Many divers have questions regarding health concerns before they take a dive trip.
Whether you use over the counter medications or you suffer from a chronic illness, health concerns can put a damper on a dive trip, and cause unneeded stress on what should be a fun and relaxing adventure.
Naturally, one of the best ways to find out if a condition or health issue will affect a dive is to talk to your doctor, as well as your dive master or instructor, to see if there is cause for concern.
But there are a few common issues or factors that divers need to keep in mind to assure that a diving trip never takes an unexpected and unpleasant turn.
So before you go diving, make sure to keep the following health issues, concerns and general information in mind.
By design, prescription and over-the-counter medications alter how your body performs and functions. As a result, there may be unintended consequences that can negatively affect your dive.
Consider two of the most common drugs for allergies or cold symptoms, antihistamines and decongestants.
Antihistamines are used primarily for allergy relief, but additional side effects.
Side effects can include dryness of the mouth, throat, and nose, blurred vision and especially drowsiness.
All of these effects can have detrimental effects on a diving trip.
Meanwhile, decongestants work by causing a narrowing of the blood vessels to relieve congestion.
As a result, can lead to restlessness, dizziness, weakness or excitability, which are also all problematic on a diving expedition.
So whether you need medication for motion sickness or just the common cold, do your research. Look for active ingredients that can cause problems, and pay close attention to any unpleasant side effects.
If you have regularly recurring issue, like migraines or acid reflux, unexpected environments or factors can cause the problem to resurface at the most inopportune time, like while diving.
Take migraines, for example. Certain foods or aromas, alcoholic beverages, stressful situations and even immersion in water or over-exertion can trigger migraines.
As such, it’s important to consider how a diving trip may potentially affect your condition.
Now, having a medical condition doesn’t mean that you can’t dive. It just means you have to be careful.
Let your diving instructor or dive master know, and be sure and check with your doctor to see if any precautions should be taken to ensure that it’s safe to proceed.
Whether you have a major surgery or a minor procedure, time is essential before you get back into the water.
Something as simple as a wisdom tooth removal can present problems if you plan a dive trip too soon after surgery. Follow the doctor’s directions carefully.
And if applicable, test your equipment and gear after surgery to ensure everything is working comfortably.
For example, after a tooth removal, you may want to make sure you can hold a regulator comfortably for a few minutes to ensure all is working well.
Remember, the longer you wait after you are fully healed, the more likely it is that you can enjoy many more dives in the years to come.
Alcohol stays in your system long after you initially imbibe. And it can take hours or even a full day for your body to be completely free of alcohol after a heavy night of drinking.
Also, being underwater can magnify alcohol’s effects by:
Doesn’t sound like fun, does it? So the night before you dive, make sure you take it easy and drink responsibility.
You can always celebrate after your trip is over, and you’ve returned to your resort or hotel.
A dive is a demanding physical activity, even if it feels relaxed and completely enjoyable. So be sure you are good to yourself in the hours and days leading up to a trip.
Get a good night’s sleep and watch for any jet lag before you go into the water. After your trip, rest easy and try to avoid heavy physical activity.
Hard exercise after very long or deep dives can increase the risk of decompression sickness, so use your time after a dive as an excuse to relax with a good book, or simply lean back on a sunny beach and enjoy yourself.
You know when something doesn’t feel “right” so pay attention to the signals your body is telling you.
By being alert, and speaking up when something is wrong, you’ll be able to have endless enjoyable diving trips in your future.