Helicopter ride and scuba diving

Suppose you’re planning your next holiday to a destination that offers gorgeous scenery over and underwater.

In that case, this article is for you.

Adventures such as scuba diving and helicopter tours often become a part of people’s itineraries when visiting a tourist destination. 

However, people must know that doing these activities close to each other is not ideal.

So before finalizing things, you should know when and where to add scuba diving and a helicopter ride to your itinerary. 

Is it safe to fly after scuba diving? 

It is a question that often comes up for people planning these adventures. 

If you’re scheduling your scuba diving adventure toward the end of your trip, ensure enough time for your body to recoup before flying. 

Going on a helicopter ride immediately after scuba diving is not safe. 

You have to wait for at least 18 to 24 hours before you can fly after deep-sea diving. 

Forcing your body to adjust to the pressure difference may result in decompression sickness(DCS). 

What is Decompression sickness(DCS)? 

What is Decompression sickness(DCS)
Image: Wikipedia.org

Decompression sickness, also known as the divers’ disease or the bends, occurs when the body experiences exposure to a rapid decrease in air or water pressure. 

During scuba diving, compressed air aids the diver in taking in extra oxygen and nitrogen. 

The body uses compressed oxygen, whereas the nitrogen remains dissolved in the blood during the dive. 

The water pressure around you decreases as you swim back to the surface after a deep dive.

If this transition happens too quickly, the nitrogen in your blood will not have time to clear. 

It will separate from your blood, forming bubbles in your tissues or blood. 

Nitrogen bubbles cause decompression sickness damaging blood vessels and obstructing normal blood flow.

Decompression sickness and flying

You should avoid scheduling a helicopter ride immediately after diving.  

Your body will require time to flush out the excess nitrogen from blood taken during scuba diving. 

Suppose you take a flight shortly after diving and expose your body to reduced barometric pressure. 

In that case, you increase the risk of DCS.

Flying after diving may result in the formation of bubbles in tissue and cause decompression sickness. 

It is necessary to remain at ground level for a stipulated time to eliminate gas from your body. 

It would be best if you don’t eliminate the risk simply because your body is yet to show any signs of DCS after a few hours. 

Give your body the required time and then board the helicopter ride. 

Symptoms of decompression sickness

People suffering from decompression sickness might display some signs and symptoms. 

  • Unusual exhaustion
  • Body itch
  • Muscle or joint pain in the arms, legs or torso
  • Nausea or vertigo
  • An earache that ringers
  • Tingling, numbness or paralysis
  • Breathing difficulty
  • A streaky rash
  • A weakened or paralyzed muscle
  • Having trouble urinating
  • Confusion, a change in demeanor or odd behavior
  • Amnesia or tremors
  • Staggering
  • Spitting forth crimson, foaming mucus
  • Collapse or loss of consciousness

These symptoms can occur within a range of 15 minutes to 12 hours.

In severe circumstances, symptoms could emerge beforehand or right away. 

Although uncommon, delayed onset of symptoms might occur, mainly if air travel is immediately after diving.

Is it safe to dive after flying? 

There is no harm in diving after flying. 

You could get off the helicopter ride and go for a scuba diving adventure, and you’ll still be fine. 

A decrease in barometric pressure is not the only cause of DCS; it is majorly a result of the concentrated nitrogen in the blood due to deep sea diving. 

This saturated nitrogen could form bubbles under pressure. 

Helicopter rides are usually short, so you don’t have to worry about dehydrating. 

However, if you’re getting off from a long helicopter tour, there might be a risk of dehydration.

Dehydration can cause DCS; therefore, ensure that you drink a good amount of non-alcoholic fluids before and during the helicopter tour to avoid the risk of DCS. 

Things to remember

Decompression sickness is a scary illness to go through, but it is preventable through proper precautions. 

Every diver will not experience DCS. 

Leave ample time between your scuba diving and helicopter ride if you plan your dive before the ride. 

Factors such as age and physical fitness also affect the chances of DCS. 

Assess your situation before you finalize your itinerary. 

If you align things effectively, you are sure to have a great and fun experience.

Featured Image: EXTREME PHOTOGRAPHER from Getty Images Signature

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