Orientation day in the SSS Recompression Chamber in Phuket

SSS Recompression Chamber Phuket

Divemasters and Instructors of Scubafish and Go Dive Lanta used the Low Season 2010 to get an insight into the work of a real recompression chamber. The SSS Recompression Chamber Network in Phuket offers free orientation days once a week during the low season. The orientation includes an overview of the chamber facilities and setup, recognition and management of Decompression Sickness, a pre-dive briefing and an actual dive down to 60ft in the recompression chamber. There is also plenty of time to ask questions to learn more about the various types of Decompression Sickness.

SSS Recompression Chamber PhuketDecompression Sickness (DCS) is the result of inadequate decompression following exposure to increased pressure during diving. In some cases, the disease is mild and not an immediate threat. In other cases, serious injury does occur. When this happens, the quicker the treatment begins, the better the chance for a full recovery.

During a dive, the body tissues absorb nitrogen from the breathing gas in proportion to the surrounding pressure. As long as the diver remains at pressure, the gas presents no problem. If the pressure is reduced too quickly, however, the nitrogen comes out of solution and forms bubbles in the tissues and bloodstream. This commonly occurs as a result of violating or approaching too closely the diving table limits, but it can also occur even when accepted guidelines have been followed.

Bubbles forming in or near joints are the presumed cause of the joint pain of a classical “bend.” When high levels of bubbles occur, complex reactions can take place in the body, usually in the spinal cord or brain. Numbness, paralysis and disorders of higher cerebral function may result. If great amounts of decompression are missed and large numbers of bubbles enter the venous bloodstream, congestive symptoms in the lung and circulatory shock can then occur.

SSS Recompression Chamber PhuketSymptons of Decompression Sickness include unusual fatigue, skin itch, pain in joints and/ or muscles of the arms, legs or torso, dizziness, vertigo, ringing in the ears, numbness, tingling and paralysis, shortness of breath. You can also recognise DCS by checking for the following signs: skin may show a blotchy rash, paralysis, muscle weakness, difficulty urinating, confusion, personality changes, bizarre behavior, amnesia, tremors, staggering, coughing up bloody, frothy sputum, collapse or unconsciousness.

Symptoms and signs usually appear within 15 minutes to 12 hours after surfacing. But in severe cases, symptoms may appear before surfacing or immediately afterwards. Delayed occurrence of symptoms is rare, but it does occur, especially if air travel follows diving.

SSS Recompression Chamber PhuketRecreational divers should dive conservatively, whether they are using dive tables or computers. Experienced divers often select a table depth (versus actual depth) of 10 feet (3 meters) deeper than called for by standard procedure. This practice is highly recommended for all divers, especially when diving in cold water or when diving under strenuous conditions. Computer divers should be cautious in approaching no-decompression limits, especially when diving deeper than 100 feet (30 meters).

Avoiding risk factors like deep and/ or long dives, exercise at depth or after a dive will decrease the chance of DCS occurring. Exposure to altitude or flying too soon after a dive can also increase the risk of decompression sickness.

Decompression Sickness could affect divers every day. Fast recognition is probabaly the most important key for a full recovery. Joining orientation days like these certainly helps to raise the awareness of the risk of decompression sickness. If you need more information about decompression sickness or other diving-related injuries, please visit the website of the Divers Alert Network(www.diversalertnetwork.org). More information about SSS Recompression Chamber Network you can find on www.sssnetwork.com.

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