Drowning Can Occur Hours After Swimming

From Drugs.com - July 31, 2017

Drowning Can Occur Hours After Swimming

MONDAY, July 31, 2017 -- While it happens rarely, a person can drown on dry land hours after having been in the water.

There are two types of such drowning, dry drowning and secondary drowning, explained Dr. Jessica Lanerie, an associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine.

"These are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are very different," she said in a school news release.

"Dry drowning typically happens minutes after submersion, when water reaches the vocal cords and causes them to spasm, which blocks off the airway. Secondary drowning is what we have been seeing a lot more in the news, and that happens within 24 hours after leaving the water," she added.

In secondary drowning, water gets into the lungs and remains there for several hours, triggering inflammation that can lead to blockage of the lower airways and difficulty breathing.

Secondary drowning is extremely rare, and is more common in children than adults. Signs of secondary drowning in someone who was been submerged or accidentally swallowed water include: fast breathing; trouble breathing; vomiting; lethargy; exhaustion, lack of energy; frequent urge to sleep; and a lack of desire to eat or drink.


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