Doctor Explains How Drowning Can Occur When You're Not In Water

"Drowning can happen anywhere, and any place, and to anyone."

Children may still be at risk of drowning hours after leaving the water, according to pediatric emergency medicine expert Dr. Katherine Leaming-Van Zandt.

Leaming-Van Zandt explained to HuffPost Rise that “secondary drowning” occurs after a person gets out of water but still has water in their respiratory system.

“With secondary drowning, the person has actually aspirated water into the lungs,” she said. “Lung injury and inflammation can therefore ensue and cause breathing problems.”

The symptoms of secondary drowning include: changes in coughing, breathing, vomiting, inability to drink fluids or changes in behavior, Leaming-Van Zandt explained.

“Without a significant event, sometimes it’s hard to tell whether or not a child has aspirated water,” she said. “But if they ever develop breathing problems or they appear extremely ill, I would consider these red flags for speaking with your pediatrician or seeking medical care.”

In the video above, watch Dr. Leaming-Van Zandt explain how to recognize secondary drowning.

This video was produced by Brittany Berkowitz.

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