Skip Navigation

Flying after being treated for decompression sickness

Travel Forums General Talk Flying after being treated for decompression sickness

  • 1
  • 2

Last Post

1. Posted by Dani girl (Budding Member 49 posts) 9y

I was recently hospitalised with a mild case of decompression sickness following a diving accident. I wasn't treated in a chamber as the nearest was thousands of kilometres away and the doctors considered that the risks of the chamber could outweigh the benefits I would get from being treated in one. My treatment therefore consisted of breathing 100% oxygen for two days and then being under observation in hospital for a further day.

It's just over a month since the incident now and I still have tingling mainly in my fingers and toes. I have since travelled....only overland though. I recently travelled to some very low level mountains (1000 metres) and wound up feeling pretty terrible...nauseous and I thought I would visit my closest hyperbaric unit to ask their advice. They advised me it would be impossible to say whether the nausea was connected...they suggested it could be travel sickness, something I ate, heat etc. They also advised me that it was normal for the tingling to persist for 3 to 6 months. When I asked them whether it would be advisable to fly while I still have symptoms, they said it is impossible to say how any particular individual will react that I could be quite ill and it could be very unpleasant but it wasn't dangerous as such. I have since read around a little and can't particularly find any concrete guidelines. It seems this is very dependent on the particular individual. But this leaves me in a bit of quandry.

So, anyway, I was wondering if anyone has had an similar experiences. What did you decide to do and how did you decide? I'm still a long long way from home (I'm in Australia and from the UK) and I would like to get back at some point though it's not hugely urgent that I get back immediately. Does anyone else have any tips? Any suggestions, gratefully accepted. Also any help on how to relax? This experience has frazzled my nerves somewhat..

Many thanks,

2. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 9y

Hi Dani,
maybe you schould try to contact people who are experts with decompression problems before you enter a aireplane.
I can give you only the info about one forum where divers are posting about diving on Bonaire,but since here is a decompression chamber I'm almost sure somebody expirienced will or can give you usefull information.
take care,

3. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 9y

I would agree totally with Marlis Danni - take secondary advice or ask to be put in touch with experts to set you mind at ease.

As for relaxation - l find lavender a good relaxant - l pop a few drops onto my pillow before going to bed and it helps aid sleep. The usual - stay away from caffine bed, long baths, maybe yoga if you are into that. I personally find reading a great way to unwind. Or if you able to go for a theraputic massage or to a spa from some treatments - reflexology is another good one - myself and some friends went for some treatments and the girl who got reflexology almost had to be carried home she was so relaxed!

Good luck with the decompression sickness and l hope you are feeling much better soon.


4. Posted by Dani girl (Budding Member 49 posts) 9y

Thanks Marlis,

I hadn't heard of that site so that's a big help, thank you!

5. Posted by Dani girl (Budding Member 49 posts) 9y

Thanks for the kind words and the advice on relaxation Heather. I have booked myself in for a massage on Monday!!!!

Which part of NI are you from? I was living in Belfast for three years before setting of travelling. I loved it..very hard to leave!

6. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 9y

Dani - have you contated Divers Alert Network (DAN)?? They should be abe to give you the latest information and safety advice for your situation. You do not have to join to ask them questions.

Here is the contact information for the Internation DAN Affiliates. I highly recommend getting in touch before boarding a plane.

Sorry I can't help with personal experience as I have never suffered decompression sickness. Good luck and I hope you find the answers to your questions. ;)

7. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 9y

Hi Dani girl,
while looking at postings at bonairetalk I found this.
the have a hotline.
Please dont fly or go to higher altitudes as long you are not sure about your deco sickness.
I will also ask friends of mine which are at the deco chamber treatment team about it.
Dive operation in Australia schould know where you could get a propper treatment,please take it serious,as a diver you know what deco sickness can do to your body.

8. Posted by Dani girl (Budding Member 49 posts) 9y

Thanks for the info Isadora and Marlis. I think I may have looked at DAN before. I'm pretty certain that their recommendations weren't very conservative, i.e. you can fly quite soon after being treated.

I did visit a hospital with doctors specialising in diving injuries and the answer they gave me was unfortunately very non-committal...'we wouldn't advise you to fly or not to could be ill if you fly but it's impossible to predict how any individual will react', etc etc.

Marlis, if you could ask your friends who work in the field that would be very much appreciated. I would be interested to see if they say the same thing!

I really have been left with no idea what to do really...maybe that's just the nature of the beast but I would love to be able to make any decision with all the information that's out there.

Thanks again for the concern. Very much appreciated,
Dani :)

9. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 9y

Hi Dani,
sure I will ask my friends for you.
till I give you a new post will take a while,because of the time difference,but I will post asap.
take care,

10. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 9y

Dani - if you don't mind my asking, what type of diving accident was it? And, did the doctors who treated you say if it was neulogoical DCI?