7 Things You Should Never Do Immediately After Diving
As certified scuba divers, we’ve been taught what we should be doing before and after scuba diving, but it’s just as important to remember what we shouldn’t be doing after diving. In fact, this is not just for new divers, as many seasoned divers don’t know or remember these facts.
Planning a dive requires a great deal of preparation combined with numerous safety checks that must be completed beforehand. This process is is explained and practiced many times during the open water certification. However, the safety considerations after your dive is over are not as thorough and new divers may not know what should not be done after a dive.
Here are 7 things you should never do immediately after diving:
1. Flying After Diving
Flying after scuba diving is one of the more widely known risks to divers. This issue comes up frequently in the diving world because divers want to take full advantage of their vacations and also get the most diving time in while they can.
The main reason for this is the pressure inside the airplane’s cabin. The air pressure inside of the cabin lessens as you reach altitude. When you’re flying in a plane right after diving, the increase in altitude would result in a drop in pressure which is simliar to a fast ascension while diving.
The longer and deeper you dive, the more nitrogen is absorbed into your blood. Upon returning to the surface the pressure reduces and the nitrogen reverts to gas bubbles, which can be very dangerous when inside the body.
Decompression needs to be done slowly so the nitrogen can pass back out through your lungs. If you ascend too quickly, the nitrogen can form bubbles in your blood which can be painful and possibly fatal. This can be easily compared to opening a bottle of soda after it’s been shaken.
Waiting the correct amount of time before flying will reduce the nitrogen in your blood. As a general rule it is recommended to wait 24 hours before flying after doing any type of diving. This rule covers all types of dives and adds extra time as a safeguard for peace of mind.
Flying After Diving Guidelines from Divers Alert Network (DAN):
The following guidelines apply to air dives followed by flights at cabin altitudes of 2,000 to 8,000 feet (610 to 2,438 meters) for divers who do not have symptoms of decompression sickness (DCS).
• For a single no-decompression dive, a minimum preflight surface interval of 12 hours is suggested.
• For multiple dives per day or multiple days of diving, a minimum preflight surface interval of 18 hours is suggested.
• For dives requiring decompression stops, there is little evidence on which to base a recommendation and a preflight surface interval substantially longer than 18 hours appears prudent.
To err on the side of safety, many divers plan a 24-hour surface interval and spend their time exploring topside attractions. Here are a few other activities divers should avoid at the end of their diving holiday.
Flying After Freediving
The (US) National Institute of Health (NIH) reports at least 90 recorded cases of DCS following repetitive breath-hold dives. The “deepest man on earth,” freediving world record holder Herbert Nitsch, suffered DCS and was nearly paralyzed for life. The relationship between DCS and freediving is not widely accepted or understood; however, both DAN and the NIH recommend freedivers consider the risk of DCS following multiple deep dives and take precautions including:
– Long surface recoveries (3-4x the length of your dive)
– Don’t dive more than a combined depth of 120 metres (393 total feet) in one day
Because there is (essentially) no data for flying after deep freediving, wait 18 to 24 hours after making deep freedives before getting on a plane. Many in the freediving community use a four to six-hour pre-fly interval because freedivers remain at depth only briefly and the 18-24 hour recommendation is based on research with scuba divers.
Dissolved nitrogen isn’t a major concern for casual snorkeling to shallow depths. But, it is potentially a concern for constant weight freedivers who are also scuba divers. Don’t participate in recreational open water or constant weight freediving after scuba diving on the same day.
Regardless, the longer the interval between diving and flying, the lower the DCS risk.
2. Mountain Climbing
You may be surprised to discover that driving or hiking to the top of a 3,048 meter (10,000 foot) mountain puts you at the same risk for Decompression Sickness (DCS) as flying in an airplane. Cabin pressure in an average commercial jet is equivalent to being at 1800–2400 metres/6000–8000 feet above sea level. If simulated altitude puts you at risk for DCS, being at altitude is also high risk. That said, people do dive at altitude and there are special dive tables to follow. This type of diving is called altitude diving .
