Dry And Secondary Drowning: Little Known Swimming Safety Risks

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Though relatively uncommon, it’s important to be aware of two types of health risks that may occur in the aftermath of a close call at the beach or pool.

“It is an unusual phenomenon,” Dr. Holly Phillips told “CBS This Morning.” “Basically there are two forms of out-of-water drowning. The first one is called dry drowning. That’s after maybe they’ve had a struggle in the pool, you’ve inhaled a little water. It creates irritation in your airway. That causes muscle spasms, so you start to choke and you have trouble breathing.”

Similarly, after a drowning incident, there can be a build up of fluid in the lungs, which may cause the person to have trouble breathing, a condition known as secondary drowning.

“It can happen up to 24 hours after you’re already out of the pool and what’s happened is you’ve inhaled some water,” explained Phillips. “Usually, again, it’s after a bit of a struggle and it irritates the lung tissue itself and causes inflammation of the lung tissue and starts to make fluid and creates something called pulmonary edema. So the lungs themselves create the fluid and you’re drowning even though you’re not in the water.”

See CBS News

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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