Parents urged to look out for signs of secondary drowning

Know the danger of secondary drowning

ABILENE, Texas - We are now in prime swimming season. Just about everyone is aware of the dangers of drowning and the need to protect weak swimmers.

But did you know the danger of drowning can linger well after you get out of the pool? It's called secondary drowning.

Stories, articles, and blog posts about secondary drowning have been circulating through social media. We wanted to know more so we talked to pediatrician, Dr. Hector Garcia-Marrero over at Abilene Regional Medical Center.

Garcia-Marrero explains secondary drowning happens after a near drowning experience, and either one of two things happens in the body.

"One of them is that the upper airway, the muscles you have up in your neck where you breathe, it can get swollen, and they can just react to that irritation from the water, close up and not let you breathe," Garcia-Marrero said. "The other one is a little bit of water seeps into your lungs and it just kind of sits there and it sucks more water from your body into your lungs, so slowly your lungs fill up with water."

Garcia-Marrero explains a possible secondary drowning can turn serious, and of course deadly, very quickly. It's the 24 hours after a near drowning that there is a risk for secondary drowning.

Here are the signs of a possible secondary drowning:

Trouble breathing
Chest pain
Shortness of breath
Extreme fatigue or lethargy
Sudden changes in behavior, or unusual mood change

If you witness these symptoms, it's important to go straight to an emergency room and see a doctor as soon as possible.

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