Dehydration and Scuba Diving by Melissa Rodriguez
Do you drink enough water? If not, you could have a serious drinking problem. It is remarkable that a diver can be floating in the middle of the ocean and still be dehydrated, but it does happen. This situation is risky for scuba divers because dehydration is thought to increase the risk of decompression sickness (DCS).
Dehydration is the loss of fluid from the body and it occurs when fluid loss is greater than fluid intake. Fluid can be lost through the skin, lungs, urination, diarrhea, or blood loss. Most importantly, when a person is dehydrated, there is a reduced measure of blood in the body, which means less blood flow to the tissues. Consequently, this affects the body's ability to off-gas nitrogen. The increased nitrogen in the body translates into a higher risk of DCS.
Also, dehydration can affect divers in other ways.
Since there is a reduced volume of blood circulating through the body, the heart has to work harder and pump faster, leading to decreased endurance and increased fatigue, which diminishes diving performance.
The key to preventing dehydration is to drink water or, if you are very active, sports drinks each day. Drink more if it's very hot or if you're diving multiple tanks. The drinks should be consumed over the course of the day rather than ingested in a short period of time. Avoid caffeine beverages and bring a water bottle along on the boat.
Even though it is winter time, review your scuba knowledge so that you won't be rusty when the warmer weather gets here and you go on your next dive.
- Constant Thirst
- Dark Urine
Stupid Things Divers Do
- Deliberately not drink to avoid the pee factor.
- Drink caffeine beverages and alcohol for fluid replacement.
- Don't count sweat as fluid loss.
- Count on the dive boat to provide fluids.
- Forget that the air in scuba tanks is bone dry.