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Scuba Vs Asthma

Travel Forums General Talk Scuba Vs Asthma

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1. Posted by gezred (Budding Member 53 posts) 11y

Does anyone know the final word on this one? I have taken it that people with any form of asthma should never dive (no matter how mild)

My understanding is that breathing in the compressed air may force an asthma attack.
Obviously I'm not asking for concrete medical advice, just if any other people with asthma have dived or have any info or know of anywhere to get info.

Thanks
Lynz x

2. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

I do not have asthma myself, but I did my training (20 years ago) with a father and son who both were asthmatic. At the time, the instructors were hestitant to allow them to do the training for the reason you mentioned. They were able to do the training after submitting documentation about their health and a letter of "recommendation" from their physician.

It is all going to hinge on the severity of your asthma and the frequency of asthmatic episodes. There is a transcript available through the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society called "Are Asthmatics Fit to Dive?"
Asthma and Diving

Equipment and dive medicine is always improving and the concensus of recent - there is no real reason, if the asthma is under control during rigorous exercise on dry land - that diving should not be allowed.

The British Sub-Aqua Club suggests that those with mild, controlled asthma may dive provided that:
• you do not have asthma that is triggered by cold, exercise, stress or emotion
• your asthma is well controlled
• you have not needed to use a reliever inhaler or had any asthma symptoms in the previous 48 hours.
Source - asthma.org.uk

3. Posted by gezred (Budding Member 53 posts) 11y

Thanks very much, this gave me an excellent starting point for research. I have since discovered that I need to assess whether excercise or cold will trigger my asthma. I train twice a week and don't have asthma attacks, so I think I am going to try and get myself as fit as possible and then go and be tested by a doctor.

Cheers for the advice
Lynz x

4. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Hey lynz!

I'm glad the information was helpful!! I'll cross my fingers that all goes well with your "experiement" with the cold and exercise. Diving is a wonderful experience!!!

Have you done any snorkeling anywhere? I ask because, if you have used a snorkel, the resistence breathing through it gives you an idea of the reisitence you would have through a regulator. Granted, you are not breathing dry compressed air - but the feel is quite close. That has been my experience anyway...

Again, good luck and I hope you get the chance to take the training. The nice thing - you will be doing the training in a controlled environment. Help will be an arms-length away. Just be sure the instructors are aware of your asthma.

5. Posted by mally (Respected Member 199 posts) 11y

having experience in this field . it is my opinion that as long as you can return to the surface immidiatly and take your inhailer it could be o.k. but if you are deeper it could cost you your life. the air is different and can trigger an attack. i have know it to do this. remember the inhailer doesn't always work and you might need vetilating and hospitalising. Nothing is guarrenteed to work. Do you want to be in that possition. think of what could happen? and what triggers your asthma. think safe not I want to be with my friends.snorkles are better but even they have there problems. how far would it be for the ambulance. at the end of all this you have to say -it's NOT worth it.

6. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

The guidelines for asthma and diving are quite clear and well-defined. The majority of incidences occur when the (potential) diver has not informed anyone of their medical condition and/or has not consulted their physician and been properly tested. The chances of being turned down for the training are higher than with many other medical conditions, but each has to be taken on a case to case basis.

If Linz follows through with her assessment, testing and an honest discussion of her intentions with her doctor - those things will be the deciding factors. She must also be honest with the instructors and her dive buddies, if and when that time comes. As with anyone who dives, preparation for the dive is as important as the dive itself. Just as Linz wouldn't leave home without her proper medications/inhalers - those items should also be a required part of her gear.

Ultimately, every diver is responsible for taking care of their own health, knowing their limitations, recognising when they are not up to a dive, and the possible risks involved. A recent statistic showed that an asthmatic event occuring while diving is about 1 in 250,000 dives. Of course, no one wants to be the "1", but that's a lot of dive time without incident. (See first link in Post #2 - above.)

Though many of us who dive tend to forget about this - part of the preparation for a dive, whether diving on your own (with a buddy) or going on an orgaized dive with guides, is knowing where the closest decompression chamber is, closest medical assistance knowledgable in dive medicine, and reviewing the basic first aid learned while training.

7. Posted by gezred (Budding Member 53 posts) 11y

Thanks mally.one, I fully understand your concerns and believe me this I why I have never been diving. However, after reading recent research describing how is it possible for some asthmatics to dive, I am keen to try.
I plan on visiting my doctor first and foremost and then hopefully on their recommendations would be able to test dive in the saftey of a pool.
I understand that I probably won't be able to do the vast array of dives that are available to non asthmatics but just to clock up a couple of experiences to be able to say I have done it would be fantastic.
If at any time I am told there is a very high risk to me I won't do it, there is plenty of other things I am keen to do! (keen mountain climber!)

Thanks again Isadora for the advice, I think I would be happy snorkelling if I could'nt dive!

Lynz x

8. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y

Quoting gezred

Thanks mally.one, I fully understand your concerns and believe me this I why I have never been diving. However, after reading recent research describing how is it possible for some asthmatics to dive, I am keen to try.
I plan on visiting my doctor first and foremost and then hopefully on their recommendations would be able to test dive in the saftey of a pool.
I understand that I probably won't be able to do the vast array of dives that are available to non asthmatics but just to clock up a couple of experiences to be able to say I have done it would be fantastic.
If at any time I am told there is a very high risk to me I won't do it, there is plenty of other things I am keen to do! (keen mountain climber!)

Thanks again Isadora for the advice, I think I would be happy snorkelling if I could'nt dive!

Lynz x

First, Mally - I apologize if my last post sounded argumentative. (I just reread it...) Before anything is taken the wrong way, I also understood what you meant and they are very valid concerns and thanks for bringing them to Lynz's attention. When medical conditions may have an impact on anyone's desired activity - all aspects must be taken into consideration.

Linz - I can enjoy a dive in a pool almost as much as a dive in open water - seriously. Though many seasoned divers will pontificate about deep dives, nitrox dives and a whole array of other dives - most will also agree that the best dives can be had in 25 feet of water. That's where the cleaning stations are and some of the most beautiful reef formations I have seen in my dive time. It's also a quick trip to the surface without decompression worries. I also find snorkeling just as amazing as any dive I have done. I have seen things snorkeling that I wouldn't have seen diving because the water was too shallow. Each is it's own perfect little experience.

Mountain climbing? Go for that too! I'm stay down here and watch. I'm afraid of heights over 6 feet but not of depths to 100! No matter what you can or can not do - at least you can say you tried! that's the most important thing! ;)

9. Posted by mally (Respected Member 199 posts) 11y

it can be just a little bit of panick that sets you off and with the nose clip you'll feel like your breathing through a straw . years ago it was a very quick rush to the hospital and pumped with omnipon( not quite sure of the spelling) this can happen to anyone that has had asthma. even after years without. i would recomend go but don't go out of sight and nothing too deep. after all asthma sufferers do very well swimming and lots of sport people have inhailers! do what you feel comfortable with and always play safe. you will find the swimming will do your lungs a world of good-
I could swim for hours under water but that was just holding my breath (yes i did come up every couple 0f minutes)
theres nothing like it and so relaxing.

10. Posted by gezred (Budding Member 53 posts) 11y

Thanks to you both for all the advice, I feel a lot more informed now, and have a good idea about what to do next. I will be doing alot more research over the coming months.

Regards
Lynz x:)