Family, Internal Medicine, General Medical Questions/drowning fear


I went into the pool today and swam with my head up. I kind of got some water in my mouth and a tiny bit of it might have gone the wrong way. I spit it out mostly. I'mean not even sure if it went. No near drowning at all. I wasn't submerged. I didn't even cough. However I forced myself to. That was 2 hrs ago. I feel fine. However, I read something about secondary drowning. And am afraid to sleep. Any reassurance would be priceless. Thanks

Dear Damian,

This is a very interesting question. Although it has a very rare occurrence, it happens more with children and young teens. There is no data for adults. The only instances I was able to find were for older adults who had known cardiovascular disease or chronic lung disease. The water that enters the lungs is just enough to cause inflammation to develop causing a decrease in oxygen levels and oxygen  delivery to the heart. With children, it is a spasm to the vocal chords that causes an inability to get air to the lungs. The short answer is if you did not get enough water in the lungs to have to go to the emergency department, you should be fine.  

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Dr. Pamela M. Cipriano, DNP, APRN


My name is Dr. Cipriano. I have a private practice specializing in adult health and wellness. I can answer questions associated with thyroid disease, cardiac disease, pulmonary disease, high blood pressure, muscular aches and pains, cholesterol levels, male/female sexual questions or questions on the sexual organs, gastrointestinal problems, healthy ways to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and nearly anything else that pertains to medicine.


I am on the Medical Staff at a local hospital where I work as a medical/surgical hospitalist as well as in the emergency department. I am certified in critical care and advanced cardiac life support. Prior to becoming a Nurse Practitioner, I was a certified critical care nurse (CCRN).

Society of Hospital Medicine American Association of Critical Care Nurses American Association of Nurse Practitioners Connecticut Advance Nurse Practitioner Society

Maryville University 2014-2016 Doctor of Nursing Practice University of Connecticut 2007-2011 MSN, Acute Care Track Nurse Practitioner. Board Certified September 2011 Critical Care Certified 2014 Central Connecticut State University 2002-2006 BA Psychology St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing 1991-1993 Diploma Nursing Registered Nurse

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Named as a World Wide Leader in Healthcare and was included in the 2013-2014 edition by the International Nurses Association.

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