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Scary Summer Threat: What Is Secondary Drowning?

Peter Macdiarmid, Getty Images

With summer here and everyone headed to the lakes and pools, this may be important to know.I know all of you parents out there keep a close eye on the little ones when they are near water.  But did you know that if your child inhales a little bit of fluid, it can be very serious?

 

I first heard about secondary drowning when I was in the military.  Part of being in the US Navy, we were required to jump off a 20 foot board and swim 100 yards.  Part of our training was about Secondary Drowning.

We all know what a person drowning is, they go underwater and lose consciousness.  Did you know, that even though you (or your little one) may have only inhaled a little bit of water and got out of the water just fine, you still may not be out of the woods?

 

Secondary drowning happens when a little bit of water acts as an irritant in the lungs.  This will cause your body to produce more fluids in the lungs, and a person can literally drown in their own fluids within hours of accidental inhalation.

 

This can be be anywhere from just an hour or up to 72 hours later that this occurs.
So if your child ends up inhaling a little bit of water the best thing you can do is keep a close eye on them.  Some of the symptoms include: Loss of energy, continual cough, discolored lips, shift in normal demeanor, or changes in breathing.

When in doubt, a doctor is just a phone call away.

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