This isn’t the time of year for this stuff, but I read some interesting information about dry drowning recently. It was creepy yet informative. There are all kinds of ways to die of dry drowning. Most victims are children.
Dry drowning , or secondary drowning or near drowning, happens when a person inhales water into the lungs. He doesn’t have to be submerged into water for long. In fact, she can jump in and out of a pool and end up dying of dry drowning. Occasionally dry drowning can happen in the bathtub. But sometime within the next 24 hours their lungs start a massive inflammatory reaction to the water they inhaled into their lungs. In these rare situations, the larynx (voice box) spasms and stays shut, causing involuntary suffocation. Sometimes this spasm is triggered by water droplets hitting the larynx, or a sudden high-speed submersion under water such as off a high-dive or a high-speed water slide.
This is what happens:
Let’s say a child coughs and hacks up water in a pool. The child has a bit of a coughing fit and seems to be fine. However what has often happened is some water gets into the child’s lungs. Occasionally dry drowning can happen in the bathtub. The kid seems fine, walking around, eating, etc. Then suddenly the child literally drops dead or her parents put her bed at night and she never wakes up.
Case in point: Johnny Jackson, a 10-year-old American boy from South Carolina, recently died at home on Sunday from “dry drowning” more than an hour after going swimming. He had a coughing fit in a pool then walked home with his mother and sister. Within the hour, Jackson was dead. Jackson’s mother made the sad comment that, “I’ve never known a child could walk around, talk, speak and their lungs be filled with water.”
Jackson got water in his lungs while he was swimming in a local pool. He didn’t show any signs of respiratory distress, but he had an accident in the pool and “soiled himself.” Sometimes a child may experience vomiting instead of defecating. Both may be symptoms of dry drowning.
Dry drowning can also be a type of suffocation. Water, or a different chemical such as a toxic gas, makes contact with the larynx. The larynx swells up as a reaction to the water that has reached the lungs. Where toxins are concerned, they replace oxygen in the lungs, resulting in internal suffocation. This is why Hitler’s Nazis gassed Jews, and how it worked. More gas than oxygen inside the “showers” (an ironic name) suffocated these people. By the millions.
Another example of dry drowning via gas is the inhalation of carbon monoxide. You know, that colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that fills a room in a house, or a car that is idling in a garage. If enters the bloodstream and decreases oxygen levels, essentially starving the organs of its unsuspecting victims. Corpses of people who die of carbon monoxide poisoning have an orange or red tinge to them; a dead (pun) giveaway that the culprit was carbon monoxide gas.
The good news is, it’s easy to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. A couple received a carbon monoxide detector as a gift and the detector went off. They called 911. The fire department arrived, found readings of 28 parts per million and determined dirty pilots on the kitchen stove were the cause of the problem. To prevent further problems, the couple purchased a new gas kitchen stove with electronic ignition and sealed burners. This story had a happy ending. No lives ended.
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