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Diving after flying

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Erickling, Jul 2, 2001.

  1. dani_p

    dani_p Guest

    I know that if ou are going to be getting on a plane it should be 12 hours after your last dive... and that 24 is ideal. But is there any proctical reason that the same precaution should be taken when you get off an airplane? Ive heard that its find to go diving almost right away but Im a little bit skeptical... is this true?
  2. Rick Murchison

    Rick Murchison Trusty Shellback Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Gulf of Mexico
    What we have here are different problems with different concerns. In the "flying after diving" instance, we're concerned about DCS developing from otherwise asymptomatic nitrogen loading when the pressure is reduced by going to altitude. There is no such concern when diving after flying.
    However, when on an airliner for a long trip, dehydration and fatigue are often very real concerns that may be masked by the excitement of arrival... so it's a good idea to make sure you're rested and well hydrated before going diving after a long flight.
    There is a very good table in the NOAA diving manual, by the way, for calculating how long you should wait to fly, based on your final repetitive group and your flight cabin altitude.
  3. Dave_1985

    Dave_1985 Angel Fish

    The reason, its not a good idea to fly AFTER a dive, is that any nitrogen bubbles in youre blood stream can expand due to the smaller pressure at altitude causing blockages to arteries and many over problems

    As far as anyone can tell there are no physiological reasons not to fly as soon as you get off a plane, there are rules for diving at altitude, but they dont apply to that situation.
  4. Dave_1985

    Dave_1985 Angel Fish

    looks like rick beat me to the post :)
  5. Otter

    Otter ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: SoCal (native)
    The short answer is that flying after diving is of a concern because of the excess Nitrogen in your system caused by breathing compressed air at depth (i.e. Scuba Diving). Hence, diving after flying does not have these concerns as you have no excess nitrogen in your system -- you haven't dived yet :) .

    That being said, there can be issues with diving after flying IF you have allowed yourself to become dehydrated or did not rest well. Obviously, this is of a larger concern on long flights. These issues relate to the fact that dehydration and exhaustion appear to be contributing factors to an increased chance of Decompression Sickness "DCS" (aka "the bends").

    If you are looking for a more detailed answer or further explanation, you might try posting your question in the Dr. Deco Forum where qualified medical experts can assist you further.
  6. pipedope

    pipedope Great White

    For diving after flying is mainly dehydration and jet lag.
    I like to settle in, get some good food, good sleep and lots of water before diving. I will go snorkeling right away.

    For flying after diving it is DCI.

    If you read the reports from Dan you will find that the majority of people who got bent on a flight were showing symptoms of DCI before they got on the plane.

    If you are showing signs of DCI, seek treatment, do not fly.

    Remember DCI is quite rare in sport diving but it can happen so we take reasonable precautions and seek treatment if it does happen.
  7. ChrisA

    ChrisA Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Redondo Beach, California
    One of the reasons for the advice not to fly soon after diving is the one in a million chance of loss of pressure in the airplane's cabin. The effect of this would be the same as an instant (2 second) accent from about 25 feet to the surface. This would not harm most people as they'd by on
    oxigen and the pilot would decend to a lower altitude in a few minutes but if you were loaded up with nitrogen from a close to NDL dive 20 minutes ago you would not be happy with an about one bar in two second pressure loss.

    The other reason for caution about flying is that if a problem does develope, it could be one hour after takeoff before you notice any effect and there you are half way across the Pacific in an airplane and there is nothing anyone can do except maybe provide oxigen, you'd have to wait hours for treatment. Best to be very conservative to prevent that situation.

    Niether of these problems can effect you after you've landed.
  8. BobRussell

    BobRussell Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Picton Ontario Canada
    Now that you don't get fed on aircraft except for 9 little pretzels, you might want to get luggage, check in etc and have a lunch or snack before diving. I usually suggest a couple of hours after landing if you are feeling well and you have no difficulity clearing your ears on the surface.
  9. stefo2

    stefo2 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Hannover, Germany
  10. IrishAngel

    IrishAngel Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Belize
    There are no dumb questions.. If you are doing multiple dives over multiple days.. DAN recommends AT LEAST (emphasis mine) an 18 hour interval between your last dive & flying. IMHO.. 24 hours is a better interval. As far as diving upon arrival.. as others have said.. make sure you're hydrated, fed, rested & can equalize before diving..

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