A child might seem perfectly fine after getting out of a pool, and then, unexpectedly, starts to have problem breathing minutes or hours later. In the worst-case scenario, death strikes.
The thought that a child could “drown” on dry land after having gulped down a bit of water while swimming terrifies parents after several recent cases of suspected ‘dry drowning’ or ‘secondary drowning’ in US made headlines in the western media.
You probably have not heard of these two terms, which are often used interchangeably to describe a very serious but little-known medical condition that’s hard to spot.
Anyway, the first case involving a child was tragic: Frankie Delgado, 4, died a week after swimming on June 3 in Texas. In St Louis, three such drownings claimed the lives of metro area teenagers, reported KSDK TV.
In Colorado, a father recognised the symptoms in his son and saved his life in the nick of time.
Usually, the term ‘dry drowning’ is used loosely to include ‘secondary drowning’ although both are actually different conditions.
Explaining the difference between the two, Mark R. Zonfrillo, M.D., MSCE, attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia told Parents website: Dry drowning usually happens soon after exiting the water, but with secondary drowning, there can be a delay of up to 24 hours before the person shows signs of distress.
But there’s an additional danger with dry drowning – it could lead to secondary drowning, a deadly condition that’s hard to identify if you don’t know what to look for, a medical director of the emergency centre at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital told HuffPost.
Here’s how parents can spot signs of dry drowning and how they can prevent it.