A person with asthma may be able to scuba dive safely, but they need to carefully consider their condition and the added risks relating to asthma and diving. Speaking with a doctor can help individuals decide if scuba diving is safe for them.

Asthma is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the lungs and airways, leading to difficulty breathing. It affects an estimated 26 million people living in the United States.

Scuba diving is a recreational sport that requires safety training and steps to help reduce risks.

Though some people with asthma can dive safely, it is important to understand how their condition can affect their safety.

This article reviews diving with asthma, the risks relating to asthma and diving, and when to speak with a doctor.

Generally, a person with asthma can scuba dive. However, it is important for them to consider several possible concerns that may increase the risk to their safety.

If someone has uncontrolled asthma, it is most likely better not to dive at all. This is because it can increase their risk of scuba-related respiratory complications.

According to a 2016 study, many people with well-controlled asthma can safely dive. However, they note that those with exercise-, emotion-, or cold-induced asthma may want to avoid diving. Additionally, a person who required a rescue inhaler within the past 48 hours should also consider not diving.

Some experts note that, while a person with asthma may dive, they may have an increased risk of barotrauma.

Barotrauma is tissue damage that occurs due to pressure differences between unvented areas of the body and the surrounding fluid or gas. This damage is the result of overstretching tissue.

Others note that different countries may have different laws surrounding diving and asthma. This means a person should check their country’s laws regulating diving and asthma.

Read more about asthma.

A person living with asthma may have several increased risk factors when scuba diving. These factors generally relate to safety concerns.

According to a 2016 study, an individual with asthma may develop bronchospasms causing obstructive airways. Obstructive airways can lead to the prevention of gas elimination. This can then lead to uncontrolled expansion in the distal airways, which can cause barotrauma.

Additionally, a person may be at risk of:

  • gas embolism
  • aspiration from seawater
  • allergen-contaminated diver equipment
  • danger to their lung function

Diving has links to several risks for anyone. Different organizations recommend people follow safety guidelines and take appropriate classes to get certified to help reduce the risks and possibility of death.

Some general safety tips for diving include the below.

  • Avoid diving without a buddy.
  • Always plan the dive and follow the plan.
  • Do not dive with a cold or congestion in the nose or ears.
  • Avoid alcohol or other drugs when diving.
  • Check the diving equipment to make sure it is functioning properly.
  • Let others know the diving plans.

A person with asthma should consider speaking with a doctor before diving to help assess their safety and risk when diving.

Experts recommend that a person should have a typical spirometry and pass a bronchial provocation challenge without issue. These tests examine a person’s lung function. They should also not have exercise, cold, or emotional onset asthma.

Some recommend that a person speaks with a doctor who is familiar with both asthma and diving. This can help decrease a person’s risk of serious issues.

The following are questions people frequently ask about scuba diving and asthma.

Can I use my inhaler before scuba diving?

Yes, some experts recommend using an albuterol inhaler before leaving the boat. However, a person should avoid diving for 48 hours following the use of a rescue inhaler or if their asthma is not well controlled.

Can you go shallow scuba diving with asthma?

Some people with asthma can scuba dive as long as their asthma is well controlled and they have not needed a rescue inhaler in the past 48 hours. Anyone with exercise, stress, or cold-induced asthma should also avoid diving, even in shallow waters. A person should discuss their risks and get a lung assessment from a doctor before diving.

Scuba diving is a recreational sport that has some natural risks for anyone. Additionally, those with asthma may need to take additional precautions.

These include talking with a doctor and taking lung function tests to make sure they can safely dive.

People with uncontrolled exercise, stress, or cold-induced asthma should consider not diving in most cases. They may also want to speak with a doctor to help assess their individual risk factors.

Source link