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Thread: The Risks of diving with a Cold and using decongestants

  1. #1
    Pom in Aus louisrankin will become famous soon enough louisrankin will become famous soon enough louisrankin will become famous soon enough louisrankin's Avatar
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    The Risks of diving with a Cold and using decongestants

    At the weekend I went to Plymouth to do some mix gas diving, I have been suffering with a cold for a few weeks now’s but did not want to cancel because I would still have to pay. Anyway I decided to go and use a concocksion of Sudafed, Oltravine and Beconase nasal spray.

    The first dive went ok I could tell I was bunged up but I could still clear my ears ok. On the second dive I wanted to go in first because I was doing the longest run time, on the way down the line I was a bit out of breath and starting coughing a lot and bringing up a lot of flem.

    When I reached the bottom the shot was in the wreck securely so I did not have any work to do, I did a dil flush as I was still having problems getting my breath I found this made breathing a lot easier and checked my cell readout all ok. I got my breath and lined off as the viz was shit after about 15mins I was getting a bit breathless again so I turned around and headed back to the shot and headed up after 28mins because I was feeling crap. On the way up I was still coughing and bringing up flem I finally reached the deco station so I started to relax. I was still coughing a lot on my stops but I completed my deco obligation ok and surfaced.

    When I got back on the boat I was finding it hard to get my breath so I was helped off with my kit. I started to cough and bring up blood so I went onto my 70% bailout bottle. The skipper wanted to call the diving doctor but I said I was ok and was not bent and the blood was due to my cold. Anyway after about 1hr I was still coughing up blood and the skipper called DDRC and spoke to the diving doc. I was still insisting I was fine and it was just a cold, but she wanted me to go to hospital and have a chest x-ray . I spoke to her and said I did not want to go to A&E because of the long waiting times. Anyway she persuaded me and I arranged to meet her at A&E. I had found out the skipper had arranged an Ambulance to take me but I made him cancel it and said I was fine.

    My friends gave me a lift to the hospital, I booked in and was informed that they were expected me and was told to follow the blue line to the X-Ray department. I was X-Rayed straight away and the Diving Doc turned up about 30mins later. I was taken to a cubicle and was giving a complete examination which included shaving parts of my chest to have an ECG. I was still insisting I was fine and was not bent after 30mins the diving doctor agreed with my diagnosis. But informed me that I had a MEDISTIVAL EMPHYSEMA. She went on to explain that I had most probably ruptured some alveoli and air had escaped to the pericardial sac (the sac around the heart). Apparently I had a shadow around my heart on the X-Ray. She then informed me that there was a chance that the air could expand and cause me to have a PNEUMOTHORAX (a collapsed lung) and I needed to stay in hospital for observation and stay on oxygen for the night. She then went on to give me some information which really hurt NO MORE DIVING FOR 3 MONTHS.

    I spent the night in hospital and was discharged the next morning my only symptoms are I have a sore throat apart from that I fell fine. The treatment I received from DDRC was first rate also my skipper Richard King was fantastic even thou I kept telling him there was nothing wrong with me. As you can imagine I am very pissed off to make things worst I have finally received the final part to enable me to fit my Kiss Hammerhead and now I can't test it for three months. I just wanted to share this information so other people can learn from my mistake.

    Louis
    Last edited by louisrankin; 12th September 2006 at 15:10. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Stefan Besier caveseeker7 has a reputation beyond repute caveseeker7 has a reputation beyond repute caveseeker7 has a reputation beyond repute caveseeker7 has a reputation beyond repute caveseeker7 has a reputation beyond repute caveseeker7 has a reputation beyond repute caveseeker7 has a reputation beyond repute caveseeker7 has a reputation beyond repute caveseeker7 has a reputation beyond repute caveseeker7 has a reputation beyond repute caveseeker7 has a reputation beyond repute caveseeker7's Avatar
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    Re: The Risks of diving with a Cold ...

    Thanks for sharing, Louis, much appreciated.
    Hope you#ll be well soon.

  3. #3
    Andrew Martin Ward AMW will become famous soon enough AMW will become famous soon enough AMW will become famous soon enough AMW will become famous soon enough AMW's Avatar
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    Re: The Risks of diving with a Cold and using decongestants

    Not directly relevant but ,this is from a reply I put on YD originally.

    Andrew.




    Vicks Sinex contains 0.05% w/v oxymetazoline hydrochloride.

