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Discussion in 'Diving Medicine Q&A' started by indydivegal, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. indydivegal

    indydivegal Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
    1,862
    5
    Okay, while talking with a co-worker who has a bit of an interest in trying diving out we discussed how she could "rent" equipment to see if she liked diving before buying the expensive gear. She sat there and poundered before asking me a delicate question, which of course not being a medical person, I have no answers for her. I knew there would be someone on board here that might have the info, so here is the question.

    When renting gear (ie regulators, wetsuits, hoods and gloves) what are the precautions taken to ensure diseases are not passed from one to another, i.e. regulators and hoses breathing through them? Wetsuits (even though you wear bathing suits) what about skin issues and bacterial transfers? Same with hood and gloves.

    I know I rented gear for a long period of time before purchasing anything and I don't recall have any issues, but the more I think about it the more I am wondering. I want to eventually recruit some of my family and friends into diving and would like to be able to have answers for out of the ordinary questions such as this. Thanks for your input!!!
     
  2. meesier42

    meesier42 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kennewick, WA
    1,364
    131
    hoses, tanks, etc only really get clean air through them so there aren't any issues that I know of there.
    Regulators, many shops (can't guess at how many) do sterilize the mouthpieces and second stages.

    never seen anyone that does the same for wetsuits.
     
  3. nereas

    nereas Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Expat Floridian travelling in the Land of Eternal
    2,735
    6
    If you swish the "mouthpiece" (now duly called 'second-stage regulator') around in the pool, that should clean it for you. The chlorine kills everything it touches.

    That issue comes up as well anytime you practice air sharing off someone else's regulator assembly. Yuk! I hated that, as well.

    For the wetsuit, you can take that home and run it through the gentle cycle in your washer (turning it inside-out first), then hang it out to dry over the shower curtain. That will wash out any lingering urine or bacteria. The gentle agitation of the washer works well for this, better than just soaking.

    The only sure fire way to ensure hygene is to buy your own stuff, ultimately.

    Your friend will still need to buy some basic items, which varies from store to store. When I first learned how to dive, I rented everything. It was a college course, and they had everything in stock to rent, even masks and snorkels. Then afterwards, I bought a complete wetsuit. Back in those days, I had never heard of a drysuit. I am not sure they were even making drysuits yet. I have seen photos of early era drysuits, but I never knew where to get them in stores back then. Beaver-tail wetsuits used to be the only thing available.

    Mask, fins, snorkel, boots, gloves, hood, and weight belt are common items that some stores require you to buy on your own. However other stores may supply some of these as rental items. It all depends on the store.
     
  4. DeepSeaExplorer

    DeepSeaExplorer Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Cave Country
    1,257
    420
    Some shops now rent regulators without the mouthpiece. You have to buy your own. Seems like a good approach...
     
  5. nereas

    nereas Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Expat Floridian travelling in the Land of Eternal
    2,735
    6
    An excellent idea!

    You would then also need to keep with you your own rental gear throughout the course, as well.
     
  6. shakeybrainsurgeon

    shakeybrainsurgeon Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Pennsylvania
    1,111
    2
    You can buy premoistened chlorox wipes, usually used for cleaning kitchen surfaces, etc. This weak bleach solution will also kill virtually anything on a mouthpiece, but it can also take the color out of clothes, too. Simply wipe of the mouthpiece, then rinse with water.

    Renting wetsuits can be disgusting, but I doubt they transmit disease, unless a colony of scuba-diving lepers lives nearby.

    Things like scuba boots and gloves are inexpensive enough to buy even if one isn't serious enough about the sport, although wetsuits and regulators are another matter.

    Personally, I was more squeamish about orally inflating the rented bc's during OW training. The mouthpiece was one thing, but who knows what grows in the bladders of those things if not regularly disinfected.
     
  7. indydivegal

    indydivegal Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
    1,862
    5
    Thank you all so very much on the insight! I sort of suspected the same on many of them. One final questions, which she later posed in more detail.....what if someone has a cold sore with the reg? Would that not be some sort of herpes? Is that transmittable through the reg or mouthpiece? That one sort of grossed me out to think about it, but could that actually happen?
     
  8. shakeybrainsurgeon

    shakeybrainsurgeon Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Pennsylvania
    1,111
    2
    Yes, a cold sore is caused by herpes simplex I (not the herpes of genital herpes, which is type II). If there are open sores, the virus can be transmitted by contact with a contaminated regulator. I don't believe the virus survives long on a dry plastic surface, but it is best not to share a reg with someone with active cold sores. Again, the chlorox wipe will kill most viruses on contact, as will simply washing with soap and water.
     
  9. indydivegal

    indydivegal Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
    1,862
    5
    That is terrific info to know. Thank you so much!! These were really good questions and I suppose I just never ever thought about anything like that happening. It was a bit of an eye opener for me to think about it along those lines.
     

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