Mountain climbing should be avoided in the first 24 hours after a dive. If you are planning to also go mountain climbing and scuba diving, go mountain climbing first to avoid any potential DCS risk. It is perfectly safe to go climbing before a dive and this is an easy solution to stay safe.
3. Ziplining After Diving
Ziplining as an activity is fine. Again, the concern is altitude. It is recommended to confirm the altitude of your ziplining destination before you book.
Ziplining usually occurs on a mountain or elevated area and should be avoided for 24 hours after a dive due to the altitude. This helps you steer clear of Decompression Sickness (DCS) and enjoy your ziplining worry-free.
4. Deep Tissue Massage
What? No massage? Relax and breathe. Here’s the good news, according to DAN, “massage has not been confidently associated with…cases of DCS…” Experts caution against deep tissue massage, but a gentle relaxation massage is probably fine. The two main concerns with deep tissue massage are:
- Increased blood flow might lead to bubble formation
- Muscle soreness which can lead to misdiagnosis (or delayed diagnosis) of DCS.
It is recommended to stay away from deep tissue massages for at least 12 hours after scuba diving.
5. Relaxing in a Hot Tub
As the body warms up and circulation improves, there is an increased chance of bubble formation. According to DAN:
“Since the solubility of gas is inversely related to temperature, tissues will hold less in solution as they warm. Warming tissue with significant loads can promote bubble formation. Since the warming of the superficial tissues precedes the increase in blood flow, such bubbles can become problematic before the circulation can remove them harmlessly”.
It is recommended to stay away from hot tubbing for at least 12 hours after scuba diving.
6. Excessive Drinking
As you are well aware by now, your body requires some time to revert the nitrogen that was absorbed into the blood. Anything that interferes with the process of elimination of nitrogen from the body should be avoided. If you indulge in drinking, your body will begin to dehydrate faster – and you’ll suffer from decompression sickness. Additionally, it becomes difficult to diagnose the symptoms of decompression sickness if you’ve had many drinks and are impaired. If the symptoms are not identified quickly, DCS can be fatal.
If you want to drink after diving, wait a few hours and hydrate prior.
7. Freediving After Scuba Diving
If you’re a scuba diver and a freediver, many in the freediving community recommend applying the flying after scuba diving guidelines:
• After a single no-stop dive, wait 12 hours before freediving.
• After multiple no-stop dives, or dives over several days, wait 18 hours.
• After a dive requiring a decompression stop, wait 24 hours.
• Wait longer if directed by the manufacturer of your dive computer.
As a general rule it is recommended to wait 24 hours before freediving after doing any type of diving. This rule covers all types of dives and adds extra time as a safeguard for peace of mind.
While this might seem like a long list of things you can’t do, there are a whole heap of things that you can do! Explore the (low altitude) region, meet the people, immerse yourself in the culture or simply hang out with friends, kick back and relax!
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5 Things You Should Never Do Right After Scuba Diving
As new divers maybe you know what you SHOULD be doing, but do you know what you SHOULDN’T be doing after diving? In fact, this is not just for new divers, as many seasoned divers don’t know these facts.
Planning a dive requires a great deal of preparation combined with numerous safety checks that must be completed beforehand. This process is stressed and explained in great detail during open water certification.
However, the safety considerations after diving are not as thorough and new divers may not know what should not be done after a dive. Here is a list of 5 things you should not do right after diving. GTS member Katie Piedrahita tells us more.
1. No flying after diving
Flying after scuba diving is one of the more widely known risks to divers. This issue comes up frequently in the diving world because divers want to take full advantage of diving trips and get the most amount of diving time in while they can.
The main reason for this warning is not the flying itself, but the pressure inside the airplane’s cabin. Air pressure lessens when you fly. If you rode in a plane right after diving the increase in altitude would result in a drop in pressure which is comparable to a fast ascension while diving.
The longer the dive and the deeper you go the more nitrogen is absorbed into your blood. Upon returning to the surface the pressure reduces and the nitrogen reverts to gas bubbles.
Decompression needs to be done slowly so the nitrogen can pass back out through your lungs. If you ascend too fast the nitrogen can form bubbles in your blood which can be painful and possibly fatal (think of opening a bottle of soda when it’s been shaken up).
