Secondary Drowning

A person can drown even after exiting the water in a rare occurrence called secondary drowning. It is important to know the signs of secondary drowning so you can seek help for someone you love as quickly as possible.

“Secondary drowning occurs when fluid builds up in the lungs, causing trouble breathing,” says Jean Diemer, MD, FAAP, pediatrician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “This can happen after a person has had a close call and struggled in the water, swallowing a significant amount of water.”

Diemer_JeanMDWatch for the signs of secondary drowning such as trouble breathing, persistent coughing, sudden change in behavior and extreme fatigue.

“Secondary drowning can occur hours after you leave the pool,” says Diemer. “If you have been swimming with someone who nearly drowned, you should watch them carefully for the rest of the day and contact their physician.”

For more information, call 573-331-3996.

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