Know the signs and symptoms of drowning

Published Jul 2, 2014 at 5:35 am (Updated Jul 1, 2014 at 11:05 am)

What better way to cool off on a hot summer day than to take a dip in a pool, lake, river or ocean? Now that swimming season is here, so are the news reports of people of all ages drowning. And, if you are on social media, you have no doubt seen the news stories about secondary drowning, or dry drowning, which occurs between one and 24 hours after a struggle in the water.

According to WebMD, dry drowning happens when someone breathes in small amounts of water during a struggle, which triggers the muscles in their airway to spasm and fluid builds up in the lungs, making breathing difficult.

The phenomena is rare, occurring in only one to two percent of drownings. Symptoms include trouble breathing, chest pain, cough, sudden fatigue and/or sudden changes in behavior. If left untreated, this could be fatal.

Another thing about drowning that most people don’t realize is that it doesn’t necessarily happen with a violent or loud struggle – it can be silent, and it can certainly be quick. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children under 5.

Water safety is the number one way to prevent any drowning incident, and that includes diligent supervision of children around water. Knowing CPR is another way to prevent a tragedy. And, in the case of dry or secondary drowning, knowledge is key. These stories are terrifying for any parent, but because of them, parents will know what to watch out for and lives can be saved.

Wear life jackets on the water, limit alcohol consumption if you are swimming or boating, and of course, make sure you and your children, grandchildren, et cetera, know how to swim.

Be safe this Fourth of July, on vacation and while relaxing at the pool for the rest of the summer.

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