Elianna Grace, a 4-year-old girl from Florida, nearly died just days after going for a swim in her grandmother’s pool.
According to PEOPLE, the little girl was playing with and blowing water out of a pool noodle when she accidentally swallowed a small amount of water.
“She must have inhaled when the other person blew the water out. So it just, I mean, she inhaled it immediately and she vomited instantaneously the same exact time,” her mother, Lacey Grace, told the publication
“I was very, very worried at that moment. But I kinda thought we would see pretty serious signs of something more serious right away, and we didn’t.”
But two days after the incident, Elianna ran a fever and was tired, and needed to be picked up from school. The following day, Elianna was sent home from school again.
The little girl's symptoms reminded Lacey of a story she had read about a four-year-old boy who died after inhaling water—with some reports initially attributing the boy’s death to ‘dry drowning’, otherwise known as 'secondary drowning'.
When doctors examined Elianna, she had begun to shiver and had low oxygen levels, a high heart rate and purple spots on her skin. Doctors found inflammation and infection after a chest scan, and Elianna was given antibiotics to treat aspiration pneumonia and chemical pneumonitis.
Initial reports suggested Elianna case was one of 'dry drowning', although her parents said doctors advised them she was fighting a secondary infection.
Taking to Facebook, Lacey gave an update on her daughter's coniton—and shared an important warning to other parents.
“At least two doctors now have told us ‘Thank God you got her here when you did’. All the major things going wrong are things you would NEVER notice by looking at her,” she wrote.
“If your child inhales a bunch of water, and something seems off AT ALL, I encourage you to immediately get help. I wonder if I would have taken her Monday, would she be better off?? And I wonder if I waited longer what would have happened. It’s so scary.”
As The Washington Post reports “dry drowning,” is an imprecise term that doctors have shied away from in the US, describing when water enters the lungs, causing them to swell or become inflamed.
You can find out more about water safety by visiting Swim Australia.