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Posted: April 24, 2018

Mother takes to social media to warn others of dry drowning

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Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning Explained

By Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

SARASOTA, Fla. —

As warming weather is starting to creep in, more children will be hitting the pools sooner rather than later and parents may have forgotten about the condition called secondary drowning, or dry drowning.

One mom is thankful that she caught a news report last year that recently saved her daughter’s life.

Elianna was swimming at her grandparents’ home in Sarasota, Florida, earlier this month, WTSP reported. The whole family was in the pool having fun. 

“We were all just playing, taking the [swim] noodle and blowing water in each other’s faces, and then she just happened to put her mouth on it the same time someone else put their mouth on the other end, and it all went down,” Lacey Grace, Elianna’s mother, told WTSP.

>> Read more trending news 

Grace said that Lacey threw up the water and she thought all was OK.

But two days later, she came down with a fever, and two days after that she went to her doctor then to urgent care, WTSP reported.

It’s a good thing she did. 

“[We] went from there to the urgent care, which was about five minutes and in that five minutes, her skin turned purple. Her heart rate was through the roof. Her oxygen level was dropping. The doctor came right in and just said, ‘I don’t know where the nearest ER is’ because he’s new to the area, but he said, ‘You have to get to it right away,’” Grace told WTSP.

Grace had a feeling that her daughter was experiencing dry drowning. She had read an article about a boy in Texas, named Frankie, who died of secondary, or dry, drowning.

It happens when you inhale water and it gets into the lungs. 

>>Read: Children may face drowning danger 24 hours after hitting the pool

Elianna is on antibiotics and recovering from aspiration pneumonia. Grace also posted to Facebook to remind parents of the symptoms. Grace calls Frankie her angel, WTSP reported.

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Related

Doctors want to set the record straight on ‘dry drowning'

You’ve probably seen articles about “dry drowning” in your Facebook feeds, but the local medical community wants to set the record straight.

>> Read more trending news

You can find hundreds of articles online about “dry drowning,” especially after an incident last month where doctors say a 4-year-old in Texas died.

WSB-TV met Dr. Andrea Keyes, an emergency physician with Northside Hospital Cherokee, who said there’s a misconception about "dry drowning."

“The appropriate term is drowning,” Keyes said.

Keyes told Lucie concerns about children showing no symptoms at first and dying days after swimming have little to do with drowning.

“More commonly, it is going to be something more common -- a viral illness, or some sort of bronchitis, something along those lines,” she explained. 

According to doctors, “dry drowning” is not even an accepted medical term. 

Doctors say always remember the important things when you’re at the pool:

  • Never take your eye off your child.
  • For the young ones, always stay close to them and if your child does have some sort of episode after going under, parents will know if they need to go to the ER. 

“If they’re having significant difficulty with breathing, confusion, color changes or obvious signs of distress,” Keyes said. 

But the thousands of stories on Facebook and Google about “dry drowning” have spread misinformation and confusion in the community. 

“Have you ever heard of dry drowning? I have. Do you know what it is? It is when a child has gone swimming and gets too much water in the lungs,” insists Kenia Bernard, a mother Lucie spoke with at the Garden Hills. 

Like many parents, the “dry drowning” articles have made her concerned, but Keyes says the symptoms she’s described are just known as drowning. 

“When water enters the airway, there is difficulty with breathing, the airway then swells, and this causes a lack of oxygen to the rest of the body, which then can cause increased fluid in the lungs and around the heart, cause seizures, and then cause death,” she explained. 

WSB-TV asked Keyes to clarify a secondary cause. 

“More commonly, it is going to be something more common -- a viral illness, or some sort of bronchitis, something along those lines,” she said. 

The bottom line is always keep an eye on your kids around bodies of water and make sure they’re wearing appropriate lifesaving devices.

Children may face drowning danger 24 hours after hitting the pool

As summer vacation draws near, parents and children are heading to the pool.

 

Parents may know to guard against drownings in the pool, but there is also a risk hours after a child has been out of the water.

 

>> Read more trending stories

 

"A child could die 24 hours later after they have been in the water,” Barbara Byers of Canada’s Lifesaving Society told Global News. "The ones you have to keep an eye on are kids who go under, inhaling and coughing up water in the process. This can happen in a bathtub as well if the child goes face down in the water."

 

A Global News report has alerted parents for what to look for.

 

When a child inhales too much water, it can irritate their lungs and cause a buildup of fluid. The lungs may run out of air if too much liquid builds up.

