When a person falls into the water or otherwise experiences some type of issue while in the water, panic is a natural response. Panic can result in a person inhaling or gulping water. This can lead to drowning. With that noted, once a person is rescued most individuals assume that the danger has ended.
The reality is that in the aftermath of a near drowning incident, when a person has taken water into his or her body through the mouth or lungs, the muscles in an individual’s windpipe can become constrained or restricted to protect that person’s lungs. When this occurs, it oftentimes is referred to as “dry drowning.”
Dry drowning technically is not a medical term not a medical diagnosis. Nonetheless, it can prove to be a helpful term as it described the phenomenon of a person dying after a near drowning incident in a manner that is similar to losing one’s life while in the water.
Medically speaking, doctors call dry drowning “post-immersion syndrome.” Post-immersion syndrome or dry drowning is rare, but it nonetheless takes the lives of adults and children alike each year. Dry drowning most often occurs in children. And, most significantly, with proper care following a near drowning incident in the water, dry drowning is avoidable.
Dry Drowning and Children
As mentioned previously, dry drowning occurs most often with children who have accidentally fallen into the water or who have otherwise experienced an emergency in the water. Because of the potential for dry drowning, when a person is rescued from a near drowning incident in the water, it is important that he or she receive a prompt medical examination. A person who experiences a near drowning experience should be taken to the emergency room or to his or her primary care physician immediately.
People may need convincing that they need to seek medical attention following a near drowning experience. Although a remote possibility, you must keep in mind that dry drowning always is a possibility following an actual near drowning experience in water.
Mechanics of Dry Drowning
Dry drowning causes a person’s vocal cords to close in over that individual’s windpipe. This action is known medically as laryngospasm. The laryngospasm can be mild in many instances. When it is mild, it causes breathing to become difficult. If laryngospasm is severe, it can prevent any oxygen from getting in or out of a person’s lungs. In other words, laryngospasm can prove fatal.
Symptoms of Dry Drowning
Medically speaking, there are some common symptoms associated with dry drowning. These are:
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty breathing
- Other unusual behavior
- Chest pain
- Low energy after water incident
- Sleepiness after water incident
Medical experts advise:
If a person is having difficulty breathing, he or she may be unable to speak or express their symptoms. That’s why it’s important to monitor your child carefully after a water scare to make sure they’re breathing freely.
Emergency Treatment for Dry Drowning
There are steps that must be taken if dry drowning is expected. These are:
- As mentioned previously, if a person has some sort of near drowning experience, that individual should be checked out at the emergency department or by a primary care physician.
- If you recognize any of the symptoms of dry drowning, call 911 for emergency medical assistance without delay.
- If a person is experiencing laryngospasm, do your best to aid the person in calming down.
- Keeping calm or calming down assists a person’s windpipe muscles to relax more quickly.
- Emergency medical personnel will commence treatment immediately upon arrival.
- This treatment may include resuscitation if an individual has passed out due to oxygen deprivation.
- Once a person has been stabilized, he or she needs to be taken to the hospital.
- At the hospital, a person is likely to have a chest X-ray taken.
- An individual who may have experienced dry drowning will also be evaluated by a pulmonary specialist at the hospital.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a drowning accident caused by someone else’s negligence, The Doan Law Firm is here for you. You can schedule an appointment with a Doan Law Firm drowning accident lawyer any time of the day or night by calling (800) 349-0000. There is never a charge for an initial consultation with a Doan Law Firm drowning accident lawyer. Indeed, our firm never charges a fee unless we win a favorable settlement or judgment for a client.