Dangers of near drownings out of the water

Surviving a near drowning can be fraught with danger.
Surviving a near drowning can be fraught with danger.

SURVIVING a near drowning can be fraught with danger out of the water.

After last week's miraculous rescue at the Brunswick River, Director of Surf Life-Saving Far North Coast NSW Chris Samuels said there have been just as many near drownings.

In his time as a surf life-saver, Mr Sammuels has seen his fair share of close calls.

"The near misses side of things, seen and the ones you hear about a few days later, would almost be countless," Mr Sammuels said.

"It does happen a lot more than you think, it's something that should be taken very seriously because you can have what's called a secondary drowning."

Secondary drowning is when water is trapped in the lungs after a near-drowning incident that can result in inflammation of the lungs hours later.

Sometimes, secondary drowning can cause death when water droplets hit the larynx and causes it to spasm shut according to.   

For that reason, Mr Sammuels said it's vital swimmers who have been in trouble in the water "err on the side of caution" and see a doctor.

"It might be an hour of inconvenience for you going to the doctors or the hospital just to get a quick check up but it's got the potential of being a lot worse if you don't," he said.

Symptoms of secondary drowning:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Lethargy
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Sudden change in mood, agitated, confusion.
  • Pale or blue skin.

Topics:  northern rivers swimming water safety