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Near-Drowning Could Cause Death Hours Later

You may not know that if you're saved from almost drowning, you there's still a risk of dying if you're not checked out by a doctor.
EAST PEORIA/PEORIA - Nearly 10 people drown every day in the United States, and doctors at OSF St. Francis Medical Center say most of those deaths are preventable.

You may not know that if you're saved from nearly drowning you could still be at risk of dying.

Terri Gardner owns a pool and brings her two grandchildren to Splashdown in E. Peoria for swim lessons.
“We wanted to like make sure that, that they had some ground rules for what it was like to have a pool around,” says Gardner.

Just like Gardner, a lot of people worry about what may happen in and around the water. However, there’s a deadly problem that can strike hours later.

Lifeguards, and many others, call it “Dry Drowning” and/or “Secondary Drowning”

Dr. Teresa Riech the Medical Director of the Pediatrics Emergency Department at OSF St. Francis Medical Center explains, “[That] really refer to complications that develop after a person has been submerged underwater so they breathe in some water in then over hours, over the next day or so afterward they can develop some swelling in the lungs that can cause respiratory problems.”

Doctors say those respiratory problems can be deadly, especially for little kids.
They add it also doen’t have to be at the pool, and it happens quickly.

“Even seconds, says Dr. Riech,”this is why we see things like bathtub or even just standing water [issues], like in a bucket.”

At Splashdown Water Park, the the team of lifeguards is trained on a number of things, but one main topic is paying very close attention.

“One of the things that we have are tests where we throw the dummy in to make sure that they are aware of their zone, aware of their surrounding, staying alert in case of an emergency,” says Tim Nguyen the Splashdown Poolside Manager.

Doctors say you should always get checked after a near-drowning. It could be the difference between life or death.

Dr. Riech says, “Even if they seem okay after they've been pulled out they should they should be evaluated because sometimes the initial sights can be very subtle.”

A few tips from doctors and lifeguards:
·  Doctors say to avoid getting too wrapped up in reading, or talking to other people while kids or are in the water,
·  Take your kids to swim lessons or teach them to swim
·  Use the “Buddy System” and always have someone else with you
·  Use the “Touch System” with Pre-School swimmers. That means you should always be within reach of kids swimming.
·  Parents and guardians should be CPR certified.
·  Know your swimming limits and stay within your comfort zone.
·  Seek medical attention if you’ve been submerged in water, even if you feel fine.
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