When a person falls into the water, it’s a normal reaction to take in water out of panic. Even after the person is rescued from the water, the danger is not always over.
If a person has taken in water through his or her mouth, then muscles in their windpipe might become constrained in order to protect the lungs. This is often called “dry drowning” and occurs in an hour or less of the incident. It is rare but does happen. This sometimes occurs in children.
It is very important to be aware if a person slips under water. He or she should be monitored to watch for drowning symptoms. If these symptoms occur, emergency treatment should be sought immediately.
Symptoms include difficulty breathing or speaking; chest pain; coughing; vomiting; irritability or unusual behavior; and low energy or sleepiness after the water incident has occurred.
Secondary drowning can occur up to 48 hours after the water incident and is caused by water that gathers in the lungs. The lungs fill with water and then causes breathing difficulties later.
Both dry drowning and secondary drowning can be fatal.
If symptoms of either are noticed, immediately dial 911.
For children 2 years old and younger, any water submersion is a serious risk. Even if a child has only been under the water for two minutes or less, they should be taken immediately to an emergency room to be checked.
-Supervise any child who is under 4 and in any form of water, including the bathtub.
-Passengers on any type of boat should wear a life jacket.
-Make sure pool gates are closed at all times.
-Don’t swim or play near the ocean if a lifeguard is not present.
-Take CPR classes to be prepared to respond to emergencies.
-Take swimming lessons so everyone in the family knows how to swim.