The idea of secondary drowning can be terrifying. Most people think that the risk of drowning and the potentially devastating consequences that can occur ends when a person gets out of the water. This, however, is not necessarily the case. A rare condition referred to as secondary drowning can occur up to 24 hours after a person inhales water through their nose or mouth.
This can occur because a person falls into the water, is dunked or held under the water, or is hit in the face with a large amount of water, such as a wave. When the person inhales the water, it goes into the lungs and can lead to very serious inflammation and infection.
Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of secondary drowning is essential for getting your parent the medical attention they need to get through this frightening situation.
Some of the signs and symptoms of secondary drowning include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Marked drop in energy, or tiredness
If you notice any of these symptoms after your parent has experienced a water related incident, do not hesitate to get them emergency medical attention. The symptoms can arise up to 24 hours after the water incident, and can lead to very severe consequences. Be sure to inform the doctor that your parent was involved in a water incident, and describe it to them thoroughly.
This will allow them to determine if your parent’s symptoms are actually related to secondary drowning, or if they could be due to something else. It is particularly important to pay attention to a drop in energy level, as swimming can be very tiring so it may seem that your senior is just tired after their water activity. If they were involved in an incident that could have resulted in them inhaling water, and start to show signs of fatigue, get them the attention they need promptly.
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