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Thursday, June 05, 2008

As We Go Into Summer, Beware of "Dry Drowning"

You think as a parent you would have heard it all but I had never heard of "dry drowning" until I read this article. It comes from the Today show. I thought since we are all about done at school and headed off to our summer pursuits, I'd put it out there. From the article:

"According to the Centers for Disease Control, some 3,600 people drowned in 2005, the most recent year for which there are statistics. Some 10 to 15 percent of those deaths was classified as “dry drowning,” which can occur up to 24 hours after a small amount of water gets into the lungs. In children, that can happen during a bath."

"Dr. Rauch said that the phenomenon of dry drowning is not completely understood. But medical researchers say that in some people, a small amount of inhaled water can have a delayed-reaction effect.

“It can take a while for the process to occur and to set in and cause difficulties,” Rauch said. “Because it is a lung process, difficulty breathing is the first sign that you would be worried about.”

The second sign is extreme fatigue, which isn’t always easy to spot. “It’s very difficult to tell when your child is abnormally tired versus normal tired after a hot day and running around in the pool,” Rauch said. “The job of the lungs is to get oxygen into the blood and your brain needs oxygen to keep working, so when your brain isn’t getting oxygen, it can start doing funny things. One of them is becoming excessively tired, losing consciousness and the inability to be aroused appropriately.”

Finally, there are changes in behavior, Rauch said — another tough call when dealing with very small children, whose moods and behavior can change from one minute to the next.

“Another response of the brain to not getting oxygen is to do different things,” Rauch explained, saying parents should be concerned “if your child’s abnormally cranky, abnormally combative — any dramatic change from their normal pattern.”

Something to put on your radar.

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