Dry and Secondary Drowning: What Parents Need to Know
As Ronin's story illustrates, the symptoms of secondary drowning might be more subtle and understated than you would imagine. Here are some signs and symptoms to look for that indicate your child may be a victim of dry or secondary drowning:
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Shortness of breath; difficulty breathing, painful breathing, shallow breathing, rapid breathing
- Sudden change in energy level; extreme or unusual tiredness, lethargy
- Chest pain
- Sudden change in personality or behavior; mood change, slurred speech, urinary or bowel-control issues, coordination problems, changes in reasoning skills, perception, cognitive abilities
- Sweaty skin, abnormal lip or skin color (pale, gray, purple, blue tint)
- Swollen tongue
- High fever
- Raspy voice
- Nausea and vomiting, diarrhea
What to do if you suspect your child is suffering from dry or secondary drowning:
- Do not put your child down for a nap or to bed.
- Seek medical treatment immediately. Rush your child to the hospital emergency room or call 911 immediately for assisted transport.
Dry and secondary drowning can be treated with oxygen or ventilation at the hospital. However, time is a critically important factor in the effectiveness of treatment. It is imperative not to wait and monitor your child at home, but trust your instinct and seek immediate emergency medical care. Children who are asthmatic or have bronchial problems especially need to receive quick and comprehensive emergency medical care.