Diving medicine, also called undersea and hyperbaric medicine (UHB), is the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of conditions caused by humans entering the undersea environment. It includes the effects on the body of pressure on gases, the diagnosis and treatment of conditions caused by marine hazards and how relationships of a diver’s fitness to dive affect a diver’s safety.
Hyperbaric medicine is a corollary field associated with diving, since recompression in a hyperbaric chamber is used as a treatment for two of the most significant diving related illnesses, decompression illness and arterial gas embolism.
Here’s an overview of some of the most common dive medicine and safety guidelines. Lots of information about diving and boating safety, injuries and illnesses, safety equipment, CPR and first aid, and dive insurance can be found online. Do you research and when in doubt consult with a doctor specializing in dive medicine.
A scuba diver should perform emergency decompression if he accidentally exceeds the no-decompression limit for a dive.
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.
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 barotraumas are the most common injuries experienced by recreational scuba divers. Learn how to recognize, avoid and treat ear barotraumas.
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.
An overview of Decompression Sickness, including causes, types, symptoms, risk factors, prevention, and treatment
The current recommended surface intervals before flying after diving.
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.
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.
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 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.
A detailed frequently asked questions all about dive medicine and safety from the premier dive medical society – DAN (Divers Alert Network).
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.
A detailed overview of dive medicine issues.
A guide to diving medicine from Skin Diver Online.
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.