scuba diving certification

Things You Should Never Do Immediately After Diving

Here at SPE Dive School, we have been teaching safe diving practices for over 50 years. This experience allows us to delve into the essential precautions every diver should take after their underwater adventure. From seasoned enthusiasts to novices, discover the key steps to safeguard your health and enjoyment. In this post, we uncover 5 crucial pointers to remember after scuba diving adventure.

Pointers

  1. Drinking
  2. Exercising
  3. Elevated altitudes
  4. Hot temperature
  5. Skipping surface interval

Drinking

As you may already know, allowing your body sufficient time to eliminate absorbed nitrogen is crucial post-dive. Avoiding anything that hampers this process is essential. Alcohol consumption accelerates dehydration, heightening the potential for decompression sickness.

To mitigate these risks, it’s advisable to refrain from combining alcohol with scuba diving. However, if you choose to drink after diving, wait several hours and ensure proper hydration beforehand.

Exercising

The next crucial guideline for scuba enthusiasts is to refrain from exercising immediately after diving. Engaging in physical activities involving intense muscle use or rapid limb movement can heighten the risk of decompression sickness. Examples of such activities include:

  • Weight training sessions at the gym
  • Swimming or running post-dive
  • Participating in sports such as beach volleyball or soccer
  • Even dancing in some cases

According to the Divers Alert Network (DAN), researchers advise waiting at least 4-6 hours before exercising following a dive. Previously, the recommended time frame was 24 hours, but this is now deemed impractical. Naturally, the longer the interval between diving and exercise, the lower the risk of decompression sickness, as with many other activities on this list.

Elevated altitudes

Flying or driving to high altitudes after scuba diving poses significant risks, as pressure changes can affect the release of nitrogen from your body tissues. This could potentially leading to decompression sickness (DCS). The pressure inside an airplane cabin decreases as altitude increases, similar to a rapid ascent during diving. The longer and deeper the dive, the more nitrogen is absorbed into your system, and ascending too quickly can cause nitrogen bubbles to form, resulting in DCS, also known as “the bends.”

To minimize these risks, it’s crucial to wait before flying or driving to high altitudes after diving. As a general rule, experts recommend a 24-hour surface interval before flying to allow for the safe release of nitrogen. Similarly, driving or hiking to high altitudes should be avoided within the first 24 hours post-dive to reduce the risk of DCS.

If combining mountain climbing and diving on the same trip, it’s advisable to prioritize mountain climbing first in order to minimize potential DCS risk. After climbing or hiking, ensure adequate rest and hydration before moving on to your dive.

Other High-Altitude Activities to Avoid for 24+ Hours After Diving

  1. Parachute jumping or skydiving
  2. Paragliding
  3. Parasailing
  4. Skiing or snowboarding
  5. Air ballooning

Hot temperatures

As the body heats up and circulation enhances, the likelihood of bubble formation also rises. According to insights from the Divers Alert Network:

Since the solubility of gas is inversely related to temperature, tissues will hold less in solution as they warm. Warming tissues with significant gas loads can promote bubble formation.

https://dan.org/health-medicine/health-resources/diseases-conditions/hot-tubs-after-diving/

When you transition to a hot shower, hot tub or sauna immediately after a dive, especially following a colder dive, tissue warming precedes increased blood flow. Consequently, bubbles may develop more rapidly than circulation can safely remove them, elevating the risk of decompression sickness.

Skipping surface interval

Scuba diving can be incredibly addictive. After resurfacing from an exhilarating dive, surrounded by captivating marine creatures, the temptation to plunge back into the depths for another adventure can be irresistible.

However, it’s crucial to understand that your surface interval is non-negotiable. Following a dive, your body still retains nitrogen. Due to this, you require time for nitrogen to dissipate sufficiently in order to safely undertake another dive. The duration for the interval varies depending on factors such as the depth, duration of your previous dive, as well as your next dive. Skipping the necessary surface interval heightens the risk of decompression sickness.

Moreover, taking a surface interval provides an ideal opportunity to explore the topside wonders, swap stories with fellow divers, and indulge in much-needed relaxation before your next underwater excursion.

Conclusion

Wrapping up your scuba diving adventure, it’s crucial to follow key precautions: avoid alcohol, delay intense exercise, wait before traveling to high altitudes, avoid hot temperatures, and respect the necessary surface interval. By prioritizing safety, you not only protect your health but also enhance your diving experience. With over 50 years of experience, SPE Dive School emphasizes these precautions for divers of all levels, ensuring each dive remains safe and enjoyable. Explore our website to find out more about us or just show up to one of our free orientation time slots.