Waiting the correct amount of time before flying will reduce the nitrogen in your blood. The general rule that seems to be widely agreed upon is that you should wait 12 hours after a single no-decompression dive, 18 hours after multiple dives or multiple days of diving and at least 24 hours after dives requiring decompression stops.
As a general rule it is recommended to wait 24 hours before flying after doing any type of diving. This rule covers all types of dives and adds extra time as a safeguard for peace of mind.
2. Don’t go zip-lining after scuba diving
Ziplining usually occurs on a mountain or elevated area and should be avoided for 24 hours after a dive due to the altitude. With ziplining, going to a higher altitude may trigger decompression sickness.
Many ziplining companies will clearly state they will not allow people to zipline if they have been scuba diving with the past 24 hours. Sounds strange to newcomers, but makes sense when you know the science.
3. Avoid heavy drinking after diving
This may be a controversial subject for many, but it is no secret that many divers enjoy drinks after a day of diving. Drinking alcohol immediately after a dive is not recommended because alcohol may affect the way that our body eliminates that excess nitrogen.
Dehydration is one of the main causes in decompression sickness, and drinking alcohol is one of the most efficient ways to dehydrate ourselves. Another important reason to avoid heavy drinking after a dive is because being heavily intoxicated can mask the true symptoms of decompression sickness and adequate medical care may be sought too late.
To avoid any problems, drink plenty of water before and after diving to combat dehydration. Most of all try and wait a few hours before drinking alcohol to prevent any mishaps.
4. No mountain climbing after diving
Mountain climbing should be avoided in the first 24 hours after a dive. This again is due to the change in altitude when ascending a mountain. As with flying and ziplining, changes in altitude can cause decompression sickness.
If you are planning to also go mountain climbing along with scuba diving, do the mountain climbing first to avoid any potential dangers. It is perfectly safe to go climbing before a dive and this may be an easy solution to enjoy your trip whilst also staying safe.
The bottom line is that altitude exposure is altitude exposure. There are really no exceptions to the rules and ignoring them only increases the dangers of decompression sickness. Rule of thumb – keep your feet planted on the ground after you dive — if only for a little while.
5. Avoid massages after diving
Getting a massage after a long day of diving may seem like a great way to unwind but massage should MAYBE be avoided after diving. Massage will increase blood flow and this in turn can possibly move smaller nitrogen bubbles into one large bubble, although there have been no known cases of DCS because of massage.
Deep tissue massage is strongly advised against because it has the potential to cause soreness in the body which may lead to misdiagnosis of decompression sickness after a dive.
DAN quotes “There is no clear sense of what massage might do and this effect would likely vary depending on dive profiles and intensity of the massage. We should note that massage has not been confidently associated with any of the cases of DCS that have come to us, and we are not aware of any study done to address this question. The clearest piece of advice is that deep tissue massage should probably be avoided, so that the potential of post-dive pain and diagnostic confusion are minimized.” – Dr. Nick Bird MD.
Did you know you should be avoiding these activities after diving? Let us know in the comments, and continue the conversation in our Facebook group!
About the Author
Katie Piedrahita is a recent open water graduate who almost did not become certified due to panic and claustrophobia in completing certain skills such as mask clearing. Once she was able to accomplish this skill a magical underwater world was opened for her. Katie can now not get enough and is constantly looking for and researching new dive destinations. Katie loves to travel and has a 16 year old son who is her dive buddy.
How to get rid of blocked ears after diving
If you have recently gone for a scuba diving session and had difficulty with your.
If you have recently gone for a scuba diving session and had difficulty with your ears getting blocked up this article is for you. What causes the blocked ear in the first place? Does anything in particular increase our susceptibility to getting blocked ears when we dive? And most importantly how to get rid of blocked ears after diving.
Learn the most effective way on how to get rid of blocked ears after diving ! Keeping your ears open underwater and when decompressing is important to avoid ear pain, damage and ear infections. In this article I will teach you the exact steps you need to follow in order to get rid of painful and blocked ears.
