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5-6 September 2000
Report by Andrew
in Dive Log Australasia
divers from Absolute Scuba attended the recent hyperbaric workshop at the Wesley
Hospital in Brisbane. Some of them
had already been for a dry run in the chamber a few weeks before! The following were speakers at the workshop who presented
with great authority on their particular specialty in the field of decompression
illness (DCI) and hyperbaric treatment: -
SE Asia Pacific
general consensus of the panel of speakers was that diving is a very safe
recreation these days compared with other activities. This opinion is based on
the number of DCI cases treated in Australia compared with the total number of
dives per year. One of the main
reasons for this is that most divers now use a dive computer, rather than tables
or nothing at all.
is not uncommon for people to have symptoms of DCI after diving within safe
table limits. There is an element
of chance in that some people are more prone to DCI than others.
There is insufficient data to determine why this is the case, but there
are a number of theories based on observation and experience.
Gender is not a factor. Age
and body weight may be contributing factors.
Like they say, “There are no old, bold divers”.
thing that was very clear is that dehydration is often a contributing factor in
DCI cases. Drinking alcoholic
beverages the night before, seasickness, breathing dry compressed air, swimming
in cold water, to put it politely, will result in your body becoming dehydrated.
In order to minimise the risk, it is very important to hydrate yourself
before and after diving. That is,
drink lots of water!
useful tip was the following brew, which is a very effective hydrator: -
Orange juice 30ml
Half teaspoon salt
contributing factor in DCI cases is exerting yourself immediately after diving.
Heavy exercise can bring on symptoms despite staying within dive safety
was emphasised that immediate treatment with a high percentage of oxygen will
give the victim a better chance for a full recovery.
First aid treatment is to lay the victim flat, administer 100% Oxygen,
and contact a diving emergency service such as DAN (1800 088 200).
Consequently, it is a good idea for all divers to be trained in oxygen
administration (because it is not easy) and to dive with professional dive
operators (since they must always carry oxygen equipment).
point that was made was that the certification agencies are offering a high
standard of training, however the delivery by instructors is highly variable.
Many open water divers know very little about DCI and how to avoid it.
A significant proportion of treated cases are open water (novice) divers
or in the (so called) “advanced” category.
audience took advantage of the panel discussions by asking many questions and
enjoying the repartee. The panel of
experts indicated that the attendees had demonstrating their interest in
advanced diving topics and a willingness to learn, simply by being there.
workshop was held over two nights and covered the subject of Decompression
Illness quickly but comprehensively. Topics
included the following:
dive profiles of Miskita Indians in South America
is causing DCI
of DCI (what happens in your body)
of recording the history
to assist treatment
a long-term member of the Cousteau Society, I like to recall that Captain
Jacques Yves Cousteau was still diving at 75!
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