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Decompression Sickness

more about Decompression Sickness

  • Decompression Sickness is caused by rapid changes in environmental pressure, most commonly experienced by divers undergoing a change in water pressure.  It also occurs in fliers when there is a drastic change in altitude.
  • Decompression Sickness occurs because dissolved gas (nitrogen) in the body's tissues expands, releasing gas bubbles. Symptoms depend on where the released gas bubbles occur in the body.

  • Joint pains ("bends")
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Burning chest pain with a deep breath
  • Cough
  • Ear pain
  • Sinus pain

  • Deep sea diving
  • Flying (non-pressurized)

  • Oxygen
  • Aspirin for pain (pain killers should be used cautiously, because they cover up symptoms, therefore making it difficult to tell if the person is getting better)
  • IV hydration
  • Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (a special chamber that forces oxygen into the tissue)

  • You need immediate emergency medical treatment. Untreated, it can lead to permanent disability and death.

more about Decompression Sickness

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