Effects of Coronavirus to Scuba Divers
Scuba divers are facing a challenge due to the possible permanent effects of the coronavirus infection. According to initial data, even mild cases can result to permanent lung damage. But experts are still looking for more proofs to support the theory that it may indeed affect their ability to dive.
For one, six divers have recovered at home from the mild symptoms of the disease but were not hospitalized. However, they were all found to have exhibited an irreversible long-term lung damage.
This made full recovery to be unlikely because two of them have exhibited asthmatic-like irritated lungs, while the other two suffered from low oxygen supply. Likewise, at least four of them have shown significant changes to their lung structure.
Is It Okay To Dive After COVID-19?
If a person has shown significant oxygen deficiency when under stress, it is a typical sign of a persistent pulmonary shunt. This is when blood fails to pick up more oxygen when passing through the lungs. As a result, it can starve the body of oxygen.
Exercise-induced asthma is a popular contraindication to diving. Therefore, it has been assessed by experts that divers who have suffered from coronavirus must not dive until they have undergone thorough medical examination, regardless if they appear asymptomatic.
After Infection and Recovery From COVID-19
A scuba diver who became infected and recovered from the disease should know these facts.
- Risk of Infection – You can still spread the virus to other divers, particularly when conducting air sharing or rescue training exercises.
- Risk of Pulmonary Barotrauma – This can possibly induce damage to the lungs for an unknown period of time or permanently.
- Risk of Cardiac Events – Damage to the heart may go unnoticed when in the acute phase of the disease, leading to heart failure during diving.
- Pulmonary Oxygen Toxicity – Some patients’ symptoms got worse after receiving pure oxygen.
- Decompression Illness – Tiny bubbles of inert gas will form even during normal diving. This can be eliminated via the lungs during breathing. But since there is damage to the lungs, it will prevent the bubble filter from working, leading to an arterial gas embolism or decompression illness.
As much as you wish to rush back into the water, doing such may cause more harm than good without proper medical consideration. Scuba divers having damage to any part of the cardiovascular system can result to serious physical injury or death.