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Two people administering CPR to a drowned boy near the pool

Any drowning event is scary, but what most people don’t realize is that the victim (especially a young swimmer) is still at risk of injuries even after they’ve been rescued and they’re out of the water. To understand why this happens, we need to explore the issues of dry drowning and secondary drowning.

What is Dry-Drowning?

Dry-drowning is not an official medical term but describes cases when water gets into the swimmer’s windpipe and causes the throat to close up. When this happens, symptoms are typically apparent immediately after the swimmer is rescued.

Symptoms of Dry-Drowning include:

  • Immediate coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue

If a recently-rescued swimmer experiences breathing difficulties, chest pain, or excessive coughing, they should be examined by a medical professional immediately.

What is Secondary Drowning?

This condition means water has entered the lungs and settled. This can cause lung irritation, breathing difficulties, or even pulmonary edema (fluid buildup in the lungs).

Pulmonary edema is significantly more serious than dry-drowning. If you suspect a drowned swimmer has inhaled a significant amount of water, call 9-1-1 immediately. Pulmonary edema is much more serious than dry drowning and requires immediate medical attention; it will not go away on its own.

Symptoms of Secondary Drowning include:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue

Secondary drowning is not as apparent as dry drowning. Symptoms are most evident after 24-hours, rather than immediately after the rescue. If a drowning victim shows any signs of respiratory distress, it’s crucial to monitor them closely and see a doctor as soon as possible.

If you or your child suffered a swimming injury, we are here for you. To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney from Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC, please call (888) 425-6070 or send us an email.