For any advice regarding a diving related incident or for Urgent and Emergency Hyperbaric Referrals in Cyprus, immediately call the free 24 hour HTTC HELPLINE on +357-99-518837

In any situation where a person has breathed any gas under pressure, they could be a diving accident victim and the correct First Aid must always be given and correct medical advice sought.

The two most frequent serious diving related accidents are Arterial Gas Embolism (AGE) and Decompression Sickness (DCS). These conditions are more normally referred to as Decompression Illness (DCI).

Fortunately both conditions require the same First Aid treatment Symptoms of Decompression Illness can occur immediately on surfacing and normally within 48 hours. However symptoms can sometimes develop more than 48 hours after diving especially where the victim has travelled to altitude or flown after diving.

The signs and symptoms of both injuries are very similar and can be hard to differentiate between them therefore do not lose time trying to establish exactly what type of DCI it is.

Symptoms of DCI can include but are not limited to:

  • Numbness, tingling and paralysis and areas of decreased sensation
  • Pain in joints and muscles of the arms, legs or torso
  • Chest pain
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Skin itch
  • Dizziness, vertigo, ringing in the ears
  • Shortness of breath
  • Visual disturbances

Signs of DCI can include but are not limited to:

  • Paralysis, muscle weakness
  • Blotchy skin rash
  • Confusion, personality changes, bizarre behaviour
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Amnesia, tremors
  • Staggering
  • Coughing up bloody, frothy sputum
  • Convulsions
  • Collapse or unconsciousness

The above is not an exhaustive list of signs and symptoms. Severe DCI is easy to spot but in milder cases one of the most common symptoms is denial. A minor joint ache or an abnormal sensation in an extremity is put down to another cause such as overexertion, heavy lifting or a tight fitting wetsuit which often leads to a delay in seeking treatment. Delays in seeking treatment often result in cases where the symptoms of DCI take longer to resolve. Ignoring mild symptoms of DCI is dangerous as these symptoms can quickly develop into more serious symptoms such as paralysis.

If you believe a diver to be suffering from Decompression Illness in Cyprus:

  • Contact the 24 hour emergency helpline on: +357-99-518837
  • Administer 100% Oxygen
  • If the victim is conscious and able to tolerate, administer 1 litre of non-fizzy fluid (water) orally in small amounts
  • Lay the victim down flat or if you are worried about vomiting place the victim in the recovery position
  • Keep monitoring ABCs and record details. Consider carrying out a 5 minute Neurology exam
  • Do not administer pain killing drugs
  • NEVER GIVE ENTONOX
  • Do not ration the Oxygen to try and make it last longer

If Oxygen is administered the signs and symptoms of DCI may appear to resolve, however it is still important to continue Oxygen therapy unless advised otherwise by a diving physician.

Decompression Illness has no definitive presentation or test to confirm its presence. Symptoms can be vague and subtle and any area of the body can be involved. If at any time you are concerned about any signs or symptoms after diving call the 24 hour helpline on +357-99-518837.