Decades ago, the medical community largely abandoned the term, after doctors developed a better understanding of breathing capacity and drowning injuries. Today, some people occasionally use "dry drowning" to describe cases in which liquid makes the voice box spasm and shut, reducing breathing and other vital functions. This article will discuss the symptoms and causes of dry drowning and explain when to seek medical attention. Dry drowning once referred to instances in which a person died more than 24 hours after swallowing or inhaling liquid but showed no signs of breathing trouble. At present, the medical community has not agreed on a term to replace dry drowning. Some groups use "post-immersion syndrome" or, less commonly, "delayed drowning.
What to know about 'dry drowning' after 4-year-old's incident
Dry drowning vs. secondary drowning: Here's the difference
With summer swim season beginning, tales appear on Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, typically involving a child who was rescued from the water, or gulped down a mouthful, and then stops breathing hours — or even days — later. But the misconception is that these children showed no symptoms between the time they left the water and when their parents noticed breathing distress, Wernicki said. It leads parents to worry that even if their child seems OK and is breathing normally, they could still be in danger. In some of these incidents, the child contracted aspiration pneumonia — an infection that develops from water trapped in the lungs. Despite education campaigns to that effect, the misconception remains. Typically, the body takes care of water in the airway by coughing it out, he said. Then, the symptoms subside.
Get the Facts about Dry Drowning. Signs of Secondary Drowning
Seth C. However, it is not synonymous with death: it can be interrupted. Patients who have been rescued from drowning and who have minimal symptoms generally get better within 4 to 8 hours of the event. Rescued victims should be warned that, although a rare condition, if they develop cough, breathlessness, or any other worrisome symptom within 8 hours of being in the water, they should seek medical attention immediately.
In the majority of cases, the risk of fatal drowning ends when a child leaves the water. But in rare instances, breathing problems can occur after a youngster has been submerged and rescued. We explore the signs parents need to watch out for. However, Bugembe points out that, recently, there has been a move by medical professionals to stop using these terms because they can create ambiguity that may compromise the care a child receives. Indeed, following a WHO report , there is consensus that the terms 'wet', 'dry', 'active', 'passive', 'silent', and 'secondary' drowning should no longer be used.