    It also contains sodium citrate dihydrate, tyloxapol, citric acid anhydrous, chlorhexidine digluconate, menthol, benzalkonium chloride, camphor, disodium edetate, eucalyptol, sodium, hydroxide and purified water.

    Also contains oxymetazoline hydrochloride

    Possible Side-Effects
    Most people have no side-effects with Vicks Sinex



    ************************************************** ***********************************

    Sudafed 12 Hour Relief

    The product contains the active ingredient: Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride 120 mg per tablet.

    It also contains: Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (E464), magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose (E460), povidone, titanium dioxide (E171), polyethylene glycol, candellila wax and purified water.

    Possible Side-Effects
    Side-effects are not common with Non-drowsy Sudafed 12 Hour Relief tablets and when they occur they are usually mild and temporary.

    Some people feel restless or have trouble getting to sleep. A few people have bad dreams or hallucinations .

    Occasionally people get skin rashes that are sometimes itchy. A few men, especially men with prostate problems may have more trouble passing water.


    Sudafed Congestion Relief

    Each capsule contains: Phenylephrine hydrochloride 12 mg

    Other ingredients: Lactose, maize starch, pregelatinised maize starch, magnesium stearate.

    Gelatin capsule includes: E104 quinoline yellow, E171 titanium dioxide. Printing ink: E172 black iron oxide, shellac, soya lecithin, silicone.


    Avoid alcohol

    If symptoms do not go away talk to your doctor

    This medicine may cause fast heart rate, changes in heart rhythm, palpitations, high blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, headache and occasionally urine retention in males.

    Decongestant Nasal Spray



    Contains Xylometazoline hydrochloride

    Non-Drowsy Sudafed Decongestant Nasal Spray
    The product contains the active ingredient: Xylometazoline hydrochloride 0.1% w/v.

    It also contains: Benzalkonium chloride, disodium edetate, sodium dihydrogen phosphate, sodium monohydrogen phosphate, sodium chloride, sorbitol solution, purified water.
    Possible side effects
    Side effects are not common with this product and when they occur they are usually mild and temporary. Occasionally Xylometazoline hydrochloride may cause local burning, soreness, dryness, irritation, stinging, itching or sneezing. Nausea and headache may rarely occur. Prolonged continuous use may occasionally cause rebound congestion.


    Non-Drowsy Sudafed Decongestant Elixir
    This product contains the active ingredient: Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride 30mg per 5ml.

    It also contains: Citric acid monohydrate, sucrose, glycerol, methyl hydroxybenzoate (E218), sodium benzoate (E211), Ponceau 4R (E124), raspberry flavour and water.


    Possible side-effects
    Side-effects are not common with this product and when they do occur they are usually mild and temporary.

    Some people feel restless or have trouble getting to sleep. A few people have bad dreams or hallucinations but this is rare.

    Occasionally people get skin rashes that are sometimes itchy. A few men, especially men with prostate problems may have more trouble passing water.


    Andrew

  4. #4
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    Re: The Risks of diving with a Cold and using decongestants

    Not quite the same thing, but many years ago did a dive to approx 22m, in cold water, was a little stressed, on Open circuit, rich (ish) nitorx mix (PO2 > 1.4, < 1.6) after taking sudafed for a cold. Descending the shot, has several strong symptoms of what I think was mild oxygen toxicity, tingling in lips, whole body tingling, vision narowing etc, etc. Maybe just me / maybe just conditions that day, but NO way would I dive after taking cold medications now, or if I dod it would be an air dive / LOW set point

  5. #5
    RBW Member Mikel-Deko is a jewel in the rough Mikel-Deko is a jewel in the rough Mikel-Deko is a jewel in the rough Mikel-Deko is a jewel in the rough Mikel-Deko is a jewel in the rough Mikel-Deko is a jewel in the rough Mikel-Deko is a jewel in the rough Mikel-Deko is a jewel in the rough Mikel-Deko's Avatar
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    Re: The Risks of diving with a Cold and using decongestants

    This summer this happens to me.
    I had a cold, and the doctors gave me some syrop to health the flora in my throat.
    I went down the line until -33 mrts. I change the sp to 1.3 but i could hear my breath to strongly so i stay in the line for a bit. 5 minutes later, i was hearing my breath too strog but i wasn't making any effort at all. Another 10 minutes and i decided to cancell the dive. I was 15 minutes in the line. No one meter diving.
    When i start going up the line, i have my breath like if i had a Hipercapnia. I flush the loop a couple of times, no way to keep my breath and i bailout.
    I clean all my deco and went to the boat.
    I was feelling very tired but nothing else.
    I opened my RB and everything was OK. I used the lime again to be sure that it was not Hipercapnia and it works OK.

