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Dry Drowning: Protecting Your Child From this Swimming Hazard

May 31, 2022
Dry Drowning: Protecting Your Child From this Swimming Hazard -

It’s a swimming hazard that you don’t hear much about but it’s one that should be talked about more as we enter swimming season. While it’s important for children to practice water safety to avoid accidents, it’s also important to know the signs of a not well-known hazard called dry drowning.

If you have never heard of it, it’s OK as it’s something that isn’t mentioned very much. However, dry drowning is very real and, while very rare, can still be detrimental to a child. As part of our San Antonio pediatric services, we want to educate and inform parents of this hazard, what signs to look out for, and what you should do in the event your child is experiencing dry drowning.

What is Dry Drowning?

There are actually a few types of post-immersion syndromes: near-drowning, secondary drawing, dry drowning, and standard drowning. “Dry drowning” is not a coined medical term which is one reason why you may not have heard of it. The term refers to certain symptoms that are associated with being submerged in a body of water.

Dry drowning occurs when the inhalation of a small amount of water triggers a spasm of the vocal cords and airways, causing them to become more narrow, even closing them off. When this happens, it can be difficult for the child to breathe which can result in a dry drowning case. It can happen fairly quickly as dry drowning can set in less than an hour following the small inhalation of water. 

Dry drowning may not be very common but it is possible so, if you believe your child may have inhaled water while swimming, it’s important to monitor them for at least 48 hours to determine if they’re in need of our San Antonio pediatric services.

When a Visit to Their San Antonio Pediatrician is Necessary

While there’s a good chance your child may never experience dry drowning, it’s important to know what symptoms to look for, especially if they’re active swimmers. The first thing you want to look out for is if they’re having trouble breathing or speaking and if this is accompanied by a cough. This combination is actually the primary symptom of dry drowning and could warrant the immediate need of San Antonio pediatric clinic such as Parsi Pediatrics.

If they’re experiencing this first symptom but you’re still unsure, vomiting is another cause for concern as well as chest pain which is caused by the pressure building in their lungs. Headaches and a change in their behavior such as agitation or sleepiness are other symptoms that may call for the help of our San Antonio pediatric services.

What To Do Next

Within an hour of water inhalation, dry drowning symptoms will develop. If your child does begin experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical assistance immediately. It’s also imperative that you keep your child as calm as possible to ensure they do not panic which can contribute to chest and muscle tightness. A San Antonio pediatrics team will be able to administer dry drowning treatment immediately as well as transport your child to a local hospital if necessary.

While uncommon, it’s still important to know about the dangers of dry drowning, especially now that we have officially entered swimming season. Our San Antonio pediatricians are always available to answer any questions you may have about this hazard or any other questions pertaining to the safety and well-being of your child. Contact us today at 210.561.1551 to learn more about our pediatric services or to schedule an appointment.


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