For example, could the spray (liquid moisture) suspended in the air cause irritation and inflammation of the lungs similar to what is observed in secondary drowning, where inhaled water irritates the airways and causes a condition that is identical to pneumonia?


For instance, in secondary drowning, there is no infection, but the irritation of the water inside the lungs causes symptoms identical to pneumonia and sets of an inflammatory response in the lungs.

  • Very interesting premise to the question. It is know that you can acquire pneumonia from inhaling aerosolized water from fountains infected with certain pathogens, and there are some studies about the health concerns of improperly maintained steam rooms. But most of what I have seen on that is regarding transmission of pathogens - not the inflammatory impact of the water itself on the lung tissues, which I think is your primary question. I'll be interested in seeing whether anyone can find data on this. Otherwise it'd just be speculative. – DoctorWhom Nov 21 '18 at 7:16
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    The trouble is even the heaviest of rain doesn't aerosolize. I don't see any way water from rain can get into the lungs of someone unless they're unconscious or otherwise unable to protect their airway. I can't prove a case doesn't exist, so I'll leave the question open, but I think it is entirely speculative. – Carey Gregory Nov 21 '18 at 15:15
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    You probably inhale more water when there is high relative humidity (hot summer day before rain) than during raining. After a quick search, I haven't found a single mentioning of the correlation between rain/humidity and pneumonia on any health or weather website. There are correlations with asthma and COPD, though. – Jan Nov 21 '18 at 15:35

Inhaling sprayed water while staying in heavy rain does not likely cause aspiration pneumonia, at least not by water itself. I have found no relevant results after searching for combination of: rain, rainstorm, mist, fog, humidity and aspiration pneumonia or pneumonitis.

Saying that, increased rainfall and humidity are associated with increased risk of legionellosis - atypical pneumonia caused by the bacterium Legionella (The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2005 ; Epidemiology and Infection, 2007 ; Plos One, 2013).

The air humidity increases with water evaporating, not with rain falling. So, air humidity is not necessary the highest during raining, but rather after raining, especially at high temperatures (IRI/LDEO Climate Data Library). You can probably inhale more water from fog than from rain.

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