Dry and secondary drowning: Hidden threats for swimmers

Dry and secondary drowning are potentially tragic medical emergencies that can occur even after a swimmer has left the water.

While symptoms of dry drowning typically occur right after a water incident, secondary drowning symptoms can appear hours after a near-drowning experience.

If your child has recently had a near-drowning experience or inhaled a large amount of water, doctors suggest watching them for the following signs:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Coughing
  • Sleepiness or a drop in energy level
  • Irritability
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting


Be attentive to changes in behavior, which in some cases may appear as if the child is tired from a long day of swimming.

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