The summer is here, the waters are warming up and the bigger fish are arriving, out on the boats divers are comfortably doing three dives with tan topping surface intervals. With these glorious conditions it is easy to overlook the need for proper hydration and the problems that dehydration can bring.
When you breathe on a mirror or a piece of glass you can see the amount of moisture we normally exhale. As diving cylinders are filled with air they are filtered to remove moisture, when we breathe this air our body re-moisturizes this to a normal level. Combine this with the fact that our body’s natural cooling system uses vast quantities of fluid when it perspires, we can see that a warm day with 3 dives can leave our bodies dangerously short on fluid.
Headaches, stomach upset, fatigue and nausea are common side effects, but most importantly to diver’s, de-hydration will increase the chances of decompression sickness. When suffering the effects of de-hydration the heart and breathing rate increase which speeds up the absorption of nitrogen. Less fluid reduces blood flow to the muscles which also means that absorbed nitrogen is released at a mush slower rate.
Luckily it is not only easy to prevent dehydration, it is also incredibly simple to monitor. Avoiding caffeine, fizzy drinks or “evening before excesses” and replacing this with plenty of water, juice or isotonic drinks will ensure divers remain hydrated. Monitoring the frequency of urination and its colour is the simplest method to check hydration. Infrequent and dark yellow urine signifies insufficient fluids.
It is estimated that at least 3 – 6 litres of fluid needs to be replaced daily when diving. In this case we urge you to drink and dive…water that is!
Dr. Adel Taher & Dr. Ahmed Sakr: your diving docs
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