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My daughter inhaled sea water while swimming. Should she be concerned?

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My daughter inhaled sea water while swimming. Should she be concerned?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At September 10, 2015
Reviewed AtFebruary 2, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

My daughter inhaled a huge breath of what turned out to be sea water when she rolled onto her back with a snorkel mask. She tried to keep swimming, but breathing was nearly impossible. There were squeaky noises as she tried to get air. Lots of coughing for about two hours afterward; the next day she was just fine. A couple of days later she had gone for a 10-mile run, but there were no problems. Next day she had gone for a 6-mile run, and there were no problems. Today she tried swimming again. She did not inhale water, but violent coughing returned and she had difficulty in breathing after getting out of the water. She was discouraged because she really wanted to swim. Should she be concerned?

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I want to assure you that you need not worry as everything is going to be fine soon. I have thoroughly gone through your case and can well understand your genuine concerns.

She needs not to be worried and discouraged. Seawater is salty and usually causes such problems to the swimmers. The same is happening with your daughter. She had breathed in some water in the first episode and it caused trauma to her too. The second time it may be a psychological effect of passing through the same after effects as previously. This may merely be after effects and psychological effects.

Or, it may really be inhalation of a small amount of water once again and it is not uncommon that such minor water inhalation happens and remains unnoticed during sea-swimming. The swimmer gets it known only when comes out of the water with respiratory symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath.

She needs a swimming guide. No doubt she is good at swimming but, he will guide her cope with the fear and therefore the psychological effects will be masked. She definitely will get better soon with this technique of management.

The Probable causes

She needs not to be worried and discouraged. Seawater is salty and usually causes such problems to the swimmers. The same is happening with your daughter. She had breathed in some water in the first episode and it caused a trauma to her too. The second time it may be a psychological effect of passing through the same after effects as previously. This may merely be after effects and psychological effects. Or, it may really be an inhalation of a small amount of water once again and it is not uncommon that such minor water inhalation happens and remains unnoticed during sea-swimming. The swimmer gets it known only when comes out of water with respiratory symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath.

Treatment plan

She needs a swimming guide. No doubt she is good in swimming but, he will guide her cope with the fear and therefore the psychological effects will be masked. She definitely will get better soon with this technique of management.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Muhammad Majid Hanif
Dr. Muhammad Majid Hanif

Cardiology

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