Dive Medicine & Safety
Is Scuba Diving Safe or Dangerous?
Is scuba diving a safe activity? Read statistics and facts to put the risks of diving in perspective. Scuba diving is not dangerous if simple safety guidelines and procedures are followed.
Scuba divers should always fly a dive flag at dive sites where boat traffic is a possibility. Learn about the different types of dive flags and when to use them.
Why Does Scuba Diving Make You Need to Pee in Your Wetsuit?
Scuba divers commonly feel the need to pee in their wetsuits. This is a normal reaction to the underwater environment. Cold water immersion diaresis and the weightlessness of being underwater combine to increase a diver's urine production.
Decongestants and Scuba Diving
Can you scuba dive with decongestants? It may be safe to scuba dive with decongestants, but there are several points a diver should take under consideration before deciding whether or not to use medication underwater.
Little Bubbles Become Big Bubbles
Small bubbles leaking from a piece of scuba diving equipment indicated that a seal or o-ring is likely to fail. Divers who notice a small bubbles coming from a piece of dive gear should take care to fix the leak before continuing to dive with the gear.
Oxygen First Aid - Recommended For Scuba Diving Injuries
Adminstration of 100% pure oxygen is the recommended first aid for nearly any scuba diving injury or accident. Breathing pure oxygen on the surface will help to treat decompression sickness, arterial gas embolism, pulmonary barotrauma, and near drowinings.
What Is the Maximum Safe Ascent Rate for Scuba Diving?
What is the maximum safe ascent rate for scuba diving? Some diving organizations list the maximum safe ascent rate as 30 feet per a minute, while others list it as 60 feet per a minute. What is the safest ascent rate?
Can You Vomit Underwater While Scuba Diving?
Can you vomit or throw up underwater. If you get seasick on boats, you maybe worried about getting seasick underwater. While becoming seasick underwater is highly unlikely, here is information that scuba divers should know about vomiting underwater.
Salt Water Aspiration and Scuba Diving
Salt water aspiration syndrome is a rare condition occasionally observed in scuba divers who inhale a small amount of salt water. Most cases are preventable with proper gear maintenance and good diving protocols.
Mask Squeeze - Red Eyes and Bruised Cheeks After Scuba Diving
To prevent mask squeeze, a scuba diver must equalize the air space inside his scuba mask during descent by exhaling periodically through his nose. Doing so will prevent the mask from suctioning onto his face, which can cause bruising of his cheeks, forehead, and eyeballs.
How to Vomit On a Scuba Trip Without Alienating Everyone
Vomiting on a scuba diving trip is horrible. Being sea sick is even worse if you manage to vomit in such a way as to alienate the crew and your fellow divers. Here is advice on how to throw up in the least obtrusive way possible.
Guidelines for Handling Seasickness in the Water Before and After A Dive
Have you ever felt seasick on the surface before or after a dive? Here are tips on how to politely and safely handle seasickness and vomiting when floating on the surface of the water.
Alternobaric Vertigo and Scuba Diving
Alternobaric vertigo is a common type of vertigo experienced when scuba diving. Thankfully, it lasts a short period of time and resolves on its own. Here are tips for dealing with alternobaric vertigo and dizziness underwater.
Poor Eyesight and Scuba - Diving With Corrective Lenses & Post-Eye Surgery
Can people with poor eyesight scuba dive? Absolutely! Divers may use prescription masks, soft contact lenses, stick-in bifocals, and even laser eye surgery to ensure clear vision underwater.
Nitrogen Narcosis and Scuba Diving Part I - What Is Narcosis, How Does It Feel?
Nitrogen narcosis effects most scuba divers at depths below 100 feet. Also known as inert gas narcosis, rapture of the deep, and the martini effect, nitrogen narcosis can be dangerous to divers. Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment for nitrogen narcosis here.
Decompression Sickness vs Nitrogen Narcosis - What's the Difference?
In scuba diving, nitrogen narcosis and decompression sickness are both caused by nitrogen gas. However, the two conditions have very different symptoms and treatments. Learn the difference between nitrogen narcosis and decompression sickness in scuba diving.
Open Tank Valves Fully
Are you still turning your your tank valves 1/4 turn back before diving? This practice could be dangerous! Here is information about this antiquated technique.
Nitrogen Narcosis and Scuba Diving Part II - How to Avoid or Reduce Narcosis
A diver who experiences nitrogen narcosis should ascend until the narcosis subsides. Learn tricks to avoid and reduce nitrogen narcosis here.
