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Friday, September 5, 2008


Dry/Secondary Drowning

There are an interesting article that was email to me today about a dry drowning that happened in South Carolina. This first was a VERY alarming article to read since Little Man always jumps in the pool and occasionally chokes on some water. After reading this article I started doing some research on the topic of dry drowning and though I found out this article did not completely happen by dry drowning this is still an issue parents need to know about.

Here is the original news story.

Here is the scoop from Snopes:

So dry drowning is a real thing that could happen and is defined as "water or other foreign bodies are inhaled, laryngospasm occurs and the person's larynx spasms shut. As a result, the vacuum created by the diaphragm cannot be filled by the inrush of air into the lungs, and the vacuum persists. In an attempt to force air in through the spasmed larynx, the person may breathe deeper and with more effort, but this only increases the vacuum's force inside the chest. The obstruction to the inflow of oxygen causes hypoxia, and the obstruction to the outflow of carbon dioxide causes acidosis, both resulting in death." (wikipedia)

However a more common problem we should be keeping an eye out for which was the case with this boy is secondary drowning which is defined as "Secondary drowning is a condition where water, or other fluids, has entered the lungs but the person may be conscious and not fully aware of what has occurred. This also sometimes happens with a near drowning victim. That is, prior to being pulled out of the water they inhale fluid into their lungs.

The general warning signs for secondary drowning include: coughing; trouble breathing; pain in the lungs or chest especially when taking a deep breath; and a feeling of swallowing or inhaling water." (

According to a spokesman for American College of Emergency Physicians, "Johnny would have only had to inhale four ounces of water to drown, and even less to injure his lung enough to become a victim of secondary drowning."


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