If scuba diving is on the itinerary for your beach vacation this year, you may want to take some time to read up on the common symptoms of pressure injuries before jumping in with both feet. High waves and foul weather can threaten your scuba plans, but divers can be injured if your body isn’t able to adjust to the increasing and decreasing pressure of the water as you breathe compressed air.
Scuba injuries may be mild. But in some cases, they can cause serious problems or even death.
Symptoms of scuba diving injuries can appear throughout your body. Some are mild, while others are more serious and need treatment right away. Mild symptoms can include pain in your ears, itching, joint pain, and extreme fatigue. More severe symptoms are numbness and tingling in your arms and legs, dizziness, trouble breathing, staggering, trouble seeing, confusion, or losing consciousness.
Divers should call your doctor right away or get other emergency help if you have any symptoms of scuba injuries, even if they seem minor. It’s easy to ignore joint pain and explain it away. But it could be a sign of illness. Sometimes the symptoms go away, but they can come back and get worse.
The best way to prevent scuba diving injuries is to undergo proper training before you die. A dive instructor can tell you how to ascend and descend safely to prevent pain and injury.
Finding a Hyperbaric Chamber Near You
The main treatment for decompression sickness, a common pressure injury from scuba diving, is time in a hyperbaric chamber. In the chamber, you’re exposed to increasing air pressure, which is like the high pressure underwater. The pressure is then slowly reduced, as though you’re coming up from underwater. Treatment in a chamber usually works best if it’s done within 24 hours after the dive.
It’s a good idea to be aware of your treatment options. When you’re traveling to a new scuba location, whether it’s in another state or another country, make sure you learn the nearest hyperbaric treatment centers and care options.
In Hampton Roads, Bon Secours offers two Hyperbaric programs. One is located near Virginia Beach at DePaul Medical Center in Norfolk, Virginia and the other is on the peninsula in Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News, Virginia. For more information about either program call the CARE line at (757) 889-CARE.