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Decongestants and diving?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Jul 31, 2004
Dose anyone have the insight on the use of Decongestants such as psuedophed, or ppe ect. when diving?
I have never used them but have heard of many divers do to increase their performance.
I would be concerned that they increase bp.
Any thoughts?
Hi Sal, everyone I know stays away from oral medications like pseudoephedrine for the reason you cite (raises heartrate).

I've had luck on diving days with a topical decongestant such as Afrin, though you have to be sure not to use it longer for three days in a row in order to avoid rebound effect and risk of habituation. Some people use it in combination with a prescription steroid spray such as Flonase, and/or other therapies to shrink nasal tissues (anti-inflammatories, etc).

(I have no medical credentials, just passing on folklore.)
If you do use an decongestants there is always a very slight chance that you could run into problems with getting a reverse block of your sinuses as you ascend from depth. This is more likely on Scuba, but still remotely possible while freediving.

You also want to watch what you use if you're competing in any sanctioned competition. Some of the things contained in decongestants are included on the banned substances list for testing.

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