## What is a Pressure Squeeze in Scuba Diving?

A pressure squeeze is a type of injury that can occur when a diver descends too quickly or ascends too slowly. It is caused by the difference in pressure between the inside and outside of the body. When a diver descends, the pressure outside the body increases, which can cause the sinuses, ears, or lungs to become blocked. If the diver does not equalize the pressure by clearing their sinuses, ears, or lungs, a pressure squeeze can occur.

There are three types of pressure squeezes:

Sinus squeeze: This occurs when the sinuses become blocked. Symptoms include pain in the sinuses, forehead, or cheeks; a feeling of fullness in the ears; and difficulty breathing through the nose.
Ear squeeze: This occurs when the ears become blocked. Symptoms include pain in the ears; a feeling of fullness in the ears; and difficulty hearing.
Lung squeeze: This occurs when the lungs become blocked. Symptoms include pain in the chest; difficulty breathing; and coughing.

Pressure squeezes can be serious injuries, and they can even be fatal. If you experience any of the symptoms of a pressure squeeze, you should stop diving immediately and ascend slowly to the surface.

### How to Avoid Pressure Squeezes

There are a few things you can do to avoid pressure squeezes:

Descend slowly. When you descend, give your body time to adjust to the increasing pressure. Descend at a rate of no more than 30 feet (9 meters) per minute.
Ascend slowly. When you ascend, give your body time to adjust to the decreasing pressure. Ascend at a rate of no more than 60 feet (18 meters) per minute.
Clear your sinuses, ears, and lungs regularly. Before you descend, clear your sinuses by blowing your nose and using a nasal decongestant. Clear your ears by yawning, swallowing, or using the Valsalva maneuver. Clear your lungs by coughing.
Use a dive computer. A dive computer can help you monitor your depth and ascent rate. This can help you avoid descending or ascending too quickly.

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### Treatment for Pressure Squeezes

If you experience a pressure squeeze, you should stop diving immediately and ascend slowly to the surface. Once you are on the surface, you should seek medical attention.

Treatment for pressure squeezes may include:

Oxygen therapy. Oxygen can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
Pain medication. Pain medication can help to relieve pain.
Surgery. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a blocked sinus, ear, or lung.

### Conclusion

Pressure squeezes are a serious hazard for scuba divers. However, they can be avoided by following the tips above. If you experience any of the symptoms of a pressure squeeze, you should stop diving immediately and ascend slowly to the surface.

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