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## Why Can You Not Fly After Scuba Diving?

Scuba diving is an incredible experience that allows you to explore the underwater world. However, there are some important safety precautions that you must take after diving, including waiting before flying. This is because scuba diving can cause decompression sickness (DCS), which can be a serious and even fatal condition.

### What is Decompression Sickness?

DCS occurs when nitrogen bubbles form in your body’s tissues after scuba diving. These bubbles can cause pain, numbness, and paralysis, and in severe cases, they can even lead to death.

DCS is caused by the changes in pressure that occur when you dive. When you dive, the pressure of the water around you increases, which causes nitrogen to dissolve into your body’s tissues. When you ascend, the pressure decreases and the nitrogen gas comes out of solution and forms bubbles.

### Symptoms of Decompression Sickness

The symptoms of DCS can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Mild cases may only cause minor pain or discomfort, while severe cases can be life-threatening.

The most common symptoms of DCS include:

Pain in the joints or muscles
Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
Paralysis
Difficulty breathing
Confusion
Seizures

### How to Prevent Decompression Sickness

The best way to prevent DCS is to follow the safety guidelines for scuba diving. These guidelines include:

Ascending slowly and gradually
Making safety stops at regular intervals
Using a dive computer to monitor your ascent rate
Avoiding diving too deep or for too long
Staying hydrated

### Why You Should Not Fly After Scuba Diving

Flying after scuba diving can increase your risk of DCS because the changes in pressure during the flight can cause the nitrogen bubbles in your body to expand. This can lead to serious or even fatal complications.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that you wait at least 12 hours after scuba diving before flying. This will give your body enough time to eliminate the nitrogen bubbles and reduce your risk of DCS.

### Exceptions to the 12-Hour Rule

There are some exceptions to the 12-hour rule. If you are diving at a shallow depth (less than 30 feet) for a short period of time (less than 60 minutes), you may be able to fly after 6 hours. However, it is still important to talk to your doctor before flying to be sure.

### What to Do If You Experience Symptoms of DCS

If you experience any symptoms of DCS, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Treatment for DCS typically involves recompression therapy, which involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

### Conclusion

Scuba diving is a safe and enjoyable activity, but it is important to be aware of the risks of DCS. By following the safety guidelines and waiting before flying, you can help to reduce your risk of this serious condition.

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