From riding the ocean waves to participating in chicken fights in the neighborhood pool, most kids will spend time playing in the water this summer. While all parents know about the dangers of drowning, you might be less familiar with what ‘secondary drowning’ is. Thankfully, secondary drownings are pretty rare, but they do happen. For peace of mind, you can avoid a potentially life threatening situation by learning about the symptoms of secondary drowning.
How Does Secondary Drowning Happen?
Dr. Jeffrey Beers, a board-certified ER doctor who serves at Hospitality Health ER in Galveston, Longview, and Tyler, TX, explains that secondary drowning happens when water gets into the lungs, causing inflammation several hours later. This typically happens to inexperienced swimmers—children mostly— when they ingest water into the lungs while swimming or being dunked under water. Horseplay in the water can also lead to this condition. The inflammation in the lungs keeps oxygen from getting to the blood and throughout the body.
What are the Signs of Secondary Drowning?
Symptoms may not show for many hours but when they do, they may include:
- Distressed breathing
- Chest pain
- Extreme or consistent coughing
- Extreme tiredness
To prevent secondary drowning, keep a close eye on your kids as they swim or play in water. Kids are naturally going to engage in horseplay, so you should closely monitor them to ensure they’re not ingesting water. Make them take breaks every 30 minutes or so, especially if they are very active in the water. If you suspect your child may be experiencing secondary drowning, get medical attention immediately.
If you’re visiting Galveston and need medical attention, walk in to Hospitality Health ER any time, any day. We are open 24-7 to provide top notch emergency care services.