 1 to 4, it is not a subject you should neglect at all, regardless of its form.
4-year-old from Florida saves at the last moment
One of the more recent and scary stories is that of the 4-year old girl from Florida who was swimming in the family’s pool while playing with a pool noodle. In an innocent game that would later have severe consequences, one of the family members jokingly blew in the noodle to shoot water back at her without realizing it would violently go down the child’s throat – the girl was squirting everyone, having fun, so they were innocently playing around.
Her mother didn’t realize until two days later what had actually happened, when the girl developed a high fever and her skin started turning purple. The parents then took the child immediately to the ER, where it was discovered that at one point, water had seeped into the girl’s lungs, causing a case of slow “dry drowning”. Fortunately for everyone involved, especially Elianna, the brave 4-year-old, this story had a happy ending as she recovered and is now back on her feet.
Clashing opinions – not all doctors agree on the matter
While some doctors advocate that “dry drowning” is a possible occurrence, others contradict the phenomenon, stating that “drowning is never dry”. It is a simple clash in what regards the term “drowning” and nothing more, those who oppose this phenomenon stating that they accept only three forms of drowning – drowning without injury, drowning with injury, and fatal drowning.
The fact that days later after the Frankie Delgado incident took place it was unveiled that the child was actually suffering from viral myocarditis, this being the reason for his sudden death, made disbelievers feel even more strongly about the fact that “dry drowning” isn’t actually a real thing. Still, even those who oppose it recognize the fact that, in rare cases, there are complications which occur as the child – or even adult – is swimming, complications that take a toll not right then but rather days later.
Regardless where you stand on the subject, one thing is clear – the past years have seen too many swimming related incidents in small children for you to afford to take any risks. Watch out for any possible type of danger when you take the kid swimming, and do your best to supervise the small one to make sure that no form of drowning will occur.
Advice from doctors regarding safety while swimming
If you are a parent, professionals advise you to make sure your child is properly geared up before entering the pool. This means that the youngster should be wearing swimming goggles or a mask with a breathing tube, mask which prevents the child from taking in water through the nostrils. Another precious piece of advice is to not actually let the child go inside the pool alone. Anything could happen in a split second, and if you are not there, next to the youngster, you cannot prevent serious injuries from happening.
Now let’s move on to the general safety measures that we must all follow, regardless of our age and experience with swimming. Obviously, pool water cleanliness should be one of your main concerns. If you don’t trust the cleanliness of the water at the community pool, it’s better to stop going there altogether – otherwise, you might end up with a nasty infection or who knows what type of disease. If you are a pool owner, however, you can take matters into your own hands and preserve the water and pool clean on your own.
A reckless behavior doctors strongly advocate against is swimming under the influence of alcohol or drugs. No matter how strong or experienced you are, the effects of pills and alcohol when you go underwater are life-threatening. Your judgment is impaired by the foreign substances in your body, and your coordination won’t be as great as it is normally, so you are more likely to get injured or even drown.
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