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Health and Safety in Scuba Diving

Check through any of the online health resources for diver safety and you will find a long list of medical conditions that can stop you from going scuba diving.

This collection of scuba diving safety regulations contains essential information about the medical contraindications that new and experienced divers need to know.

4 Key Safety Factors of Underwater Diving

In general, there are four factors that influence (or may interfere with) the safety of underwater divers:

  1. Environment
  2. Equipment
  3. Diver behaviour
  4. Dive team performance

For example, underwater environments impose 'uncontrollable' physical and psychological stressors on scuba divers.

Furthermore, all participants use specialised scuba diving equipment to operate underwater. Thus, the reliability of its function is essential for the survival of the user.

Scuba divers need to learn new skills and techniques before they can perform well under pressure. So, attention to detail, competence, and effective communication underwater will determine the overall performance of a team (not intuition).

Safety Rules for Scuba Diving

Many consider recreational diving as being a self-governing sport. Yet, there is a set of industry-wide rules that all participants should follow, including:

Pro Tip: The 24-hour DAN Emergency Hotline number is +1-919-684-9111. It operates every hour of every day in preparation of helping scuba divers when they need it most.

What Health Conditions Stop You from Scuba Diving?

Certain diseases, and some severe health problems, are direct contraindications for scuba diving. As a result, there are some common questions you may need to ask your doctor before you make any in-water activities with scuba, including:

Note: The following scuba diving health and safety guidelines and information comes from dive medical reference books and other resources that are commonly available to the general public.

Appendectomy and Scuba Diving

Generally speaking, having the appendix removed is not a contraindication for future scuba diving activities because an appendectomy for a septic appendix is typically completely curative.

So now you may be asking, when can I go back to diving after an appendectomy? If so, this help guide will answer the question.

Asthma and Diving Guidelines

The chronic respiratory disorder that affects asthmatics results in breathing difficulties (e.g. wheezing) in response to inflammation and narrowing of the bronchi (breathing tubes).

This guide explains why controlling the associated risks of asthma and scuba diving is an important factor in determining whether someone with the condition is allowed to dive.

Cardiac Pacemakers

Some divers have a tiny battery-powered medical device to generate electrical pulses to the heart muscle, such as when the sinoatrial (SA) node fails to work as it should.

So, if you are trying to determine... is it safe to go scuba diving with a pacemaker, you will find the answer right here in these current health and safety guidelines.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Open release surgery can make more room for the median nerve and tendons to move freely in the narrow passageway of the wrist.

But, the determining factor of how soon you can return to diving after carpal tunnel surgery will be for how long the nerve has been compressed.

Diabetes and Scuba Diving

Until quite recently (2005), the guidelines for divers with diabetes mellitus (DM) were somewhat confusing. In fact, there used to be a blanket ban imposed for all diabetics in diving.

This help guide explains how the latest changes affect diabetes and scuba diving, especially for divers who are able to manage their condition.

Dive Boat Fire Safety

The incident rates and fatalities caused by fires on watercraft are low. Yet, most boat fires are preventable if the crew are properly trained and firefighting equipment is available.

This segment outlines dive boat fire safety guidelines, especially on liveaboard vessels, and how to safely evacuate a burning boat.

Ear Plugs and Scuba Diving

There are some valid reasons for inserting earplugs into the ears, such as to block out noise and prevent a condition known as 'swimmer's ear'.

Still, this guide explains why dive safety organisations do not endorse or encourage using ear plugs when scuba diving (including the Divers Alert Network).

Enlarged Prostate (UroLift Procedure)

There is a minimal invasive surgical solution for scuba divers to get rapid improvements of BPH symptoms, and it can take place without the need for inpatient invasive surgical intervention.

The medical guidelines in this section explain how long it may take to recover from UroLift BPH procedure and what restrictions you may face before you can dive again.

High Blood Pressure

The health risks associated with hypertension (higher than 'normal' blood pressure readings) is a medical condition that also affects some scuba divers.

This information will help you to determine whether you can go scuba diving with hypertension and what additional dangers taking anithypertensive drugs may pose.

High-Pressure Ophthalmology

High eye pressure is not a common medical issue in diving. Nonetheless, there are several types of retinal complications that divers should be aware of.

The information in this guide explains the links between personal eye health and scuba diving, with some simple answers to popular questions from beginners.

Low Platelets

There are several medical risks associated with low platelet levels (thrombocytopenia), such as excessive bleeding and ecchymosis (bruising).

This guide explains the recommended guidelines for low platelet count and scuba diving, and why anemia can cause serious issues underwater.

Uvulitis (Swollen Uvula)

There are several common reasons why some divers experience a dry mouth or a sore throat after making a dive, such as repeated swallowing or breathing dry air from a scuba tank.

But, having a swollen uvula after scuba diving calls for extra scrutiny. This guide highlights some probable causes of severe dryness in the mouth with tips for divers who find it difficult to swallow.

Related Information and Help Guides

The short video [1:33 seconds] presented by DAN explains how they help divers, dive professionals, and health care providers stay safer and better prepared.

Disclaimer: Scuba diving has inherent risks, including the risk of serious injury and death. The content in this website is not a substitute for specialised training, using the proper equipment, and gaining all the necessary experience and knowledge to go diving. Please read the full terms and conditions for further details.

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