Last week the Internet was shocked by the tragic story of Frankie Delgado, a 4-year-old boy from Texas who died on June 3 of dry drowning or “secondary drowning” a week after a family swimming trip. Secondary drowning is an extremely rare phenomenon, but the fact that it can happen at all is enough to terrify parents all over the world who would look at pictures of his face and think, “How can someone drown a week after swimming? What if I didn’t notice?” Delgado’s parents told reporters that they wanted the story to be known, because they hoped that if other parents knew about dry drowning, it might help save some other child’s life. Now it looks like that may have actually happened just a week later, because a set of grateful parents from Colorado say the viral story of Frankie Delgado saved their own little boy’s life.
According to the Miami Herald, 2-year-old Gio Vega was swimming with his father in Colorado and he swallowed some water, as many swimming kids do. He seemed fine, and his dad didn’t think anything of it.
Later, however, Gio started complaining of a headache. Then he had a bit of a fever. Vega and his wife thought that was odd, or probably just a headache, but they did a Google search for his symptoms and for “swallowing water,” in case those things could be related. The first results were about Frankie Delgado, and those stories mentioned the symptoms of dry drowning that parents should look out for.
The article scared Vega and his wife the way it scared other parents, and they took Gio to the emergency room right away.
Emergency room doctors confirmed the Vegas’ fears and said there was fluid in Gio’s lungs. Vega says that a doctor told him that if they hadn’t brought Gio in when they did, he likely would not have survived the night.
“I had no idea that you could drown without being submerged in the water,” Vega said to NBC News. “I had no idea. None of us did until now. I’m telling everybody else too it can happen. It can happen. Knowing is very powerful. It can be life-saving.”
Vega says if his wife hadn’t read that article about Frankie Delgado, they might never have gone to the emergency room that night, and their son could have died the same way. Now they’re hoping to get the word out in the same way.
Symptoms of dry drowning include coughing, vomiting, difficulty breathing, headache, listlessness, and malaise. The biggest key is just to know that secondary drowning is a thing that exists, so if a child ingests some water and then starts acting in a way that seems off or wrong, you can have them checked out.
(Image: Twitter / @skynews)