 

"Drowning is silent," Byers said. "When fluid gets in the respiratory area, they can’t scream, they can’t shout."

 

Although Byers told Global News death from what was once called "dry drowning," but is now simply called drowning, is rare, parents can look for the following symptoms :

 
     
  • Difficulty breathing

  •  
  • Extreme and unusual tiredness

  •  
  • Abnormal behavior

  •  
  • Persistent coughing

  •  
  • Chest discomfort

  •  
 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, children ages 1 - 4 have the highest drowning rates in the United States. Among children ages 1 - 14, it is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, behind motor vehicle crashes.

 

Furthermore, parents should never leave children unattended in the water and if any of the above symptoms are observed, they should not be afraid to take them to a doctor, who may perform an X-ray and will listen for fluid in the lungs.

What parents need to know about 'dry' and 'secondary' drowning

On average, 10 people will die in the United States today as a result of drowning. 

The image most of us have of a drowning is one of a person flailing in deep water then going under and not coming back up. However, something many people may not know is that not all drownings happen while the person is in the water.

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here

To that end, water safety and medical experts are encouraging parents to think of drowning as a process and not an end result of being under water for too long. The prospect of a child drowning after leaving the pool or beach is one not many parents have considered. 

Here’s a quick look at two ways – dry drowning and secondary drowning – a person can drown hours after leaving the water.

What is "dry drowning?"

Dry drowning happens when water irritates the larynx (vocal chords), and the person has a severe inflammatory reaction to it. The reaction causes the vocal chords to spasm (laryngospasm reflex) and that causes them to close. The person then has trouble or cannot pass air into their lungs. Laryngospasm can cause something called neurogenic pulmonary edema which causes an increase in pressure in the lungs and heart, reducing the body's ability to get oxygen. Laryngospasm can be triggered by something as simple as droplets if water hitting the larynx. High-speed submersion, such as when you go down a water slide or jump from a high dive, can also cause the reaction.

How is it different from “secondary drowning?”

Secondary drowning happens when water gets into the lungs. It is usually a small amount of water, but it fills the air sacs of the lungs, causing pulmonary edema – or fluid in the lungs. With water in the air sacs, there is no room for air, so the person begins to drown. Secondary, or delayed drowning as it is sometimes called, can happen hours after inhaling the water.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of dry drowning and secondary drowning are similar and can be seen from between one hour to 24 hours after the incident. Usually sooner rather than later with dry drowning.

The symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Gasping
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling extremely tired
  • Lips or skin turning blue
  • Changes in behavior
  • A high-pitched breathing sound called stridor
  • Foam around the mouth – Anyone pulled from the water who is coughing or sputtering and has foam around their mouth needs emergency care immediately.

If a person who has been in water shows any of these symptoms, call 911 or get them to a hospital emergency room as soon as possible.

How is it treated?

It depends. Treatment can range from observation for a few hours,  to administering oxygen, to chest x-rays or more advanced medical support – intubation or use of a ventilator – in the most severe cases. (that is rare).

How do I prevent it?

Here are a few tips:

  • Obviously, watch your children when they are in and around water, any water. It takes only moments to take in enough water to cause drowning.
  • Make sure kids know how to swim and watch to make sure weak swimmers don’t go out beyond their abilities.
  • Don’t let kids get too tired in the water.
  • Encourage them to keep their mouths closed when going under water or when their faces are near the water.
  • Remember the symptoms. If you see any in your child, take him to the hospital.

How often does this happen?

Dry drownings and secondary drownings are rare. They account for between 1 and 2 percent of all drownings in the United States.

Sources: WebMD; healthychildren.org; livescience.com; clevelandclinic.org

Doctors: 4-year-old died of ‘dry drowning’

A 4-year-old Texas boy died a week later after swimming and doctors say it was the result of dry drowning.

>> Read more trending news 

According to KHOU, After the Delgado family went swimming near Galveston, Texas, their 4-year-old son, Frankie displayed symptoms that appeared to be a stomach bug.

>> RELATED: What parents need to know about 'dry' and 'secondary' drowning

Following several days of diarrhea and vomiting, Francisco Delgado Jr. dialed 911 after his son stopped breathing.

"Out of nowhere, he just woke up. He said ‘ahhh.’ He took his last breath and I didn't know what to do no more,” Delgado told KTRK.

His mother, Tara Delgado, said paramedics and doctors tried to save her son.

