After becoming a dad my stress levels have risen considerably. I’m always trying to stay aware so I can protect my nine-month old son. During the first three months of his life, I tried to keep all the sick (and healthy) people away from him since the doctor said that if he came down with a temperature above 101.3ºF (I think), he would need to go to the hospital.
Since then, I’ve read all kinds of articles on staying healthy and what to be on the lookout for. Among them was a heartbreaking news segment on TODAY about a four-year-old Texas boy. After getting knocked down by a wave while playing in the water a week earlier, he suddenly stopped breathing after having what seemed like a stomach bug. His father, Francisco Delgado Jr., called 911 but it was too late to save him. The doctors told them that the boy died of what the family has since referred to as “dry drowning.”
Well, I just read another story about how a father saved his son from dry drowning after swallowing water in a pool. The only reason the father was able to save the boy is that he’d heard about dry drowning a week earlier—from the incident with the Texas boy.
According to the CDC, “From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States—about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.”
Those numbers are terrifying, and the best way to prevent dry and secondary drowning is to teach children to swim. “Having the ability to breathe while swimming without gulping water helps prevent both dry and secondary drowning,” according to TODAY. Doctors also urge parents to pay attention to their children while swimming so they know if their children swallowed water.
According to Dr. Wassam Rahman, medical director of the emergency center at Johns Hopkin’s All Children’s Hospital, in an interview with HuffPost: “If a child develops a cough a couple of hours after swimming or submersion, or cannot catch his or her breath, something might be wrong. According to the American Osteopathic Association in that same story, “Chest pain, vomiting, irritability or a drop in energy in the hours after swallowing a large amount of water can also be signs of secondary drowning.
If you see any of these signs, get medical attention immediately since patient outcome gets worse with the progression of time, Dr. Rahman notes.
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