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10 Pro Tips to Avoid Decompression Sickness That You Shouldn’t Ignore

10 Pro Tips to Avoid Decompression Sickness That You Shouldn’t Ignore
Photos Credits: Kelley Chase

Diving is perhaps one of the most interesting and fascinating sports that enable you to explore the underwater world. There are many types of diving such as wreck diving, cave diving and free diving and each has its own sets of specific precautions that every new or experienced divers need to follow diligently. The most common issue that divers face is decompression sickness (DCS).

What is Decompression Illness?

Decompression sickness is one of scuba diver's worst fear and as a diver, you will experience it at least once in your diving journey. The feeling of skin tingling or joint pain is the manifesto of DCS. 

Decompression illness results from rapid decompression causes nitrogen bubbles to form in the tissues of the body. The symptoms of DCS is pain in the muscles and joints, nausea, cramp, numbness and paralysis.

Here at Aqua Junkies, we are going to share with you 8 ways to minimise decompression sickness that we have gathered from the pro divers that you can follow for your coming dive trip.

How To Avoid Decompression Sickness

1. Never Dive Without a Dive Computer or a Dive Plan

Never ever dive without your dive computer or the very least a dive plan. If you want to avoid decompression illness and stay safe to see another dive, commit some time to your planning. 

Make sure that you have important information such as the depths, water conditions on the dive site. Plan conservatively, know your dive time and have some buffers for unexpected changes such as water current. 

2. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is often one of the common causes of decompression sickness that can be easily prevented by drinking plenty of water.

3. Execute Safety Stop

Always perform safety stop at 5m/15ft taught during the scuba diving courses. It is one of the proven and most efficient way to minimise DCS.

4. Maintan Slow Ascent Rate

With your dive computer, maintain your ascent rate has never been easier. You just need to follow closely and maintain a slow ascent rate.

5. Dont Take Part in Any Exercise After a Dive

Avoid taking part in any form of heavy exercise after a dive. Studies have shown that such activities increases the risk of decompression sickness. Have at least minimal of 1 - 4 hours rest after diving. 

The rule of thumbs is to have longer rest with each longer or deeper dive to allow the body to recover. 

6. Do not Consume Alcohol

Alcohol impairs judgement, causes depression of the central nervous system and reduces reaction time and conordiation. Never ever drink alcohol whatever the reasons are before diving.

Alcohol and diving don't play well together. Additionally, alcohol causes dehydration. It will be wise to avoid alcohol for extended hours after your dive.

7. Don't Dive When Feeling Sick

If you are unwell, postpone your dive. Don't take risk as any illness or injury will increase the chances of DCS. You won't enjoy your dive or performs underwater.

8. Take Every Symptoms Seriously When Diving

If there are telling signs or symptoms of decompression illness, don't ignore. Inform your dive buddy and take the appropriate advice and steps given.

9. Avoid Caffeine Beverages

Avoid caffeine beverages before the dive as it causes dehyration which increase the likelihood of decompression sickness and is diuretic.

If you really in need of one, drink with moderation and flush yourself with more water. 

10. Avoid Fly Immediately After Diving

Do not fly immediately after a dive, have at least a 12 hours break, preferably 24 hours between each dive and flight schedule. The reason is ascending to an altitude immediately after diving can cause decompression sickness due to the change in atmospheric pressure and insufficient time for your body to offgas excess nitrogen.


Decompression illness can be easily avoided if you follow above tips and simple guidelines to have a safe and enjoyable dive trip. 

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