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Parents Warned About Dry Drowning Risks

Armen Hareyan's picture

In the past two days there has been two reports of Dry Drowning cases with very sad endings and parents with child care providers are warned to be watchful for the risks of dry drowning particularly during summer when unfortunately drowning cases are on the rise.

There is disturbing story about an unusual drowning case in South Carolina. A 10-year old child drowned near Charleston last weekend. Experts say that about 10 to 15 percent of drowning victims experience what is called "dry drowning," caused by an involuntary laryngospasm reflex. There is another report of Dry Drowning coming from Missouri.

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"In medical terms, drowning is death by suffocation from submersion. In the aquatics profession we look to the national training agencies for a definition. The YMCA of the United States defines drowning as "asphyxiation due to blockage of the trachea, usually by water, causing respiratory arrest." The central idea is that drowning is a respiratory emergency caused by a fluid that blocks the breathing passage in one of two ways, wet drownings and dry drownings. In wet drownings, there is water in the victim's lungs that limit the body's ability to exchange gases and provide oxygen to the blood. It is also possible that water can be drawn into the bloodstream through the lung's alveoli, the tiny sacs that exchange gases in the small blood vessels of the lungs. This dilution can cause an electrolyte imbalance in the body which can bring on fibrillation in the heart, according to the YMCA," writes Ron Shaw from Northern Illinois University Libraries.

He goes on writing that "Dry drownings are rare, accounting for at most 20 percent of all cases. One of the medical examiners I spoke with said that he had never encountered one. For a lifeguard there is little difference in the water rescue skills required for either case, but there may be some differences in the resuscitation of the victim."

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