Winter Diving

I never dive with a “ cold “ or even the symptoms ! That’s a comment  you hear a lot, but it is interesting to know that 90 % of Barotrauma injuries are caused by the inability to equalise,  due to the onset of a cold or even just the symptoms.

When you get the beginning or the end of cold symptoms, you may feel that just popping a tablet will work as well under water as it does on the surface. This assumption could cause you a great deal of pain and even the expense of a Ear Nose and Throat Specialist, this should be avoided if possible. When you get symptoms, your Eustachian tubes are the first area to play up, by this I mean as far as diving is concerned. The tubes get a coating of mucous, much the same way as a straw does when you drink a milkshake. At first this appears quite harmless and of cause if you are not going to go to where the atmospheric pressure will increase then you wont even notice this, but if you do decide to risk a dive, well then you open yourself up to injury.

As you descend on your dive the pressure that you would normally equalise, can cause the eustachin tubes to squeeze together and cause a blockage, normally you would just ascend a little until this pressure was decreased and the tube would open, but if you have mucous in the tubes it will act as an adhesive, so when you attempt to ascend you will have an air space that cannot be equalised and therefore places you at risk of any number of Barotrauma injuries. This could result in a perforated eardrum, rupture of the oval window, rupture of the round window or even a rupture of the euastachin tube. All of these conditions could result in at least six months out of the water as well as the pain and expense of treatment.
So next time you don’t quite feel 100 % have a think about the possible consequence’s of the dive, hey it’s only one dive is it worth injuring yourself?