Doctor Warns Swimmers Of Secondary Drowning

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It’s something many have probably never heard of.

A child leaves the pool fine and then drowns 24 hours later. It’s known as secondary drowning.

“It can happen from literally an hour to 24 hours from the initial event,” said Medical Director at Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith, Delilah Easom.

“Say a child jumps off of a diving board or even an adult. They hit full in the face with water. Water can get past the vocal cords with water before they realize it. They cough and they seem fine, anywhere from an hour to 24 hours later the lungs fill up with fluid caused by pulmonary edema and then they drown.”

With people heading to the pool in the summer, experts said crowds need to be informed.

Easom said the symptoms are difficult to notice.

“There are really not a lot of signs until it`s too late,” Easom said.

Easom said signs can include a child seeming out of it or excessive coughing.

With lots of pool days ahead for Fort Smith mother Chelsea Johnson and her little one, she said it's something to keep an eye on.

“I am in the pool with him at all times,” Johnson said.

Although Easom doesn't see a lot of secondary drowning cases. She said drowning in general is the second leading cause of death for children 1 to 14 and most of the time it happens 10 feet away from you.


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