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Diving and Asthma

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Phat not fat!
Feb 12, 2002
I have a friend with asthma who wants to give diving a go while on holiday this year. I am sure I have read somewhere that diving with asthma is quite risky and if you have certain types you cannot dive. I am not too sure if it is down to the type of medication you take etc..

Now I am no physician so I don't really know. Does anyone have a answer or know where I can look for one? I would imagine he would have to takwe a diving medical before doing anything??

Any help is much appreciated

Kind regards
i have asthma, i dive...

my doctor, when i went for my physical, explained that since i was capable of controling(to a certain extent) my asthma without the help of my inhaler (ventalin, if thats any help), i was ok to dive, the main worry with asthma(from what my doctor and instructor told me) is if i have pockets of air trapped in my lungs, and if i dont have a good enough exchange of air, i would suffer a higher risk of DCI

i have exercise induced asthma, which use to be terrible, walking up stairs use to cause attacks sometimes, now, with alot of training, i have gotten to a point where there is no need to take my inhaler(except before only the most strenous workouts/races)

hope this helps a bit

Asthma is still quite a gray area. However, I would strongly suggest a check-up with a scuba physician, not just your regular doctor. Scuba physicians specialize in diving medicine and are the best qualified to determine youyr ability to dive.

As someone who has run dive programs for years, i would hesitate in letting you dive knowing you have exercise induced asthma. What if you suddenly have to deal with a strong current underwater or a change in weather conditions that require strong physical exersion. If you presented a medical certificate for a dive physican then I would feel more assured.

Hope that helps.

PADI's requirements

I spoke to someone from PADI about this. Basically what they advise is that you have a medical from your GP, not necessarily a doctor that specialises in diving med. PADI send you an instruction sheet for your GP's info with all necessary info on including fitness assessment criteria. There is contact info for medical people at PADI, so if your GP is unfamiliar with the practise of diving he or she can find out more.

PADI did advise that although this assessment will not guarantee that the dive school will allow you to dive with them. This is left to their discretion. I think therefore a medical from a scuba physician (as recommended by Nico) would probably reassure the dive school more.

After all this he went away without a medical and to my disbelief dived anyway!! The dive school didn’t even batter an eyelid at the fact that he had asthma. What he told me was quite shocking! They were brought out to open water on a RIB, the instructors threw the equipment in the water and told them to get in and put it on. Only then were they told about how to equalise and not holding your breath!! I thought that all try-dives now had to involve some sort of theory session????

Cheers all
Happy diving
wasnt a problem for me!

im 17...ive had MILD (key word, check with your friend...) excercise induced asthma since i was about 3 years old or so. ive been snorkeling since 6, SCUBA since 14 and freediving since 15, and ive had no problem whatsoever. thin air made a good point about DCI, your friend should definitely talk to a dive - qualified physician if he can find one.
I again have a very mild form of Asthma. Went I went for a medical the SCUBA Dr informed me that 60% of Asthma attacks are triggered by alleges. Ie pollen, cats, dogs, whatever. So to my point when underwater we breathe from tanks of compressed air, and providing you use a recognised fill centre the chance of breathing in any nastiness that are Asthma triggers are ZERO. My tanks are also O2 clean. I have a quick squirt of ventolin before each dive and I have never had any problems.

nice one......

Cheers for all the replies. He did go away and he did dive. However the people he dived with were complete cowboys!! He was asked of no medical background. He didn't get any instruction of how to use equipment just a "this button inflates & this one deflates. Breath through this" kinda thing!! He didnt even get told about equalising!!! Quite shocking really!!! :naughty
Terrible! :ban

Out of interest, where did your friend go? (No names if you don't want to)
It was some dive school in menorca I think. I will find out for sure from him. What should you do in a situation like this? Are you supposed to report it to PADI as they were a PADI school?
I must correct on thing. with an asthma atack the greater risk is not DCI (or DCS depending on were your from) it is a lung overexpantion injury a bit more serious and immediate than DCS.
On a side note there is some reserch on asthma and rebreathers, becouse instead of breathing cold, dry air ( possible factors that precipitate an atack) as with open circut . a rebreather is warm moist air.
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