Things to do when your ears get blocked after scuba diving
It is totally normal to experience some discomfort after diving, and it is also totally normal for your ears to feel a little bit blocked. But if you are experiencing pain in or around your ears or if they are feeling really full and hard to pop, there are a few things you can do to try to alleviate the issue:
1. Stay calm
This is the most important step! If you panic, your body will start to release adrenaline, which will only make things worse.It is natural to be worried about your hearing, but panicking will nott help anything. Take a deep breath and try to relax.
2. Wait for some time
If you have been diving for just a short period of time and have mild discomfort, waiting a few minutes may do the trick. Your ears will naturally open themselves up as the pressure around them is equalized with the pressure outside of them. This process can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour or more depending on how deep you went while diving (the deeper you went, the longer it will take). If this does not work, move on down below!
3. Try yawning
Try yawning. Yawning will help open up your Eustachian tubes which are the passageways that connect your nose and ears and help clear out any water that’s in them.
Hearing Eustachian tube first time? well these tubes are one of the most important parts of the ear and are responsible for equalizing pressure. They open up when we are scuba diving or swimming in water to allow air to flow into our ears. But when we dive, we submerge much more quickly than the time it would take for our ears to naturally fill with air through the Eustachian tubes. This can cause a painful sensation called “squeezed” or “blocked” ears. It is best to learn how to get rid of blocked ears after diving before you have them on your next dive trip!
4. Chewing gum
Chewing gum is probably one of the most common remedies for those with blocked ears, but it really works. It causes your jaw muscles to move around in a way that helps push all that water out of your ear canal, which reduces the need for any other treatment methods. Just chew slowly and steadily until you feel the pressure in your ear start to subside. If you want to do this method at home without having to go out and buy some bubble gums, try chewing on anything hard like pencil erasers or dried apricots (if you have them).
5. Hold your nose and blow
Hold your nose and blow hard. This will help to get the water out of your ears more quickly and reduce any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing. If this does not work for you, try following it up with a few gentle taps on each ear. These gentle taps will help to loosen up any water that is still stuck in there, which should make it easier for you to remove it yourself. This will clear your ears after diving. You will hear a pop out sound too,
6. Use steam to unblock your ears
This is simple, get a bowl of hot water and place your head over it, allowing the steam to enter your ears. You may have to do this multiple times until your ears are clear, but the process should help loosen up any wax that may be blocking them.
If that does not work, try using ear drops to unclog them. You can buy these at any drugstore. They usually come in small vials, so keep one in your dive bag for emergencies!
7. Use Nasal Spray
Nasal spray is a great way to get rid of blocked ears after diving. To use it, simply tilt your head back and squeeze a small amount into one nostril. Then tilt your head forward and let the liquid drain into the other nostril. Repeat this process until you can hear again.
If your ears are still blocked and painful even after using a nasal spray, it is possible that you have an ear infection. This is usually caused by bacteria entering your ear canal, but it can also be caused by an allergy.
8. Use Ear Drops
Ear drops can be a great way to get rid of blocked ears after diving. You can use ear drops or other products to reduce inflammation and allow fluid drainage in your ears. They soften the wax in your ears, making it easier for it to drain out naturally. You can buy these drops at any pharmacy or online. Just be sure to follow the directions on the package carefully, and do not use them too frequently as they can cause irritation or damage to your eardrums if used incorrectly!. If you have a serious case of blocked ears, you may need antibiotics or other medication, but generally speaking, ears should clear up within 24 hours if you follow these steps.
9. A doctor can help you
If you have tried all these steps and still can not unblock your ears, a doctor can help you. It is important to see a doctor right away. The doctor will be able to examine your ears and determine the cause of the blockage. If you experience any hearing loss or pain in your ear, you should seek medical attention immediately.
A doctor will be able to examine your ears and check for signs of injury or infection. If necessary, they can prescribe medication to help with the pain or discomfort you are experiencing. The ringing in the ears should go away on its own within a few days (though this may take longer if there is more severe damage).
Hopefully, this post has given you some tips for how to get rid of blocked ears after diving, as well as what to do if it does happen. So the next time you go diving, do not be afraid to get your head wet. Just make sure that you do not dive too deep and stay aware of your environment.