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Decompression Sickness

 

Decompression sickness is a condition where gases, especially nitrogen, dissolved in the blood, form bubbles in the body tissue and bloodstream.

Causes

  • Moving from very high to low pressure in a very short period of time
  • Moving from a lower to higher altitude in a very short period of time
  • Extremely deep and prolonged dives
  • Multiple dives without adequate rest
  • Flying immediately after diving

Symptoms

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Body rash
  • Vertigo
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Tingling or weakness in the limbs
  • Paralysis
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

Treatment

  • Breathing 100% oxygen as first aid
  • Recompression therapy in a chamber of high pressure which is reduced gradually to help the extra gases escape from the body

Prevention

  • Ascending slowly after diving
  • Taking adequate decompression stops in case of a deep dive
  • Avoiding multiple dives without adequate rest
  • Avoiding flying immediately after a dive
  • Avoiding exercising before or after 12 hours of diving