Pool Safety: What You Should Know About Secondary Drowning

Image taken from http://923bobfm.com/which-sedalia-pool-do-you-prefer/

Image taken from http://923bobfm.com/which-sedalia-pool-do-you-prefer/


With Memorial Day coming, it not only means the return of summer soon but also the reopening of pools everywhere….good times!  BUT….there are certain precautions that need to be taken ESPECIALLY as it relates to young children who are eager to jump into the oh-so-inviting swimming pools.  We all know what drowning is but how many of you know about secondary drowning?  Apparently, not enough of us do…and it could mean life or death.

Secondary drowning often occurs later after the person was immersed in water and water was left in the lungs.  For example, a person may have been immersed in water earlier in the day taking water into the lungs but appeared to recover OK afterwards.  But later in the day, that person may have started to show signs of respiratory distress. This is how secondary drowning generally occurs and a person suffering from it can start to show signs anywhere from one (1) to forty eight (48) hours later.  Based on the National Center for Biotechnology Information government website, secondary drowning is defined as deterioration of pulmonary function that follows deficient gas exchange due to loss or inactivation of surfactant.  Based on studies, secondary drowning is generally more likely to be fatal in those who were immersed in salt water versus those in fresh water.  But in either case, it can still be fatal.

There are simple things you can do to prevent secondary drowning such as learning to swim and/or staying within a pool depth that you are comfortable with.  You should also be aware of the signs of secondary drowning in the case that the person suffering from it needs medical attention.  Here are some signs I got from the Safety un-limited site:

  • Irritation or pain in the throat or chest
  • Coughing after taking a deep breath
  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Dizziness/altered level of consciousness
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

If a person who you know experienced a possible recent near-drowning incident shows any of these symptoms PLEASE take it seriously and get them medical attention as soon as possible.  Even if the person doesn’t show these symptoms he/she should still be monitored for the next 72 hours following the incident.

Stay safe and informed!


About Keke

I'm a wife, mother, IT career woman, MBA, fun, loving person who enjoys wearing multiple hats and living life to the fullest. I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and have been working in the field of technology for over a decade, which I enjoy very much. Additionally, I'm passionate about fitness and eating well so I'm always researching related topics and enjoy sharing this information with others. My blog merges the things I'm passionate about by turning these topics into what I hope you find are interesting blog posts. So glad you stopped by and hope to see you back here soon!

4 comments on “Pool Safety: What You Should Know About Secondary Drowning

  1. It’s really scary how many people don’t know about this! It can cause serious brain damage as well. And people often don’t realise that it takes only two inches of water to experience secondary drowning – that could be what’s left in the bath tub, or in a bucket.

    Always be careful with children and water!

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