What is secondary drowning?

By admin
03 June 2014

Moms have enough to worry about without having to worry about their kids drowning without a drop of water nearby, right? Unfortunately secondary drowning is a life-threatening danger but if you know what to look out for, you could avoid potentially disastrous consequences.

Moms have enough to worry about without having to worry about their kids drowning without a drop of water nearby, right? Unfortunately secondary drowning is a life-threatening danger but if you know what to look out for, you could avoid potentially disastrous consequences.

Secondary drowning refers to a situation in which a small amount of inhaled fluid acts as an irritant, causing inflammation and fluid accumulation in the lung.

Usually it occurs when a child is swimming and swallows water. They’ll cough and splutter for a bit and parent think the danger is over but sometimes the fluid is already in the lungs. Death from secondary drowning can occur one to 24 hours after the liquid-swallowing incident and although it’s not common, several instances of death by secondary drowning have been reported.

Symptoms to look out for:

  • Vomiting or involuntary defecation.
  • Sudden changes in personality, such as agitation or extreme lethargy when lying flat.
  • Coughing, trouble with breathing (shallow breathing), sweaty skin and paleness or a blue/greyish tinge to the skin are signs the blood isn’t getting any oxygen.
  • Chest pain.

What to do if you suspect secondary drowning:

  • The most important thing is observation after an incident. Observe the child carefully as sometimes it’s only the speed of detection that can help save a child’s life.
  • If caught early, it can be treated; it’s treated by supplying oxygen. If you suspect your child has the above symptoms, call the emergency room or get them to a hospital. Secondary drowning is treated by inserting a breathing tube into their mouth so oxygen can be supplied to the lungs under pressure.

-Londiwe Dlomo

Sources: swimmersdaily.com, wisegeek.org, youbeauty.com, who.int, today.com, fox2now.com

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