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Drowning danger from pool dunking can be deadly even days later

It is summer. The itch to spend time in the water is one a lot of people just can't ignore. Indeed, when it comes to fun, what's better than a dunk in a pond or pool?

The attraction is probably greater for people who live in states like Ohio. We don't have the balmy year-round weather that seems to prompt the kind of proliferation of swimming pools you see in places like Florida, Texas and California.

If you live in Columbus and you have a pool, chances are good that you are one of the most popular places on the block. But with the pool-owner status comes a potential level of liability if someone happens to suffer injury or worse, is killed.

Drowning is always a possibility, of course. What readers may find surprising, though, is that even if a person survives a dunking in which they temporarily suck in water, they can wind up drowning as a result, even days later.

Some in the medical profession call it secondary drowning. Many have never heard of it, but doctors say it can happen anytime a person inhales a small amount of fluid. It could be from any source from a bathtub to the ocean.

According to a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, what can happen is that the fluid can act as an irritant and the body may respond by sending more fluid to the lungs. The process can take as long as 72 hours and result in a person drowning in their own fluids unless particular care is taken.

The lesson to learn, the doctor says, is that if your child takes a plunge and comes up coughing and choking keep a close watch on things. If the child begins to display extreme fatigue, difficulty breathing or behavior changes, it could be a sign of trouble and care should be sought immediately.

Source: YouBeauty, "Secondary Drowning: What Every Parent Needs to Know," Julie Giusti, May 24, 2014

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