Dr. Marc Underhill Talks about Drowning with WTHR-TV

Most drownings and near-drownings occur during late spring and summer (May through August), and Northwest Radiology’s Dr. Marc Underhill recently spoke with WTHR-TV Channel 13 about drowning, the misleading term “dry drowning,” and symptoms to look for after having a water-related incident.

  • Drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1-4.
  • It is the No. 2 cause of unintentional injury-related death for children up to 14.
  • Drowning is a process of aspiration leading to hypoxia and eventually cardiac arrest. However, it is not synonymous with death: it can be interrupted.
  • “Dry drowning” or “secondary drowning” are both misleading terms propagated by social media – causing a lot of unnecessary panic surrounding the idea that some patients may worsen due to pulmonary edema after aspirating small amounts of water. (reference below or other articles)
  • Anyone who experiences consistent cough, breathlessness or other worrisome symptoms such as vomiting or extreme sleepiness within 8 hours of a water-related incident should seek medical advice immediately.
  • Prevention is key! Small children should be continuously and uninterruptedly supervised within arm’s reach while in the water, even if a lifeguard is present.
  • Other preventive measures are lifejackets, fences completely enclosing pools or ponds, and swimming and water safety lessons.