## Why Can’t You Get on a Plane After Scuba Diving?

Scuba diving is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience that allows people to explore the underwater world. However, after a scuba dive, it’s important to wait a certain amount of time before flying. This is because scuba diving can cause a condition called decompression sickness, which can be dangerous if not treated.

### What is Decompression Sickness?

Decompression sickness, also known as “the bends,” is a condition that occurs when nitrogen bubbles form in the body’s tissues. These bubbles can cause pain, numbness, and even paralysis. Decompression sickness is caused by a sudden change in pressure, such as when a diver ascends too quickly from a dive.

### How Does Scuba Diving Cause Decompression Sickness?

When a diver descends underwater, the increased pressure of the water forces nitrogen into the body’s tissues. The longer the dive, the more nitrogen is absorbed. When the diver ascends, the pressure decreases, and the nitrogen bubbles can form.

### What are the Symptoms of Decompression Sickness?

The symptoms of decompression sickness can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Mild symptoms include:

Pain in the joints or muscles
Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
Fatigue
Nausea

More severe symptoms include:

Paralysis
Seizures
Coma

### How is Decompression Sickness Treated?

Decompression sickness is treated by recompressing the diver in a hyperbaric chamber. This increases the pressure around the diver’s body, which helps to dissolve the nitrogen bubbles.

### How Long Should You Wait to Fly After Scuba Diving?

The amount of time you should wait to fly after scuba diving depends on the depth and duration of your dive. The following are general guidelines:

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For dives up to 30 meters (100 feet), you should wait at least 12 hours before flying.
For dives between 30 and 40 meters (100-130 feet), you should wait at least 18 hours before flying.
For dives deeper than 40 meters (130 feet), you should wait at least 24 hours before flying.

### What if You Need to Fly After Scuba Diving?

If you need to fly after scuba diving, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of decompression sickness:

Ascend slowly from your dive.
Make multiple stops during your ascent to allow your body time to decompress.
Drink plenty of fluids to help flush nitrogen out of your body.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate you.

### Conclusion

Scuba diving is a safe and enjoyable activity, but it’s important to be aware of the risks of decompression sickness. By following the guidelines above, you can help to reduce your risk of this condition.

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