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Diving With a Cold, Is It Possible?

Diving with a cold to save a vacation is an idea that every lover of this sport has thought of some time in their life. Let’s see if it is possible in a proper way.

Diving with a cold to save a vacation is an idea that every lover of this sport has thought some time in their life but… is this a safe practice? Let’s consider this topic.

You have been planning that dive trip for months, you have bought new equipment, you have studied the points where you are going to dive; even you had to convince your dive buddy’s wife because of that epic journey. However, when you arrive at your destination, your nose does not stop leaking. Horror! What are you going to do now?

Diving With A Cold Or Diving With An Allergy; Is It The Same?

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When your nose starts to leak it is called rhinitis. A word that comes from the Greek, “rhinos” meaning nose and “itis” means inflammation. When it happens the upper respiratory system swells, becomes congested with mucus and often the eustachian tubes and sinuses become blocked. Hence the danger of diving with a cold.

Any diver, proud to be so, knows ears, nose, and lungs have to work properly, otherwise, it could be an important drawback. Diving with a cold would not allow you to compensate during the descend. On the other hand, reverse-compression could happen on the way back up. So, diving with a cold is not recommended.

However, there is still hope for your vacations. The truth is that not all nasal secretions are related to a cold. Yes, rhinitis can be caused by cold and flu, but also by an allergy.

You have to know that when we travel by plane, we are exposed to a high concentration of allergens, such as mold and fungi. In airplanes, the air is constantly recirculated. If we add to this fact to the dehydration caused by height, this is, probably, the cause of your false cold. Think twice, you are in the middle of the Caribbean Sea in July, an allergy makes sense. Allowing your body to clean itself you will be fit to dive in a very short time.

In Which Cases Diving With A Cold is Possible And How To Do It?

If your doctor determines that your symptoms are weak enough to dive or if you already feel completely recovered, you will be able to dive, but not without precautions.

  • Descend slowly and compensate your ears often.
  • Use the anchor line so that you can better control the descent.
  • Put the depth under control, do not descend too much and keep it constant once down.
  • Rise slowly and if you feel a reverse blockage, stop and allow air to escape slowly.

If instead of improving, your cold persists or worsens, go to the doctor and seriously consider that you are suffering from flu and that there are many reasons why you should not dive with a cold.

When Diving With A Cold Is Completely Inadvisable?

When your ears cannot be compensated even on the surface.

If you are unable to compensate for the ears on the surface and without taking medication, do you really believe it will be different underwater?  You may have found a really good medication, but please be aware, its effect probably does not last long enough to end your dive. Even in case you could descend without incidents, be careful because ascension can be catastrophic.

When you are on the surface and you are not able to breathe through each nostril individually.

As we have said in the previous point, if one of your nostrils is blocked, you will not be able to compensate and you would put yourself at risk if you dove with a cold.

When you have had a fever in the last 24 hours

Without all your senses on alert diving is completely discouraged. Your thinking will be cloudy, reflexes slower, and you will not be able to kick fins as usual. Besides, fever speeds up the metabolism and will make you consume more air from your tank.

When you have thick mucus and congestion.

If the mucus occupies your nostrils, how do you plan to equalize correctly?

When your breathing is audible and you are coughing.

If this is the case, not only does your mucus fill your nose, but also your lungs. In other words, diving with a cold in these conditions makes your breathing difficult, increases your body’s stress as well as it puts you at risk.

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That’s right, anyway diving with a cold is not a good idea, but don’t worry!  It doesn’t mean your vacation is finished. You can still enjoy a lot taking advantage of many other activities, water sports and excursions. Ask us for them.