10 tips to lower the risk of medical problems while scuba diving

Heavy medical problems are not very common in recreational scuba diving. Worldwide there are about 100 deaths reported related to scuba diving accidents every year. But keep in mind there are a few million dives each year, so actually the risk is very low you'll be involved in a scuba diving accident.

Most medical complaints of scuba diving are squeezes which cause pain in your ears. The reason that you’re feeling pain is a combination of the difference in pressure between the air spaces of your ears and the higher water pressure while descending.

It’s essential as a beginner to gain as much knowledge as possible about scuba diving health to reduce the risk you’re involved in an accident. In this article, I try to make clear how you can dive safely.

10 tips to save your life

1. It’s essential that you never hold your breath while ascending to the surface. It’s important that you ascend slowly and breath normal. If you don’t follow this rule there’s a chance your lungs explode! Also, make sure you don’t miss a decompression stop.

2. If you’re descending you must equalize both your mask and ears smoothly. The discomfort is caused by the water pressure on your ears. We're lucky our bodies are designed to adjust to different water pressures.

3. Don’t fly too soon after scuba diving. The pressure in the air is very different compared to underwater. There’s a chance you get decompression sickness if you don’t wait long enough to fly back home. Don’t dive at least 12 hours before you fly for a dive within the no-decompression limits. If you’ve dived several times/days you should wait at least 18 hours. If decompression stops were necessary during your dive you should always wait 24 hours. These preflight surface intervals don’t exclude decompression sickness (DCS). Longer intervals will further reduce the risk of DCS. Although you can't fly too soon after scuba diving, you can go scuba diving right after flying.

4. Never touch the flora and fauna underwater. By touching coral and plants you could damage them. Besides that, you can injure yourself by touching something which seems to be a stone but later turned out to be a stonefish.

5. Make sure you’re in good physical shape. Don’t dive when you’ve had a party the night before. Alcohol in your blood can be dangerous while diving.

6. Never dive without a buddy. The buddy system ensures more safety for unforeseen circumstances. If your tanks are running out of air or if you are entangled with something, a dive buddy is a blessing.

7. Learn which hazards to avoid underwater to prevent injuries. Be informed about the underwater area and its dangers.

8. Stay calm underwater if you get confused or scared. Analyze the problem and try to warn your dive buddy or master.

9. Don’t dive if you are taking medication unless your physician tells you it’s safe.

10. If you’ve certain medical problems scuba diving can be dangerous. Ask a physician who knows about diving whether it’s safe to dive or not.

But please, if you’re in pain after a dive or you don't feel well you should always go to an emergency room immediately.

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