Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment Home Care decongestants pain control warning signs Prevention Underlying Cause Types ascent injury pneumothorax reverse squeeze descent injury

Scuba Injuries Home Care

Serious scuba injuries require emergency care.

Home care for minor scuba injuries may include:

Scuba Injuries Decongestants

Home treatment measures for congestion due to scuba injury include general measures and medications. Medications include oral decongestants, decongestant nasal sprays and antihistamines.

General Measures

  • Blow your nose gently. Forceful blowing can cause pain and bleeding.
  • Apply petroleum jelly to the nostrils if the skin becomes dry.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Place a vaporizer or nebulizer in the bedroom at night.
  • Use saline (saltwater) nose spray, such as Ocean Nasal Mist: saline helps to keep the lining of nasal passages moist. Saline may be used to flush the nasal passages:
    • Lie on your back and tilt your head back.
    • Apply 2- 4 drops of saline in one on nostril, then wait 1 minute.
    • Blow your nose.
    • Repeat in the other nostril.

Oral Decongestants
Oral decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), help to thin the mucus responsible for the congestion. Decongestants are safe for adults and adolescents.

Decongestant precautions:

Decongestant Sprays
Decongestant nasal sprays, such as pseudoephedrine (Afrin) can relieve congestion faster than oral medications.

Examples include:
  • Afrin Nasal Spray
  • Duration Nasal Spray
  • Four-Way Fast Nasal Spray
  • Neo-Synephrine Nasal Spray
  • Vicks Sinex Nasal Spray

Precautions include:
  • Do not use decongestant nasal sprays for longer than 3 days. After three days, the nasal tissues become dependent on the medication. When the medication is stopped, the nasal tissue swells and congestion worsens.

Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) brompheniramine and chlorpheniramine, dry nasal tissue.

Examples include:

Antihistamine precautions:

Scuba Injuries Pain Control

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with a scuba injury include:

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.





NSAID Precautions

Scuba Injuries Warning Signs

Continue to Scuba Injuries Prevention

Last Updated: Jan 4, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
Copyright DSHI Systems, Inc. Powered by: FreeMD - Your Virtual Doctor

PubMed Scuba Injuries References
  1. Arness MK. Scuba decompression illness and diving fatalities in an overseas military community. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1997 Apr;68(4):325-33. [9096830]
  2. Freiberger JJ, Lyman SJ, Denoble PJ, Pieper CF, Vann RD.Consensus factors used by experts in the diagnosis of decompression illness. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2004 Dec;75(12):1023-8. [15619855]
  3. Germonpre P. Patent foramen ovale and diving. Cardiol Clin. 2005 Feb;23(1):97-104. [15676273]
  4. Hunt JC. Diving the wreck: risk and injury in sport scuba diving. Psychoanal Q. 1996 Jul;65(3):591-622. [8856825]
  5. Moon RE, de Lisle Dear G, Stolp BW. Treatment of decompression illness and latrogenic gas embolism. Respir Care Clin N Am. 1999 Mar;5(1):93-135. [10205814]
  6. Smerz RW. Age associated risks of recreational scuba diving. Hawaii Med J. 2006 May;65(5):140-1, 153. [16774142]
  7. Tetzlaff K, Shank ES, Muth CM. Evaluation and management of decompression illness--an intensivist's perspective. Intensive Care Med. 2003 Dec;29(12):2128-36. [14600806]
  8. Tetzlaff K, Thorsen E.Breathing at depth: physiologic and clinical aspects of diving while breathing compressed gas. Clin Chest Med. 2005 Sep;26(3):355-80, v. [16140132]
FreeMD is provided for information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a physician. Please review our terms of use.