It's a real risk: Inhaling water can cause a delayed and dangerous reaction in kids

March 1, 2017

Inhaling water can cause a delayed and dangerous reaction in kids

You may have heard of something called dry drowning or delayed drowning. While those aren't actual medical terms, they do describe an event that can be both unexpected and deadly, especially to kids, who are at high risk of drowning. Here are five things you need to know about dry drowning:

iStock-507397708.jpg1. This type of drowning can happen when even a small amount of water gets into a child's lungs. It can happen while a child is swimming, playing in shallow water or, even sometimes, taking a bath.

2. The warning signs can be subtle at first. A child may cough or sputter after inhaling some water but otherwise appear fine. However, water in the lungs can trigger a severe inflammatory reaction hours later that can be deadly if not treated.

3. A child needs immediate medical help if he or she vomits, coughs a lot, feels sick, gets unusually sleepy, or acts differently after swimming or playing in water.

4. A trip to the emergency department is also in order anytime a child goes under water and comes up struggling or loses and regains consciousness while in the water.

5. Swimming lessons can help lower the risk of drowning. But they don't make a child drown-proof. Which is why close supervision is always needed when kids are near or in water.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

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