Swallowing even small amount of water into your lungs is serious, children have been known to have died up to 24 hours after getting water into their system. There might be some differentiation between ‘dry’ and ‘delayed’ drowning, but the symptoms are in both cases tiredness, coughing, paleness and trouble with breathing, and the prevention measures to keep a close eye on people if these symptoms occur.

Symptoms and prevention from eHow:

  1. The first step in preventing a dry drowning episode is close observation. Observing the person immediately following the negative incident or accident with water is crucial. Remember, dry drowning need only a small amount of water or liquid, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be from a pool.
  2. Monitor the person’s breathing. Difficulty breathing, painful breathing or shallow breathing are all red flags that may indicate a person is at risk for a dry drowning episode. Count the number of respirations for 15 seconds and multiply by 4. Over 20 respirations per minute could be a red flag for dry drowning.
  3. Check for persistent cough, pain in chest and mood or mental status change. Lethargy or increased agitation when lying flat, sweaty skin or color changes such as pale, or blue/grayish color are signs of poorly oxygenated blood. Remember, children can not compensate for very long like adults. They tend to “crash” quickly once these signs are present, so act quickly.
  4. Dry drowning usually occurs within 1 hour and 24 hours after incident.
    * If it is caught early, dry drowning can be treated.
    * Treatment involves supplying oxygen to the lungs.
    * Call 911 or take the child or person immediately to the emergency room if there are signs or symptoms indicating risk of a dry drowning episode.