Beware of dry drowning, especially in children! You can drown for hours after bathing

Where else to spend hot summer days than by the water. This is especially true for children who have nothing else to do during the holidays, so many of them wouldn’t even get out of the pool, pond or sea if their parents didn’t call them. But there is a danger lurking in the water that you may not even know about.

Even the people we contacted in the survey had no idea about the dry and secondary drowning. “I have to admit, I’m hearing about it for the first time, and it’s about 1020th thing that threatens a small child. We’ll probably be more careful in the bathtub,” one dad admitted. “It’s completely new to me,” another mother added.

“To tell you the truth, she’s been a couple of times. Nothing happened, she coughed it up,” said the woman, who had a little girl in a pram. “The question is whether it is possible to watch the child at all. When he learns to swim, it is probably impossible to avoid it at all,” he thinks.

Dry drowning

“Dry drowning is a reflex withdrawal of the vocal cords, which means that we cannot breathe. The difference is that we do not have enough oxygen, while in normal drowning we have water in our lungs,” said Daniel Vičan from the Water Rescue Service of the Czech Red Cross in Prague.

In order to drown “dry”, the child does not even have to bathe. All he has to do is get a drop of water into his lungs, which irritates his vocal cords, and then his throat contracts. This prevents water from getting into the lungs, but at the same time it closes the airways and a person does not have enough oxygen.

Secondary drowning

If the child drowns but is saved, it might seem that nothing can happen anymore. But the opposite is true. “Secondary heating occurs when we are pulled out of the water, rescued, relatively cool. It takes about five hours, sometimes longer,” Vičan explained.

The consequences of heating can be delayed. “There may be swelling of the lungs, which means we stop breathing. It’s very complicated to know. The only right solution if we have a child who has drowned is to take him to a doctor for a check-up,” the paramedic recommended.

The main symptoms are shortness of breath and other breathing problems, cough, confusion, tiredness and bruising of the body. Secondary drowning can occur in both children and adults. According to Vičan, it also depends on whether a person drowned in salt or fresh water. But it is not so easy to prevent.

“There is no advice for that. Just pay attention to them, be with them all the time, watch them, check. If we are by the open water, it is good to have the right equipment, a lumbar swimming belt, we definitely do not recommend rings or sleeves,” added Vičan. .


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