Common Scuba Injuries
SCUBA diving has become a far more popular recreational activity in recent years. By 2000, it was estimated that there were as many as three million people in the United States alone that were certified to dive. Many assume that SCUBA diving only takes place in the tropics or in crystal clear water but this is untrue.
SCUBA divers are known to utilize whatever body of water they can get if it allows them to get back underwater. As a result, there are any number of diving accidents and injuries that occur far from the tropics. Many of the injuries that occur can be prevented by proper instruction. When they cannot be prevented, proper training of those above water can prevent permanent injuries.
The injuries in all of their varieties that occur with SCUBA diving make up a class known as “barotraumas” which comes out to “trauma to the soft tissues of the body as caused by pressure.” The vast majority of barotraumas cases involve non life-threatening injuries. These include sinus squeeze, ear squeeze, reverse ear squeeze, and tooth squeeze. The majority of squeeze injuries cause some degree of pain and some damage to the soft tissue structures around the site of the pain.
Lesser Known SCUBA Injuries
Other injuries associated with SCUBA can be the fault of wildlife that lives where the diver was diving. Bites, stings, contact irritation (as is common in jelly fish), as well as cuts, scrapes, and broken bones are all possible.
The two most dangerous forms of injuries associated with SCUBA diving are decompression sickness and arterial gas embolisms. These two injuries are known as “decompression illness.” Decompression sickness occurs when a diver ascends to the surface too quickly. This illness is also known as “Caisson Sickness” (For the caissons used in various underwater construction projects, like the Brooklyn Bridge) or “the bends.” It is a function of physics and the molecular properties of gasses.
Arterial gas embolisms, on the other hand, are caused by an overexpansion of the lungs. This causes the alveoli to tear and releases air/gas into the pulmonary capillaries. The air released into the blood stream travels through the heart and potentially into the brain. They then cause symptoms like a stroke.