What are the symptoms of drowning?

Updated: Jun 19, 2019
  • Author: G Patricia Cantwell, MD, FCCM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Symptomatic patients may exhibit the following:

  • Altered vital signs (eg, hypothermia, tachycardia or bradycardia)

  • Anxious appearance

  • Tachypnea, dyspnea, or hypoxia: If dyspnea occurs, no matter how slight, the patient is considered symptomatic

  • Metabolic acidosis (may exist in asymptomatic patients as well)

  • Altered level of consciousness, neurologic deficit

  • Cough

  • Wheezing

  • Hypothermia

  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or both

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