Many people have not heard of and are surprised to hear of DRY DROWNING. Dry drowning is when a person's lungs become unable to extract oxygen from the air due to taking in water into their lungs at an earlier time. Dry drowning can occur due to other reasons also but this article will focus on that due to exposure to water when swimming. Children have been known to die due to dry drowning up to 24 hours after receiving water into their system. Symptoms of dry or what some may call "delayed" drowning are fatigue, lethargy, coughing, paleness, pain in the chest and trouble breathing.
If you see these symptoms occur in a child or individual shortly after they have played or swam in water, you must keep a close eye on them. Dry drowning can occur between one to 24 hours after being in water. A person can even appear to be drowning while swimming, be pulled to safety and "seem to be okay" and then dry drown later.
Risk factors for dry drowning include individuals who are not strong swimmers or rarely exposed to water, or people with underlying lung problems such as asthma. To prevent incidents while in the water, never leave these types of individuals unsupervised.
If a child who's been swimming continues to cough or complain of pain in their chest LONG after being exposed to the water, take them to the hospital where they can be treated. Remember, many of us swallow a little water while swimming, cough and then recover and are okay. It's when the coughing PERSISTS for a time, that an individual may be in danger. A hospital or emergency room will be able to treat a dry drowning victim by supplying oxygen to the lungs and getting the breathing process restarted.
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