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Dry and Secondary Drowning

If you have a pool on your property, you and your residents need to be aware of dry and secondary drowning. This blog post provides tips on symptoms to look out for, prevention methods and what to do in the event of a dry or secondary drowning.

drowning prevention

If you just said "What?!", you're not alone. Dry drowning and secondary drowning, sometimes called "delayed" drowning, although rare, can occur hours after a person intakes a large amount of water into the lungs or survives an underwater drowning experience.

Dry drowning occurs when a person breathes in small amounts of water during a struggle, triggering their airway to spasm and close, making breathing difficult.

Secondary drowning occurs when a person’s lungs build up with fluid, called pulmonary edema, after a near drowning incident. The fluid build-up also causes difficulty breathing.

All dry or secondary drownings result in breathing trouble and brain injury, just the same as drowning in water does. If untreated, both dry and secondary drowning can be fatal, especially in children, most often when a child is put to bed after a near drowning incident.

Here are some tips to you should know about a dry or secondary drowning:

Symptoms

Both dry and secondary drownings have the same symptoms. These symptoms are not always easy to spot, especially in young children who may naturally be cranky or tired after a day in the sun and water.

Symptoms of a dry drowning usually occur right after any incident in the water, but with a secondary drowning, a person can be out of the water and walking around normally for hours before the signs become noticeable. These symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Gasping for air
  • Chest pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sudden changes in behavior, such as irritability

Treatment

If you think someone is exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a dry or secondary drowning, you should take them to the emergency room right away. Time is an extremely important factor in treating someone experiencing dry or secondary drowning.

Dry or secondary drowning can be treated with medical observation, oxygen or ventilation if needed. Most cases are not fatal IF treated in time.

Prevention

Practicing water safety is the most important thing you can do to prevent a dry or secondary drowning.

  • Always keep a close eye on inexperienced swimmers and small children near water.
  • Know the limitations of the swimmers in your group.
  • Make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim.
  • Only swim in areas that have lifeguards on duty.
  • Do not play too roughly while swimming.
  • Do not panic while in the water.
  • Learn CPR. 
  • Never swim alone!

In addition to the general guidelines above, if you have a swimming pool on your property make sure it is completely fenced in and has a secure gate to keep small children from wandering in alone.

Remember not to let your guard down just because the water is not deep. All types of drowning can occur in any depth of water including – bathtubs, small kiddie pools, ponds, buckets, dog bowls and even toilets. Wherever a small toddler can fit with water could possibly be a hazard to them.

Drowning remains a serious problem, especially for children, but with a little observation and supervision it can be prevented.

Are the pools on your properties fully equipped in case of an emergency? At Kings III, our focus is on helping our customers provide the absolute best care to their residents, while reducing company risk, liability and potentially costs, by providing full turnkey and best value help phone solutions with class-leading 24/7/365 emergency monitoring. More than that, with us, you'll know your property and your customers are in good hands.

For more information on dry drowning and secondary drowning, you can visit WebMD

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Dakota Thornton

Posted on July 9 2015

By Dakota Thornton, Business Development Coordinator Manager Kings III

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