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ISSUE 19 ARCHIVE - DCI MYTH BUSTED

One of the most common myths that divers believe about DCI is that you must have had a rapid ascent or experienced some significant abnormality during your dive in order to suffer from decompression sickness. In reality the facts are very different; there are a number of contributing factors that can cause DCI and divers can often overlook these, or are simply just not aware of them. To be aware of the facts remember our key rules below:

  1. If you experience any abnormal symptoms, no matter how minor, after finishing a dive then

    always assume that it is because of the dive and be alert for signs of DCI. Common symptoms include:

    • Joint pain

    • Tingling

    • Numbness

    • Fatigue

    • Skin rashes

    • ANY abnormal symptom after diving
  2. You may be at a greater risk of DCI if you are affected by any of the following contributing factors (even if your dive profile has been strictly adhered to, no safety stops have been missed and no rapid ascent has occurred);

    • Exercise at depth

    • Exercise after the dive

    • Physical fitness of the diver

    • Environmental temperature

    • Obesity

    • Dehydration
  3. Most symptoms of DCI occur within about 30 mins to 48 hours after the dive. The onset of limb pain may take a few hours to present.

  4. 98% of cases present within 24 hours after finishing the dive.

  5. Due to the unpredictability of nitrogen in the body, DCI must be treated as an emergency and treated quickly.

If in doubt always call the national 24 hour advice line on 07940 353 816 where you can get immediate and expert advice 24/7. If DCI is suspected you will be directed to your nearest hyperbaric chamber where a dive doctor will assess you further.

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