Warning for parents about “dry drowning”

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Dry drowning occurs when water is inhaled into the lungs. Death usually occurs outside of the water; it can happen within minutes or even days after the incident.

“It will damage the lungs cause it to have swelling and edema and maybe an infection,” says Dr. Richard Summers, Vice Chancellor of Research at UMMC. Other symptoms of dry drowning to look out for include fever, wheezing and even turning blue.

One of the most recent cases of dry drowning is out of Texas. Almost a week after a family trip Frankie Delgado stopped breathing. Doctors found fluid in his lungs and around his heart.

“When you get some water in your lungs significant enough that can cause either pneumonitis, chemical burn actually in your lung, from the pool water or in cases where it’s a river or ocean you might get bacteria in there.”

Dry drowning is one of the leading killers for children ages 1 to 14, according to the CDC. For parents, Dr. Summers say even if you suspect your child may be at risk, err on the side of caution and get your child examined immediately.

“If your child really did inhale a significant amount of water or stopped breathing or you think that they had an event where they thought they were near drowning it would be good to get them checked out; maybe a chest x-ray to see if there’s any water in their lungs that might cause problems later,” adds Dr. Summers.

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