A four-year-old child in Texas died on June 3, a few days after his family's latest swimming trip. Though very rare and even if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tends to shy away from the using the term, his doctors believe that the child's cause of death may have been a case of "dry drowning."

Suspected Case Of 'Dry Drowning'

On Memorial Day weekend, the family ventured into the Texas City Dike where four-year-old Frankie Delgado III splashed around in knee-high water. His parents, Frankie Delgado Jr. and Tara Delgado, watched their son closely even if the water just ran up to his knees.

Though things seemed fine during and a little after the swimming trip, Frankie III experienced diarrhea and vomiting. A couple of days after, on June 3, the child then complained of shoulder pains and laid down for a nap. A few hours later, the boy abruptly woke up and took what his father calls his last breath.

They abruptly called 911, and paramedics came soon after. They evidently performed CPR on the boy to no avail, as his lungs were said to be already filled with fluid.

Although the autopsy results on the boy are still pending, his doctors have already confirmed Frankie's death to be due to "dry drowning," which supposedly happens when an individual has a severe reaction to water irritating the larynx, leaving them unable to properly supply the lungs with air.

A relative has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise enough money to cover Frankie III's funeral costs.

The Question Of 'Dry Drowning'

The term "dry drowning," much like "secondary drowning," is used to describe unusual drowning incidences that occur after the individual has already left the water. Though both can supposedly occur hours or even days after leaving the water, "dry drowning" evidently happens after an inflammatory reaction to water, while "secondary drowning" happens when a small amount of water causes pulmonary edema.

Though parents are made wary of these phenomena, many doctors as well as the CDC shy away from using such terms. In fact, a World Health Organization (WHO) bulletin stated that the terms "dry," "wet," "active," "passive," "silent," and "secondary" drowning will no longer be used to describe a drowning victim.

Other health providers agree, as Michael McHugh, acting chair of Cleveland Clinic's pediatric critical care unit, states how doctors should avoid using such terms to provide accurate treatments in such specific circumstances. Further, he mentions the possibility of Frankie's death being a result of an infection he may have caught from swimming in untreated water.

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