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Surface sickness ?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Brian Robinson, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Rred

    Rred Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: In a safe place
    Bonine and the like are useless for many people. And at the rate that the body metabolizes alcohol, all you need to remember if the pilots' rule of "no alcohol for 24 hours before a flight". Same thing for any activity where you want your body to be working 100%, even if that kills the tiki hut action. At the same time--aspirin should not be taken. Among other things it increases the chance of a stomache bleed, and people can and do literally puke so hard that it tears the stomache or esophagus, causing internal bleeding and a medical emergency. From seasickness.

    One thing they don't teach you in dive school, is never do a backroll entry from the side of a RIB if you are feeling queasy. There's one incredible moment when you just realized that you've gone and put your stomache OVER your head...and then if you are lucky you are in the water and calming down before anything else happens. Don't ask me how I know that.
  2. JohnN

    JohnN Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Oar--eee---gun
    I'm forever thankful that most all male North American divers have the sense to NOT wear speedo's
  3. Clark Fletcher

    Clark Fletcher Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Hickory, NC
    Anytime you have symptoms like this folks are instantly going to jump on sea sickness. I'm not saying that it may not simply be sea sickness but, I'll also tell you that there's a chance it may NOT be sea sickness.

    I have experienced similar issues ever since I've recently gotten back into diving. However, mine are much worse. I got sick after my first dive during my pool work. I got sick diving at Jules Verne in Key Largo (protected lagoon) and barfed in my regulator 30 feet down, and I most recently got sick coming out of the water after a quarry dive. In every case there was of course, no current, no surge, and no swells.

    As of yet, I have not determined the exact cause of my own diving sickness. I do know that I'm highly prone to sea sickness. But, when I was diving over 30 years ago, diving in calm, protected waters never bothered me.

    Normally, the nearly weightless atmosphere of diving doesn't bother folks. However, some folks it does. So, it's possible that diving by itself (even with no current, surge, or swells) is causing sea sickness. In the past, for me, Transderm Scop patches (Scopolamine) are the only thing that has prevented sea sickness. Meclizine (Dramamine II, Bonine) do not normally work for me. However, my next protected water dive, I'll medicate with meclizine prior to diving to see if it helps. And, going forward, I will be using both patches and meclizine prior to a boat dive. I've talked to folks recently who use Scopolamine, Meclizine, and Zofran together while diving and still get sick. But, they make it tolerable.

    The other possibility is excess CO2 (carbon dioxide) in your blood. I just became aware of this yesterday via some old posts on Scubaboard. Apparently, if you do not fully exhale when you are breathing, it can cause a buildup of excess CO2 in your blood (Hypercapnia). Now, some folks will tell you that nausea is not a symptom of hypercapnia and others will tell you it is. However, it has long been standard practice in the medical field to induce hypercapnia because in speed recovery from anesthesia. However, it apparently also results in an increase in post operative nausea and vomiting (PONV). I'm not a medical professional. I'm just spewing forth (pun intented) the results of my research thus far.

    I know that with my own breathing, I find myself frequently not fully exhaling. Most often this happens if I'm near the bottom and I don't want to become negatively buoyant by fully exhaling. For me, as a test on my next protected water dive, I plan to concentrate on fully exhale with each breath and see if that helps with my post-dive nausea.

    And yes, so no one has to say it, I also plan to give DAN a call to see if they can put me in contact with a doctor who specializes in diving nausea.

    Hope this helps.
  4. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco, California
    My first time diving, I had that problem. My culprit was that I swallowed a lot of air at depth and upon ascent, it expanded and I couldn't get it out. I was incredibly sick. The air was swallowed in the form of saliva. I was having trouble equalizing with the rental mask and couldn't reach my nose so swallowed instead.

    Mistake I never made again and I got a low volume mask that I could reach my nose with. :)
    scrane likes this.
  5. UFOrb

    UFOrb Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Brighton, UK
    Yes, I've experienced this too - in Thailand a few years back. After a 2nd dive I threw up over the side of the boat just as I was trying to get the BCD off, luckily I managed to avoid my buddies!
    Both my legs (calves & hamstrings) also cramped badly on that dive during the ascent (fortunately not earlier). I'd not been feeling right for the whole dive - a bit cold despite 28-29degreesC & slight vertigo occasionally. Visibility was great and the sea dead calm, and I felt fine on the first dive.
    I've put it down to several potential things, but maybe a combination.
    1. I'd had a couple of large Chang beers the night before
    2. Ate a big cooked breakfast on the boat in the morning, before the first dive (possible seasickness from eating on a moving boat, or slight food poisoning).
    3. Donning & doffing gear, incl 3mm shortie, in the heat
    4. Engine fumes
    5. Full foot fins (maybe contributed to cramping)

    Apart from feeling ill and slightly embarrassed about barfing in front of pretty much everyone on the boat (I know I shouldn't have been but I was), I bloody missed the 3rd dive too. My wife saw 3 leopard sharks swimming about (and regularly reminds me).

    I now put it down to a learning experience!

    In order to try to avoid it happening again, I now:
    a. don't drink Chang the night before (stick to Singha instead :wink:)
    b. drink plenty of water and electrolyte replacement drinks
    c. avoid eating too much food on a boat, and try allow plenty of time after breakfast before getting on the boat
    d. don't wear wetsuits when possible, just loose rash guards (helps reduce exertion & stay cooler)
    e. use large open heel fins to help avoid foot / leg cramps
    f. stretch!

    Avoiding engines fumes is difficult!

    So far I haven't had a repeat of the sickness issue and I don't suffer cramping anywhere near as much as I used to - a little foot cramp now and then but nothing extreme.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
  6. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Manassas, VA
    I didn't think motion sickness would be alleviated by vomiting. Am I wrong?

    In other words, I puked off a boat once. But, I felt better immediately and no more trouble that trip (even though I vomited during the SI, so there was another dive and a 2 hour NC boat ride afterwards). I figured that had to be something other than motion sickness if the symptoms went away as soon as I vomited.
  7. Chavodel8en

    Chavodel8en Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oakland, CA
    i get your basic sea sickness on boats, and generally feel great relief and disappearance of symptoms after I vomit.

    However, the sea sickness may return after a while.
  8. BRT

    BRT Great White

    Vomiting almost always makes me feel better for a little while. Of course I can get to the point of dry heaves with nothing left to come up.

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