What you may not know is that a person can drown both in and out of the water. Mona Khanna explains the risk known as "dry drowning".
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Rebecca Fox: Thanks for clicking on icyou's medical moment with Dr. Mona Khanna. We're at a local pool to talk about the risk of drowning, both in and out of the water. You may not afford of the risk for, Dr. Mona is here to explain it. Dr. Mona, how is it possible to drown outside of water? Dr. Mona Khanna: Rebecca it's a phenomenon known as dry drowning. What happens is that there is a spasm in a body's tissues and that spasm prevents air, therefore oxygen from getting into the lungs. Let me show you. For example, wet drowning are the drowning that we are all familiar with is when somebody gets essentially water logged, water gets into their system and the water present an obstruction and that obstruction prevents air from getting into the lungs and so the person dies basically of air hunger. That's regular wet drowning. Now, dry drowning again, a person who is in the water, in the pool gets little bit of water in the lungs and that little bit of water happens to trigger off a reaction in the tissues and that reaction is spasm. Usually, it happens right around here and that spasm then prevents air again from getting into the tissues, getting down into the airway and down into the lungs. So, the difference is there is no water obstruction, you are not water logged, but you do have a spasm and that's what's preventing the oxygen from getting down. A lot of people may not know this, but actually 15% of drownings, especially in the summer with kids, those are due to dry drowning, not wet. Rebecca Fox: So what are some of the signs and symptoms of someone experiencing a dry drowning? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well Rebecca, the signs and symptoms unfortunately are not very specific, they are very vague. But you need to look for, is you need to look for a child that is tired, gets to fatigued unusually, sometimes a change in behavior accompanies that. When the child is in the pool there maybe coughing or gagging that's excessive, you need to keep a close eye on that. And if the person is sleepy enough that they want to go home, go straight to sleep, make sure that you check on them very, very frequently to make sure they are still breathing. Shortness of breath because sometimes, but not always accompany dry drowning. Rebecca Fox: If I see someone is experiencing a dry drowning, is there anything that I can do to help them? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well that's a tough question because you are never really if it's dry drowning. So what you have to do, of course is air on the side where you are going to help the patient the most and that is to call 911. It's an emergency situation for medical professionals. Rebecca Fox: Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk of having a dry drowning? Dr. Mona Khanna: Well, the most important thing, if you had kids at the pool is keep a very, very close watch on them. In addition to that, give them frequent break out of the pool because remember dry drowning is when just a little bit of water gets into their lung and that triggers off that reaction. So give them breaks out of the pool, when they are out of the pool that's when you can watch them even further keep a close eye on them to make sure none of that is happening. Then the last thing, of course, is to make sure that when you get them home, you continue to watch them for a period of time after that. Rebecca Fox: Right. Some very important tips, especially during the summer months when we know so many families are in the water. Thank you so much and you can watch many more videos featuring Dr. Mona Khanna on icyou.com. For icyou, I'm Rebecca Fox.