Every summer, stories of dry drowning reappear in the news. This phenomenon occurs when a small amount of water gets into a person’s throat, which causes a spasm in the airway and closes it up.
Dry drowning is not to be confused with secondary drowning, in which a bit of water gets into the lungs. This leads to inflammation and swelling, making it hard for the person to breathe.
Signs of secondary drowning can take as long as 24 hours after swimming to appear.
Symptoms of both conditions include:
- Persistent coughing
- Breathing difficulty
- Forgetfulness or a change in behavior
To help prevent dry and secondary drowning, parents should always keep their children within arm’s reach while swimming.