After a 4-year-old boy died from “dry drowning” in Texas last week, parents should know exactly what the signs are.
Frankie Delgado's parents originally thought he had a stomach bug when he began vomiting and experiencing diarrhea a day after swimming with them over Memorial Day weekend.
A week later, Frankie was dead. His parents said doctors informed them “dry drowning” was the cause.
“Dry drowning” or “delayed drowning,” occurs when water is inhaled into the lungs, but the effects aren’t felt until the individual is out of water. The inhaled water causes the person’s vocal cords to spasm, making it extremely difficult to breathe.
It occurs most often in children.
"Drowning from fluid in the lungs that occurs, not during submersion in water, but up to 24 hours after swimming or bathing, defines secondary drowning," Dr. Danelle Fisher, the vice chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John's Health Center, told Parenting.com.
Doctors said the condition is rare, affecting only 5 percent of children who have a “near drowning” experience.
Doctors urge parents to keep a close eye on their children for at least 24 hours if they are submerged in water for any period time.
Some of the warning signs include distressful breathing, consistent coughing, vomiting, unusual behavior or extreme sleepiness.
If treated in time, victims can recover quickly. If anyone is experiencing these symptoms, doctors said they should immediately see a health care professional.
Although Frankie Delgado's official cause of death has not been released by the coroner’s office, the Delgado’s story has already saved another child's life.
The father of 2-year-old Gio Vega said that after reading about Frankie’s death, he recognized the “dry drowning” symptoms in his son, who had swallowed water while swimming.
Gio was having trouble breathing and had been running a fever.
“Their little boy saved our little boy’s life,” Vega told ABC 13. “If I had not told my wife that [Gio] swallowed the water and if she had not seen that article, I think we would’ve ended up dispelling it as a regular sickness.”