What You Need to Know about Scuba Diving and Flying
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. So what is the biggest concern when it comes to scuba diving?
Probably flying. 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 scuba diving to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself when you’re getting out there and scuba diving.
Can You Scuba Dive 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? 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 scuba 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.
Can You Fly 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 plan. 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 fly is related to the dangers of decompression sickness.
Getting on a plane 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 between diving and flying. These numbers vary even more when you’re trying to factor in how many dives you did.
The United States Air Force suggests that you wait 24 hours after diving to fly. The U.S. Navy only says two hours. But if you want to be on the safe side, then we’re going to go with the DAN (Divers Alert Network) recommendations.
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 with no decompression necessary, then roughly 18 hours should elapse before you get on the plane.
When it comes to dives with decompression stops, you will have to use your best judgment. However, DAN recommends that 18 hours or more might be prudent. There are no detailed studies in this, however, so the time is up in the air.
Of course, even after following these guidelines, you 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 decompression sickness after their diving adventure. Give yourself the best chance by following the DAN guidelines, but also listen to your body.
What Should You Consider When Flying?
While that last scuba diving might be interesting, you will want to think about how decompression sickness 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 decompression sickness. If you’re already experiencing the symptoms of decompression sickness, then flying will aggravate them and make you feel absolutely miserable. The problem is that it’s hard to tell sometimes when you’re having decompression sickness. 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?
It is safe to fly roughly 12 to 24 hours after diving. This is an average thing. 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. Just because you came out of the water without any ill effects doesn’t mean that flying 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 dive went.