Francisco Delgado III, 4, passed away Saturday at East Houston Regional Hospital, according to KTRK

Doctors found fluid in Frankie’s lungs and around his heart, which they confirmed to be the result of ‘dry drowning.”

GoFundMe has been set up for the family.

What is ‘dry drowning?’

Dry drowning happens when water irritates the larynx (vocal chords), and the person has a severe inflammatory reaction to it. The reaction causes the vocal chords to spasm (laryngospasm reflex) and that causes them to close. The person then has trouble or cannot pass air into their lungs. Laryngospasm can cause something called neurogenic pulmonary edema which causes an increase in pressure in the lungs and heart, reducing the body's ability to get oxygen. Laryngospasm can be triggered by something as simple as droplets if water hitting the larynx. High-speed submersion, such as when you go down a water slide or jump from a high dive, can also cause the reaction.

Water safety and medical experts are encouraging parents to think of drowning as a process and not an end result of being under water for too long. The prospect of a child drowning after leaving the pool or beach is one not many parents have considered. 

On average, 10 people will die in the United States a day as a result of drowning. 

Read more about the symptoms “dry drowning” and how to prevent it here.

Doctors: 4-Year-Old Dies Of 'Dry Drowning'

Doctors: 4-Year-Old Dies Of 'Dry Drowning'

Dad recognizes 'dry drowning' symptoms in son after reading viral story

An alert father in Colorado was able to save his son’s life after he recognized the same symptoms of Frankie Delgado, the 4-year-old who died from ‘dry drowning’ last week in Texas.

>> Read more trending news 

Garon Vega noticed that his son Gio had trouble breathing and was running a fever after a swimming trip according to KTRK.

Gio was rushed to the hospital after Vega's wife told him about an article she had read about 4-year-old Frankie's death earlier in the week.

Vega told KTRK that the doctor told him that Gio would not have survived the night if he had not brought him in.

>>RELATED: What parents need to know about 'dry' and 'secondary' drowning

Vega credited Frankie Delgado’s parents in an interview with KTRK.

"I feel like I needed to reach out to the parents of little Frankie and tell them, I don't know how to word it, but their little boy saved our little boy's life. There was a purpose. It was an unfortunate thing that happened, but if I had not told my wife that he swallowed the water, and if she had not seen that article, I think we would've ended up dispelling it as a regular sickness."

Last week, Francisco Delgado III, 4, passed away Saturday at East Houston Regional Hospital, according to KTRK

Doctors found fluid in Frankie’s lungs and around his heart, which they confirmed to be the result of ‘dry drowning.”

>> (BACKGROUND) Doctors: Texas 4-year-old died of ‘dry drowning’

What is ‘dry drowning?’

Dry drowning happens when water irritates the larynx (vocal chords), and the person has a severe inflammatory reaction to it. The reaction causes the vocal chords to spasm (laryngospasm reflex) and that causes them to close. The person then has trouble or cannot pass air into their lungs. Laryngospasm can cause something called neurogenic pulmonary edema which causes an increase in pressure in the lungs and heart, reducing the body's ability to get oxygen. Laryngospasm can be triggered by something as simple as droplets if water hitting the larynx. High-speed submersion, such as when you go down a water slide or jump from a high dive, can also cause the reaction.

Water safety and medical experts are encouraging parents to think of drowning as a process and not an end result of being underwater for too long. The prospect of a child drowning after leaving the pool or beach is one not many parents have considered. 

On average, 10 people will die in the United States a day as a result of drowning. 

Read more about the symptoms “dry drowning” and how to prevent it here.

 

Dad Recognizes 'Dry Drowning' Symptoms In Son After Reading Viral Story

Dad Recognizes 'Dry Drowning' Symptoms In Son After Reading Viral Story

These tips will help parents recognize the signs of dry and secondary drowning

Every summer, stories of dry drowning reappear in the news. This phenomenon occurs when a small amount of water gets into a person’s throat, which causes a spasm in the airway and closes it up.

>> Read more trending news

Dry drowning is not to be confused with secondary drowning, in which a bit of water gets into the lungs. This leads to inflammation and swelling, making it hard for the person to breathe.

>> RELATED: Dad recognizes 'dry drowning' symptoms in son after reading viral story

Signs of secondary drowning can take as long as 24 hours after swimming to appear.

Symptoms of both conditions include:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Forgetfulness or a change in behavior
  • Sleepiness
  • Vomiting

To help prevent dry and secondary drowning, parents should always keep their children within arm’s reach while swimming.

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