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Take my advice

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by bebo, Oct 21, 2003.

  1. bebo

    bebo Contributor

    This is for everyone out there, especially for those that haven't bought their wetsuits yet.

    I haven't bought any piece of equipment yet (I'm testing everything) so every time I go diving I have to rent everything from head to toes. So far so good. In our last dive my wife and I were lucky enough to try some brand new wetsuits and BCs. It was a shipment that just arrived and we were the first to try them on.
    As you all might know, wetsuits are made out of neoprene which is a synthetic rubber that in turn is made out of a colorless liquid called chloroprene, by polymerization. Rubber, as well as other substances, may produce a condition termed "contact dermatitis" which is an inflamation of the skin that came in contact with the injurious substance, in this case the wetsuit. It's similar to what happens to you when you have an encounter w/ poison ivy;-0 . 24-48 hours after the contact, the affected skin develops an abnormal redness (erythema), itching (pruritus) and a stinging sensation.

    It's not something serious, you're not going to die from it, but it's quite uncomfortable, it's not pretty to look at, not to mention you're going to have to deal with it for a couple of weeks.

    This could happen to anyone, anywhere, at any age, of any skin color with any brand name. Recommendation: use a rash guard or a lycra t-shirt to prevent this from happening to you. I attached a picture so you can see it for yourself. The area you're looking at is my left back-shoulder. Ah!, don't worry, my wife is ok, nothing happened to her:D .

    Take my advice, take care!:)
  2. Knavey

    Knavey ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida USA
    I just HAVE to tell you about MY experience like this...

    Last year my wife and I went down to the Keys for a week diving with another guy who is lucky enough to have a boat down there. I lacked a wetsuit at the time, and was loaned one for the trip...just a skin really, but this is what happened.

    On day 2 I woke up, and thought a misquitoe had been in the room. I had some minor bites on my arms and legs.

    By day 3 they had turned into a pretty good sized rash. Only on my forearms, and my calf area of both legs.

    Day 4 we made some morning dives, and did some fishing on the last day down there.

    All the time, this rash started getting worse. Looked alot like what you pictured in your post and ITCHED like crazy. Take that amount of rash in your picture, multiply it by 10 and put it over your entire forarm and calf area...SUCKED for a couple of weeks! There used to be a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon that showed him trying to resist an itch for about 10 panels...until he finally succumbs. That was me the whole time.

    I came home and went to see my doc about it. She decided I had gotten into some sea lice and prescribed some type of ammonia water solution. BURNED like a forest fire...major pain.

    3-4 days later, was still not clearing up, went to see a dermatologist and he took one look at it and said Poison Ivy.

    Turns out, I had cut out an old compost heap in my back yard that weekend before we went to the Keys. It probably had poison ivy or some varient in it. The derm doc put me on some type of cream, and cleared it right up.

    My point is...

    Give your doc ALL the information. I had completely forgotten about clearing the vines and brush around the compost heap, and so did not tell my nurse practitioner. She used the available information, "diving in the Keys, borrowed wetsuit" to come up with a reasonable diagnosis. Turns out that it was wrong, and I suffered a TON of pain dumping that crap solution on my rash a couple of times a day.

    Thats it...just had to share my big RASH story.

    This is how I felt!!!
  3. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba

    Are you sure it's not a jellyfish sting? Looks the right shape and size for one.

  4. bebo

    bebo Contributor

    ........the problem is that I am a doc. I haven't been near any poison ivy, actually, I haven't been around any vegetation. I know where I was diving, no jelly fish. I'm not under any medication, I haven't been in contact to anything new and/or other substances during the days prior the lesion. After a thorough anamnesis only one thing comes as guilty: the wetsuit. The shape and form of the lesion perfectly follows the contour of the stiching of the suit.

    Rubber, nickel (jewlry), dyes (including hair dyes), cement, orange and lime skins, rubber gloves, poison ivy (Rhus radicans), poison oak(R. diversiloba- in the Pacific, R. toxicodendron-Southeastern U.S.), neomicin and formaldehyde (cosmetics) are just a few examples of substances capable of producing contact dermatitis.

    As for you Knavey, I'm sorry to hear what happened to you. As a doc I can tell you that the diagnosis of sea lice should not have been the first choice (by a mile) not to mention to put a caustic substance on your skin.

    Take care.
  5. Big-t-2538

    Big-t-2538 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Dayton, OH
    I too have had this happen...right in the damn left arm pit too....annoying as all get-out....

    make sure to rinse your wetsuit when done diving thuroughly....wether salt or fresh.
  6. clive francis

    clive francis Contributor

    could it be that is why the lycra vests are called rash vests? :wink:

    they also help to stop the rub around kneck so you dont get a love bite effect (hicky is what you call them i think), and sore under the arms
  7. tonyc

    tonyc Contributor

    My wife and I are new divers. My wife had a hard time getting a decent fit out of any rental wetsuit, so I spent about 360.00 at leisurepro on a Henderson hyperstretch. We have done about 10 dives with it and every time, the next day she is covered with a rash (which she states makes her look like a lepper) and she can't stop itching despite antihystamines po and creams. We bought a lycra skin, that unfortunately didn't help. Now we bought a 0.5mm bodyglove skin hoping that might be better hoping the "hyperstretch" neoprene is causing it rather than all neoprene. We wear neoprene gloves and boots and that never causes problems.

    I guess the next step is a dry suit. I'm more concerned about my wife having more bouyancy problems (truthfully something neither of us have fully mastered despite much practice) than the price.

    Any other suggestions as to what might help would be appreciated. I'm glad to hear my wife isn't the only one with this problem. Thank god she is as obsessed with diving as I am, because even with the rash, she suits up and giant strides in for our next adventure.
    Tony C.
  8. BigJetDriver

    BigJetDriver Contributor Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    Good post, Knavey! That bad, huh?:wacko:
  9. Knavey

    Knavey ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida USA

    I did look up the sea lice on the internet when it was first misdiagnosed, and in her defense it did look almost exactly like some of the pictures out there. Now as for the caustic...:eek:

    It all worked out in the end. I suppose I would rather them misdiagnose something like that over when I am in for something more serious.

    I wish now I would have taken pics of it. Gotta get me a digital camera!

    Thanks for the info so far. If I had read your posts BEFORE that happened to me, I would probably have been a little wiser!
  10. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    It doesn't have to be an emergency, nor life threatening. One of their numbers I keep in my cell phone, as well as handy elsehwere at all times: 800-446-2671.

    During business hours, you might just chat with the Med Tech on duty. Although not a physician, he/she is trained and experienced in dealing with such discussions. After hours and itching like heck? Call it an emergency and talk to the dive doctor at Duke U.

    It's okay if you're not a member, but it's a good idea.

    About rental suits...

    I really like swimming in suits no one else has ever whized in, and if nothing else - own and wear your own "underwear" - a long skin for only $50 or so. My suggestion, anyway...

    thanks, don

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