The Golden Rule of Scuba Diving
The golden rule of scuba diving states that any diver can end the dive for any reason, no questions asked! This important rule is frequently overlooked in the recreational diving community.
8 Tips for Being a Better Dive Buddy
Why is the buddy system important in scuba diving, and how can recreational scuba divers use the buddy system to stay safe underwater? Here are 8 tips for effectively using the buddy system on every dive.
Can You Scuba Dive With Breast Implants?
Can you scuba dive with breast implants? Yes, after an appropriate recovery time, scuba diving after a breast augmentation surgery is safe. How do breast implants affect buoyancy? Do breast implants compress underwater? Read more here.
What Are the Emergency Decompression Guidelines for Recreational Diving?
What are the emergency decompression rules for recreational scuba diving?
Carbon Dioxide and Scuba Diving
High levels of carbon dioxide (hypercapnia) can cause a variety of dangerous symptoms in scuba divers, such as narcosis and unconsciousness. A diver can avoid these risks by following safe diving practices and avoiding behavior that may predispose him to hypercapnia.
Sawtooth Dive Profiles in Scuba Diving
A sawtooth dive profile is a dive profile in which a diver repeatedly ascends and descends throughout the dive. Sawtooth dive profiles can be very dangerous because they increase a diver's chance of decompression illness.
Oxygen Toxicity and Scuba Diving
An awareness of the risks of diving makes us all safer divers by educating us as to the origin of diving rules and encouraging us to follow safe diving guidelines. Oxygen toxicity, like most other potential dangers in scuba diving, is easy to avoid – simply understand the risk and dive within the limits of your training!
Skin bends, or cutaneous decompression sickness, is a frequently overlooked form of decompression sickness in scuba divers. Divers should be able to recognize the common signs and symptoms of skin bends as they may require treatment and can precede other, more serious types of decompression sickness.
Ear Barotrauma - The Most Common Scuba Diving Injury
Ear barotraumas are the most common injuries experienced by recreational scuba divers. Learn how to recognize, avoid and treat ear barotraumas.
Scuba Tip: Always Purge Your Regulator After Closing Your Tank Valve
One of the best tips I was ever given as a new scuba diver was to always purge your regulator after closing your tank valve. This avoids a potentially deadly situation.
Reverse Block and Scuba Diving
What is a reverse block in scuba diving? If a diver experiences increased pressure in his ears during ascent, the worst thing he can do is to continue to go up.
Pulmonary Barotrauma and Scuba Diving
Every scuba diver is at risk of a pulmonary barotrauma if he holds his breath underwater. However, other conditions and actions can also cause this life-threatening injury. Learn more about how scuba divers can avoid a pulmonary barotrauma here.
All About Decompression Sickness
An overview of Decompression Sickness, including causes, types, symptoms, risk factors, prevention, and treatment.
Current Flying After Diving Guidelines
The current recommended surface intervals before flying after diving.
Ear Equalization Basics
How do scuba divers equalize their ear pressure to avoid ear pain when diving? Learn about the Valsalva maneuver and other ear equalization techniques, as well as how to deal with common equalization problems.
Patent Foramen Ovale and Diving
What is a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) and why might it increase a diver's chance of decompression illness or DCI? A patent foramen ovale is a hole in a diver's heart that has not properly closed during development. Up to a third of divers have this condition, which may increase the risk of decompression illness.
Asthma and Scuba Diving
Can asthma sufferers scuba dive? It can be extremely dangerous for some asthmatics to dive. Learn why asthma is sometimes a contraindication for scuba diving.
DAN - Divers Alert Network
DAN is a not-for-profit 501(C)(3) organization that provides emergency medical advice and assistance for underwater diving injuries, and underwrites a wide range of research, education and training programs that promote safe diving.
Dive Medicine Frequently Asked Questions
A detailed frequently asked questions all about dive medicine and safety from the premier dive medical society - DAN (Divers Alert Network).
Doc's Diving Medicine
Dedicated to Undersea Medicine and to issues of diving safety for both sport and professional divers
UMA is an educational organization devoted to diving medicine. At our web site you can register for the Temple Underwater Medicine 2000 program, read about diving medicine, check out new diving medicine textbooks, and look at other diving web sites. See our new Underwater Art section for interesting underwater photography.
Scubadoc's Diving Medicine
A detailed overview of dive medicine issues.
Skin Diver Online: Scuba Med
A guide to diving medicine from Skin Diver Online.
Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society
The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) is an international, non-profit organization serving 2,500 members from more than 50 countries. The UHMS is the primary source of scientific information for diving and hyperbaric medicine physiology worldwide.