With Summer here on Cape Cod it is important to practice #WaterSafety and be able to recognize the signs of Secondary Drowning! As parents, we never want to see anything happen to our wonderful children but with water sometimes we have limited control. We have covered some important topics before regarding Water Safety but it is important to focus on Secondary Drowning as this can occur anywhere from 1-24 hours after having being exposed, which means it can really sneak up on you if you do not know what to look for.
"Secondary Drowning (and near-drowning) is one of the post-immersion respiratory syndromes. It is defined as deterioration of pulmonary function that follows deficient gas exchange due to loss or inactivation of surfactant."
This basically means a person (children or an adult) inhales even a small gush of water (bath, pool, lake or ocean) it can irritate the lungs and cause swelling. Usually very little water is present in the lungs when secondary drowning occurs, but the small amount of liquid is enough to hinder the lungs ability to provide oxygen to the bloodstream.
The definition of secondary drowning is a matter of controversy and the term is probably inappropriate. Secondary drowning is a misnomer because victims who develop acute respiratory distress syndrome after drowning have not had a second submersion episode.
According to the WHO, "Drowning is the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid." This definition does not imply fatality, or even the necessity for medical treatment after removal of the cause, nor that any fluid necessarily enters the lungs." The WHO recommends though that this term not be used as really what is occurring is drowning, the term secondary can be misleading. But for lack of a better way to help people understand "Secondary Drowning" is the term used by the general public.
Secondary Drowning can happen after being at the beach, pond, pool or even the bathtub so it is important to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms as it just might help you save a life later!
The Pool Safely campaign and USA Swimming released statistics in June 2014 on drowning deaths in spas and pools in the U.S. According to their data there have already been 95 drowning deaths through May 31 in children under 14. Seventy-four of these deaths involved children under five. They do not track how many of these deaths were from secondary drowning.
"Dr. Paul Pepe, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said although this is an uncommon scenario it does happen. He said three or four hours later children who fall into a pool can develop pulmonary edema even if rushed to the emergency room immediately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not differentiate between drowning and secondary drowning, so statistics on how often the situation occurs are hard to find, although WebMD says it is probably on 1-2 percent of all drownings. However, according to Pepe, drowning is the number one cause of deaths among children under the age of five. He says it takes only “the blink of an eye” for a child to get water in their lungs that can cause drowning. He said that in secondary drowning, pool water can damage the lining of the lungs, essentially causing lung failure hours after the child is out of the pool." (Source)
See this recent news story for one mom who remembered the signs after seeing it on the news and then acted immediately to save her child's life!
6/27/2014 04:20:51 am
I've heard so much about secondary drowning lately. We have a pool in our housing complex, and we are there at least 4 times a week. I am even more diligent about paying attention to them AFTER we are done swimming, since hearing about this.
6/27/2014 02:22:55 pm
This is such a scary thing and it can happen at any age which is even more unsettling
6/27/2014 07:12:55 am
I was just talking with a friend who is diabetic and she was saying that one of her fears is having an episode of her blood sugar dropping while she is in the water swimming with her kids. So scary.
Robin (Masshole Mommy)
6/27/2014 07:18:50 am
This story was on WBZ this morning. Great reminder.
6/27/2014 07:26:14 am
This is the worst drowning ever. I had a friend loose her child by missing the signs. Great information that needs to be shared over and over.
6/27/2014 08:45:53 am
Secondary drowning is one of the scariest tragedies ever. It is so easy to miss the warning signs after pulling your child to safety and thinking they are just fine. I tell everyone to get their child checked out after "near misses" because you never know how much liquid got into the lungs.
Helene Cohen Bludman
6/27/2014 10:01:28 am
Wow, I had never heard of this before, but I'm glad to learn about it, especially this time of year.
6/27/2014 12:36:01 pm
I never heard of this. Thanks so much for sharing this important information.
6/27/2014 01:15:15 pm
I read an article about this the other day and I been freaking out all week since it's summer and my kids are like everyday in the pool
6/27/2014 02:27:43 pm
This has been in the news a lot lately. This type of awareness about drowning should be posted everywhere.
6/27/2014 03:16:24 pm
I have never heard of this before! This sounds really scary. I always thought drowning was not able to get up from the water and drowning. Thank you for educating!
6/27/2014 08:53:52 pm
I have just recently heard of this, thank you for the icle:)
6/28/2014 12:08:02 am
So so scary. I read a story yesterday about a nine month old who was brought to the ER due to spewing water from mouth and nose after a day at a pool. He was in a float and obviously took in a lot of water. SO SCARY how folks can rely on those floating devices for kids - water and kids is very scary. We're headed to the Cape tomorrow for some fun in Falmouth. Thanks for sharing these very important tips!
6/28/2014 04:16:47 am
This is important for everyone to know. I think this is so scary.
6/28/2014 04:39:33 am
This is all really great information especially since its summer and parents are out with their kids at pools etc. Thank you so much for sharing.
6/28/2014 08:18:22 am
This is so scary to me! I have read about it before but since I live in Florida and we are at a pool or at the beach a lot of the time, I think about it often. Thanks for getting the word out about this!
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