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What is “Dry” Drowning?

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Getty Images

If your kid is going anywhere near water this summer, drowning is something you worry about. But you’re probably mostly thinking of traditional drowning, when you are submerged underwater. There’s another type of drowning- “dry” drowning.

And it’s more common than you may think-  according to the CDC, for every child that dies from drowning, another five go to the emergency room for nonfatal submersion injuries.

Dry drowning typically occurs from a near-drowning experience, or a kid ducking under water and choking on it. Unlike typical drowning, the throat doesn’t entirely open up to let all the water in. But it does open up enough for some water to get into the lungs. If this isn’t caught, it can cause memory loss, brain damage and even death.

With dry drowning, the lungs fill up with both water and your body’s fluids. This prevents oxygen flow, and can be deadly. Some symptoms of dry drowning are a cough, shortness of breath, a drop in energy, vomiting and irritability. If you or your child exhibits these symptoms after swimming, seek medical attention. The symptoms and potential outcome gets worse with time, but they can be treated.

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