    After that, i'm not going to dive again if i'm taking any kind of medicine.

    Regads
    Mikel-Deko

  6. #6
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    Re: The Risks of diving with a Cold and using decongestants

    I've attempted to dive with sinus issues before.

    Got down and thought all was ok - I was a bit "tight" in the sinuses on the way down, but it didn't hurt and I assumed all was good.

    Well, it was, until I tried to ascend - I found that I had a reverse sinus block!

    NOT fun. You do have to come up eventually...... and there's no way to force your sinuses to equalize. So there I am making a VERY, VERY slow ascent, trying to wait it out for it to clear, and its not - oh, by the way, there's a jackhammer going in my head!

    Eventually it blew out with a nasty clod of snot tinged with a bit of blood. Pain was gone, of course...... No diving for a bit while that healed up....

    I learned.... if I'm not 100%, I don't go. It could have been a LOT worse.

  7. #7
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    Re: The Risks of diving with a Cold and using decongestants

    Thank goodness it was not worse. Looking forward to you getting back in the water soon.

  8. #8
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    Re: The Risks of diving with a Cold and using decongestants

    A good personal rule to adopt is if you are on medication, especially self prescribed OTC ones, do not dive.

    Sudafed and other decongestants have been linked with CNS O2 toxicity. Just not worth the risk IMO.

  9. #9
    &amp;quot;Two Sheds&amp;quot; Janos has a reputation beyond repute Janos has a reputation beyond repute Janos has a reputation beyond repute Janos has a reputation beyond repute Janos has a reputation beyond repute Janos has a reputation beyond repute Janos has a reputation beyond repute Janos has a reputation beyond repute Janos has a reputation beyond repute Janos has a reputation beyond repute Janos has a reputation beyond repute Janos's Avatar
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    Re: The Risks of diving with a Cold and using decongestants

    Glad to hear that you're alright. Just stick to the three month ban ok!

    Thanks for posting the story. Another one to tell my trainees when I think they're getting a bit over-confident.

    Janos

  10. #10
    Shearwater Copis Diver Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy's Avatar
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    Re: The Risks of diving with a Cold and using decongestants

    thanks for posting your story! I understand the temptation to dive when you probably otherwise should avoid it.

    Just two weekends ago my wife and i headed up the the nothern sunshine coast in BC. it was not slated to be a major dive trip, more just chilling out, doing some sea kayaking in the direction of desolation sound and maybe a dive or two reconisance for future trip. I promptly caught a cold on the way up. Waited a few days as symptoms worked their way from sore throat to sinus congestion. the last day my better judgement got temporarily drowned out by my desire to check out mermaid's cove/saltary bay just to see if this "Diving Hot Spot" was all it was talked up to be. I took some sudafed and waited an hour. We got all suited up and in the water and my ears just didn't want to clear. I went onto open circuit for a bit to get a little more back pressure and was slowly able to work my way down. i took my time and made sure i didn't go down any further till the pressure cleared in my middle ear. I was well aware of the likelyhood of a reverse block. Any time i read a story like this i'm pretty much saying the typical line, "this guy deserves whatever is comming to him" but here i was pushing it because i really wanted to dive this one spot, a long way from home, that i would otherwise not know if it was worth comming back to...not the greatest logic in the end.

    so, we finally made it down to the famous 9' mermaid statue that stands a the top of a 175fsw sheer drop off. It did turn out to be a beautiful spot with some remarkable attributes...but was it worth it? Well, as to be expected on the ascent my ears sounded like fish tank bubbler. I patiently went up a few feet and let them fizz, then a few feet more until ironically i made it to 15fsw. My right ear at that point wouldn't budge any more, felt like it was going to explode if i went any further. so i sat there for quite a while, tried to equalize, and then got the bright idea to go back on open circuit to create a little more back pressure...which actually worked. Once at the surface everything was more or less fine, accept for the feeling of cotton balls in my ears. a week and a half later my ears are finally starting to clear up but still have some liquid in them...was it worth it? Nope! Why did it feel like it would be? I know better, no excuses, i was just fool hardy. Hope stories like these sink in for others benefit.

    Gill Envy

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