Food for Thought: Dry and Secondary Drowning

May 19, 2023

Summer fun for children and families involves lots of outdoor activities with water sports being the most popular with people young and old.

Children are more at risk for “dry and secondary drowning”. Nearly everyone thinks the risk of drowning ends when their child leaves the water. Not so! According to Mark A. Mitchell, DO, an osteopathic emergency medicine physician from Chicago, danger can exist up to 24 hours after being out of the water.

Dr. Mitchell states that dry and secondary drowning can occur after inhaling water through the nose or mouth. This causes the water to trigger a spasm in the airway causing the airway to close and impact breathing.

According to Dr. Mitchell, symptoms of dry drowning usually occur right after a water incident, but symptoms of secondary drowning can appear hours later.

Watch for these warning signs:

· Trouble breathing

· Coughing

· Sleepiness or a drop in energy level

· Irritability

· Chest pain

· Vomiting

Although dry and secondary drowning are rare, treat this as a medical emergency if symptoms appear. Doctors can tell if the airways are blocked, if water is in the lungs, or if oxygen level is low. The doctor will be able to provide the best treatment.

To help prevent water-related injuries and emergencies, Dr. Mitchell encourages parents and caregivers to:

· Teach water safety, including no diving in shallow waters and only swimming in areas with lifeguards.

· Help your kids learn to swim as early as possible.

· Ensure pools are properly guarded.

· Warn teens of the risk of swimming under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

· Never let children swim alone. Be vigilant when watching them swim or play around large and small bodies of water such as plastic pools or bathtubs.

· Discourage rough play, such as head dunking, in and around water.

Dry and secondary drowning can be prevented. Always be attentive to sudden changes in behavior after your child has been in the water. Be safe and have fun in the water!

Double Chocolate Mocha Delight

1 box brownie mix

4 Tablespoons instant coffee

2 boxes white chocolate instant pudding

1 bag of toffee chips

1 8oz tub Cool Whip

1 3/4 cup milk

Bake brownies as directed and cool. Dissolve coffee in 1/4 cup hot water. Mix pudding and milk. Whisk until it thickens and add coffee, then fold in Cool Whip. Cut up brownies and make a layer. Then layer pudding mix