Summer time is here! One of the most exciting times of the year…for the kids of course. And with this Texas heat comes the good old swimming pool to cool the kids down. But there is a potentially fatal yet rare condition that is affecting our children in the water. Have you ever heard of “dry drowning”? Yes, it is possible.
According to 9NEWS Denver, a father from Colorado was able to recognize the symptoms his son was experiencing before this condition became fatal. Garon Vega, a father of 2 year old boy Gio Vega, reported that Gio complained of having head pain after swallowing a small amount of water while swimming. Gio’s head pain eventually developed a fever that continued throughout the day. That is when Garon performed an internet search of his son’s symptoms and came across the heartbreaking story of Frankie Delgado. Delgado, a toddler from Texas City tragically died from a rare condition caused by “dry drowning” or “secondary drowning”.
According to Parents Magazine, dry drowning can be caused by taking in a small amount of water through your nose and/or mouth, and it causes a spasm in the airway, causing it to close up. In secondary drowning, the little bit of water gets into the lungs and causes inflammation or swelling that makes it difficult or impossible for the body to transfer oxygen to carbon dioxide and vice versa. Dry drowning usually happens soon after exiting the water, but with secondary drowning, there can be a delay of up to 24 hours before the person shows signs of distress. Both can cause trouble breathing and, in worst-case scenarios, death. Although this can happen to anyone, this condition is mostly seen in children.
After reading the story of Frankie Delgado, Vegas immediately took his son Gio to the emergency room where it was discovered that Gio had a significant amount of fluid in his lungs. The Vegas were thankful to the Texas family for sharing the story of their son Frankie Delgado. A story that saved the life of Gio Vega.
There are many symptoms to be aware of after a child has gone swimming. They include: coughing, head pain, fever, sudden fatigue, change in behavior, throwing up, or forgetfulness. If you suspect that your child may be suffering from dry drowning or secondary drowning contact your pediatrician right away for advice. He/she may advise you to go straight to the emergency room. But if your child is struggling to breathe or you suspect that his conditions are too persistent, head straight to ER as soon as possible.
Prevention of dry drowning and secondary drowning is the key to swimming safely. Use safety floatation devices for children while on boats, monitor children around water and be sure to follow all pool rules, never leave standing water were it is easily accessible to children, pay close attention to your children after swimming, and consider swimming lessons for your children. Kids who are skilled and comfortable at swimming are less likely to take water in or go under. Many cities provide opportunities for free or low cost swimming lessons. Below is a list of websites where you can find more information on these opportunities. Have fun this summer and remember to look out for signs of “Dry Drowning” and “secondary drowning”.
Free or Low Cost Swimming Lessons by city. Click on your city for more information: