Frankie died of dry drowning, also known as secondary drowning, earlier this week after he had suffered from symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and grasping for air, for six days. Saturday morning, he complained about his shoulders hurting. His lungs were filled with fluid.
Dry drowning, which is similar to secondary drowning, can occur hours or even days after a child inhales water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), boys are more at risk for dry drowning, as is children ages one to four.
Dr. Joseph Allen of Family Medicine of Vandalia said dry drowning isn't usually deadly but it is a serious condition and it's important for parents to know the signs. The cause of death was dry drowning, and every parent needs to educate themselves on this tricky and quiet danger.
"Out of nowhere he just woke up and he said "ahhhh" and he took his last breath", said Delgado.
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The Delgado family told KTRK that Frankie complained of an upset stomach shortly after swimming during the family trip but they did not think it was reason for concern. He said "Ahhh." He breathed a last time and I did not know what to do, "says Francisco Delgado Jr., his dad".
No water actually gets to the lungs in dry drowning, but the vocal cords tighten before the airway shuts down. Both are also extremely rare and only make up about 1-2 percent of all drownings each year. "Another possibility is they get just a little bit of the fluid into their lungs, they recover, but then hours later that again causes inflammation, more fluid, respiratory distress". "Some children will have symptoms soon after drowning".
Secondary drowning can happen several hours, up to 24, after inhaling the water. All it takes is inhaling water through the mouth or nose, and it can be hard to know it's happening unless a child starts to cough or seems to be in distress.