Dehydration And Scuba Diving

Dehydration And Scuba Diving

Not Just Good Practice, Hydration Is essential When Scuba Diving

We as any good dive boat should provide water free of charge on our day trip tours but even though it’s free when we calculate the guest to water consumption ratio we find you’re coming up well short on what you should be drinking. This has to change. Dehydration in scuba diving can make you more susceptible to decompression sickness. It’s not the most common cause but staying hydrated is good practice for diving health.

Roughly 2L per person is consumed daily on our dive boat and a big chunk of that will be used in tea or coffee, falling short of the recommended daily intake – 3 – 4 L for men and 2 – 3 L for women.

Why So key For Divers

If you’re doing it right then diving should not be a strenuous activity but on a typical dive day in the tropics you’re still going to lose a lot of fluid and here’s how:

Salt

Problem: If you don’t wash the salt from your skin after a dive then the drying salt crystal on your skin can absorb water causing you to sweat more.

Solution: Try to have a quick fresh water shower after every dive. We have two showers on the dive deck and one in each of the three toilets.

Sweat

Problem: Obviously you’re going to lose fluids when you perspire and that’s tough to avoid in the tropics

Solution: Get out of the sun and spend your time in our comfortable saloon our on our breezy, shaded upper deck

Dry Air

Problem: If you breath on glass, you’ll notice the fogging which is caused by the moisture that we release on every breath. For scuba we use very dry air which means your body will have to obtain the moisture from somewhere else.

Solution: Not much you can do about this one, just make sure you’re properly hydrated.

Sunburn

Problem: We do have a sundeck on MV Kepsup but it doesn’t get much use nowadays because people are much more aware of the damage that sun rays can produce. Even mild sunburn will cause fluid to rush to your skin, evaporate quickly and accelerate fluid loss.

Solution: Again get out of the sun or if you’re a dedicated sun worshipper then use a high factor sun screen of at least 30+ (reef friendly please)

Alcohol

Problem: It goes against every sense of my being to say that alcohol is a problem but it doesn’t mix with diving. If you drink heavily the night before then for sure you’re going to be dehydrated the following day. Alcohol is a diuretic, basically it makes you pee more

Solution: Drink in moderation the evening before diving and drink plenty of water before you go to bed and again when you wake in the morning.

Vomiting

Problem: If you suffer from seasickness then you really do have our sympathies, if you’re suffering from a hangover then you don’t. Obviously vomiting results in massive fluid and mineral loss so it’s definitely going to dehydrate you.

Solution: Take motion sickness pills (available free onboard) and be careful what you drink the night before. Try to replace as much fluid and electrolytes as possible after vomiting and worse case scenario simply don’t dive.

hydrate hydrate hydrate

hydrate hydrate hydrate

Why Do I Pee So Much If I’m Dehydrated?

Just because you’re peeing a lot doesn’t mean you’re taking in enough water. Even though the water here is very warm, we still suffer from immersion diuresis; as a defence mechanism your body will take blood away from your extremities to make sure that your important internal organs are getting enough. The increased blood pressure around your internal organs will force your body to flush out more fluid causing a stinky wetsuit as well as dehydration.

Why So Dangerous For Divers?

Dehydration affects your blood flow and it’s ability to transport nutrients such as nitrogen and oxygen. Your bodies ability to get rid of nitrogen will be reduced therefore increasing the chance of decompression sickness. It can also increase heart rate and breathing, so if you’re a bit of an airpig it could simply be a hydration issue.

Dehydration Symptoms

Cramps are a good indicator along with exhaustion, headaches, dark urine, dry mouth and feeling dizzy.

What Helps?

Drinking plenty of water is the simple answer but don’t wait until you’re on the boat for the free stuff, start hydrating as soon as you wake in the morning. Electrolyte drinks can help but plenty of plain old water is the best thing.

Soft drinks such as coca cola that contain caffeine are diuretic but that doesn’t mean they’re worse than drinking nothing at all, you will hydrate with soft drinks, just not as efficiently as you would with water. Fruit contains plenty of water, there’s always fresh pineapple and watermelon available onboard so a good choice for snacks.

Stay in the shade, avoid strong breezes and drink plenty and you will be fine to enjoy the wonderful diving we have around Phuket.

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By Justin Hartrey

I've been enjoying the incredible marine life in our oceans for over 25 years. 13 years ago I became a PADI professional, hoping to introduce as many people as possible to the incredible beauty of the seas.

Having been fortunate enough to dive all over south east and especially Thailand, I enjoy sharing my experience and passion on this blog.

Posted in Scuba Diving Health on .

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