Can you go to Dive after Flying? – Flying and Scuba Diving
With the pressure that you are putting your body under when you’re diving, you’ll want to take some extra care with your body.
This means considering what else you’re doing around your diving and making sure that you’re not putting your body through any extra stress. What are the concerns when it comes to scuba diving and flying? Can you go diving after you were flying? How about flying after diving? Let’s find the answers!
While scuba diving takes you into deep pressure, flying takes you to lower pressure areas. Let’s get into what you need to know about flying and diving to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself when you’re getting out there and scuba diving.
Can You go Scuba Diving after Flying?
Some people take vacations to cool places and want to scuba dive as one of their primary activities. But should you scuba dive right after flying?
No correlation of issues on Scuba after you Fly
Luckily for divers, there isn’t a real correlation between any ill effects and diving after flying. You can definitely scuba dive as soon as you land.
However, if you want to be safe and make sure that you’re not going to get decompression sickness, you might want to take a day off before you start diving. Even just giving yourself time to rehydrate after the flight can really reduce the possibility of any ill side effects that you might experience.
It’s usually a good idea to take a 24-hour surface interval before diving after a flight. Overall though, the risk of harm is low if you’re diving after flying.
Can You get on a Flight after Scuba Diving?
Where you should really be concerned is when it comes to diving is when you should stop diving before you get on a plane. You can face some more complications in this direction than you will when scuba diving and flying. The reason why there are suggestions for how long you should wait after diving to get on a flight is related to the dangers of decompression illness.
Getting on a flight and going to altitude too soon after diving can increase your risk because you’re going quickly into even less pressurized areas. What might not have been an issue when you were surfacing after a dive can quickly become a bigger issue when you’re up so high in the air.
When you’re looking for a recommendation, you will find a lot of different advice when it comes to how long you should wait before flying after diving. These numbers vary even more when you’re trying to factor in how many dives you did.
US Air Force Recommendations
The United States Air Force suggests that you wait 24 hours after diving to get on a plane. The U.S. Navy only says two hours. But if you want to be on the safe side before catching a flight after you dive, then we’re going to go with the DAN (Divers Alert Network) recommendations and the time periods they suggest.
How long to wait to Board a Flight after you Dive?
If you go on one dive that requires no decompression, then you should wait 12 hours before getting on a plane.
If you go on multiple dives per day or multiple days of diving with no decompression necessary, then roughly 18 hours to 24 hours should elapse before you catch a flight. Planning a 24-hour surface interval between a dive and a flight is sensible and will keep you safe. Consider the 18 hours as a minimum pre-flight surface interval if you can’t wait 24 hours as suggested before.
When it comes to dives with decompression stops, you will have to use your best judgment. However, the Divers Alert Network recommends that 18 hours to 24 hours or more might be prudent. There are no detailed studies in this, however, so the time you should wait is up in the air. Taking a pause for a 24 hour period does seem realistic and safe though.
If you went repetitive dives within a day or over multiple days then those rules should be adjusted. You might want to wait a day or more before you fly after you went to dive several times within a day or several days in a row.
Can you get the Bends when you Fly after Diving?
Of course, even after following these guidelines, scuba divers can still suffer from decompression sickness. These guidelines are to help you avoid it as much as possible.
In fact, very few people that follow the rule of waiting over 12 hours get the bends after their diving adventure. Give yourself the best chance by following the DAN guidelines, but also listen to your body.
Have your Dive Computer Calculate No-Fly Times
Many modern dive computers can help you calculate no-fly times and give a scuba diver alerts so you know when you can fly again. If you want to be on the safe side then use a dive computer to have it calculate safe times between diving and getting on a plane.
What Should You Consider When Flying after Diving?
While that last dive might be interesting, you will want to think about how decompression illness or injury could affect you. If you’re not smart about what you’re doing, then you can seriously harm yourself.
Even if you give yourself a down day, you might suffer from the bends. If you’re already experiencing the symptoms of decompression sickness, then getting on a plane will aggravate them and make you feel absolutely miserable.
The problem is that it’s hard to tell sometimes when you’re having the bends. The symptoms might feel like typical aches and pains. You might be expecting those because of how much adventuring you’ve been doing during your vacation anyways.
When is it safe to Fly after you Dive?
It is safe to fly roughly 12 to 18 hours, even up to 24 hours after diving. This is an average suggestion and estimation. Make sure that you’re checking yourself for signs of decompression sickness and making sure that you are actually fit to get on a plane and go home.
If you’re experiencing decompression sickness, then you should go to a hospital before trying to return home. Treating the decompression sickness sooner (even if it is an extremely mild case) can make sure that you don’t suffer any permanent ill effects.
What should you avoid?
When you’re diving, you should avoid hopping out of the water and going straight to your plane. Although the Navy recommends only two hours, many other sources suggest over 12 hours. You can also check the Divers Alert Network for further information on catching a flight after you scuba dive.
A safe time would be to have a 24-hour surface interval before you board a plane. Just because you came out of the water without any ill effects doesn’t mean that getting on a plane won’t aggravate your body.
Even if you’re planning on driving and not flying, you should be careful with yourself. What you want to watch out for is the decrease in pressure as you go up in altitude. Decompression illness is a serious condition that you need to watch out for, regardless of how great that last scuba dive went.