What is Dry Drowning or Secondary Drowning

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Dry Drowning

Scribe:  N. Tru Bass

Email:  ntb@thethinkering.com


During summer months Ice cream, shorts, sunglasses and swimming are part of the social construct.   A four-year-old boy in Texas went swimming on Memorial Day weekend and died a week later due to dry drowning. 

The boy’s lungs were filled with fluid after swimming in the Texas City Dike with his family.  One week after the swimming trip the boy complained about shoulder pain and fell asleep and woke up a few hours later.   His father said during a report, “Out of nowhere, he just woke up. He said, ‘Ahhh,” he continued, “He took his last breath and I didn’t know what to do no more.”

Emergency workers attempted to save the boy but were unsuccessful.  Medical officials told the Houston, Texas family that the boy dry drowned and there was nothing that they could do.

Dry drowning happens when a person inhales water through the nose or mouth and the liquid gets into the lungs and irritates them causing additional fluid resulting in respiratory problems, brain damage or even death. 

Symptoms or death could occur hours even days after water is inhaled.  The phenomenon is also referred to as secondary drowning.  It’s a rare condition, but if you notice your child coughing al lot or starts to breath faster after he has choked or sputter after being in the water take him for help.  

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