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Doctors: 4-year-old died of 'dry drowning'

A 4-year-old Texas boy died a week after swimming and doctors say it was the result of dry drowning.

According to KHOU, After the Delgado family went swimming near Galveston, Texas their 4-year-old son, Frankie displayed symptoms that appeared to be a stomach bug.

Following several days of diarrhea and vomiting, Francisco Delgado Jr. dialed 911 after his son stopped breathing.

"Out of nowhere, he just woke up. He said 'ahhh.' He took his last breath and I didn't know what to do no more," Delgado told KTRK.


His mother, Tara Delgado, said paramedics and doctors tried to save her son.

Francisco Delgado III, 4, passed away Saturday at East Houston Regional Hospital, according to KTRK.

Doctors found fluid in Frankie’s lungs and around his heart, which they confirmed to be the result of ‘dry drowning.”

What is ‘dry drowning?’

Dry drowning happens when water irritates the larynx (vocal chords), and the person has a severe inflammatory reaction to it. The reaction causes the vocal chords to spasm (laryngospasm reflex) and that causes them to close. The person then has trouble or cannot pass air into their lungs. Laryngospasm can cause something called neurogenic pulmonary edema which causes an increase in pressure in the lungs and heart, reducing the body's ability to get oxygen. Laryngospasm can be triggered by something as simple as droplets if water hitting the larynx. High-speed submersion, such as when you go down a water slide or jump from a high dive, can also cause the reaction.

Water safety and medical experts are encouraging parents to think of drowning as a process and not an end result of being under water for too long. The prospect of a child drowning after leaving the pool or beach is one not many parents have considered.

On average, 10 people will die in the United States a day as a result of drowning.

Read more about the symptoms "dry drowning" and how to prevent it HERE.

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