Scuba Diving Hazards

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Everyone knows that scuba diving is a risky sport, but few know the hazards that divers must contend with. To be safe while scuba diving, a diver must be familiar with these hazards and know how to …

Everyone knows that scuba diving is a risky sport, but few know the hazards that divers must contend with. To be safe while scuba diving, a diver must be familiar with these hazards and know how to prevent them.

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  • 1. SCUBA DIVING HAZARDS
  • 2. AN ARTICLE BY WORLD-DIVE.COM © 2013 World-Dive.com
  • 3. Everyone knows that scuba diving is a risky sport, but few know the hazards that divers must contend with. To be safe while scuba diving, a diver must be familiar with these hazards and know how to prevent them. Here are some of the risks that every diver must know how to deal with: 1) Too little oxygen in the tank. When the breathing apparatus is faulty or the tank doesn’t contain enough oxygen, the diver may suffer from hypoxia or lack of oxygen in the tissues. This could lead to loss of consciousness, coma, or even death. To prevent this from happening, proper maintenance of diving equipment and routine inspection of cylinders are crucial. 2) Salt water aspiration syndrome. This occurs when the diver inhales some saltwater spray through a faulty demand valve. Symptoms include coughing after diving (which may be with or without sputum), shivering, headaches, nausea or vomiting, and difficulty in breathing. In serious cases, the sputum may even be tinged with blood. To prevent salt water aspiration syndrome, proper maintenance of the demand valve is a must. It is also
  • 4. important to test the valve before using it. There is a breathing technique that you can use if the valve malfunctions while using it. This technique requires you to inhale slowly and use your tongue to ward off spray particles. 3) Burst or stretched eardrum When the diver fails to clear his or her Eustachian tube, he or she could suffer from a burst or stretched eardrum. This happens when the pressure in the middle ear is not equal to the external pressure. You can prevent this from happening by clearing your ears before and during the descent. There are various ways to clear the ears such as yawning, swallowing, and the Toynbee maneuver (swallowing while pinching the nose). 4) Pulmonary barotrauma (lung injury due to overexpansion) This is a condition where the lung tissue ruptures, letting air into the blood vessels, tissues, or cavities. This could result in serious medical conditions such as pneumothorax (air in the pleural cavity) and arterial gas embolism (the presence of air in the bloodstream which blocks small blood vessels). This occurs when the diver fails to release expanding air while he or she ascends. To prevent this lung injury,
  • 5. never hold their breath while ascending with their breathing apparatus. 5) "The Bends" (decompression sickness) This occurs when gas bubbles expand and injure tissues or when gas bubbles cause emboli and cut off blood supply. This is caused by a decrease in ambient pressure when a diver ascends from a highpressure environment. You can prevent decompression sickness by not going beyond the ascent rate of 10 meters per minute and by following a decompression schedule. Such a schedule tells you when to ascend and at what particular depth and to stay there until enough gas has been eliminated so you can safely continue to ascend to the surface. Scuba Diving Hazards