Family shares experience after water intoxication hospitalized their 10-year-old son

Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 11:14 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - With the summer months underway many are aware of how to prevent heat exhaustion and heat strokes, but there is another diagnosis one family wants more people to know about after their son was hospitalized at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital in Columbia.

10-year-old Ray Jordan suffered from water intoxication over the weekend.

“He almost seemed like he was on drugs, drunk, even mentally handicapped at that point,” said Stacy and Jeff Jordan, parents.

The Jordans are originally from Columbia and were visiting family for the July 4th holiday weekend.

“He ran outside with his cousins and started playing. They were full throttle running circles around the house, a bunch of boys together, jumping on the trampoline,” said Stacy.

That’s when Ray started to feel exhausted from the heat.

“He had gone in and gotten himself some water,” said Stacy. “What we didn’t realize was how much he got.”

Ray ended up drinking six bottles of water from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

His parents said his first symptoms of water intoxication began around 10:30 p.m. when he started throwing up.

“He couldn’t control his head or arms or anything. His motor functions were gone. I rushed him straight up to Richland Children’s at that point,” said Jeff.

After running several tests, doctors found the sodium levels in his blood to be extremely low.

According to the National Institutes of Health, this happens when the kidneys can’t keep up with the amount of water coming into the body.

“They were giving him something to help him urinate as much as possible to get those fluids out because it was swelling around his brain, that was why his head was hurting so much,” said Stacy.

From 4 a.m. to noon doctors gave Ray sodium and potassium to regulate his blood.

“At 1:30 he just woke up, he asked for food, he was like where am I? What happened?”

Ray is now in good health, and his parents are relieved he’s not experiencing any lingering symptoms.

“It never would’ve even occurred to us that he was washing everything out, and that it was dangerous,” said Jeff.

The Jordan’s said this experience taught them how important it is to alternate between drinking water and sports drinks on a hot day, because the electrolytes in sports drinks don’t dilute your bloodstream the way water does.

Stacy and Jeff Jordan said they’re incredibly grateful to the staff at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital in Columbia for everything they did for their family.

They hope their story makes more people aware of the dangers of water intoxication, especially during the summer.

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