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RESEARCH, EDUCATION &

RESEARCH, EDUCATION & MEDICINE FROM THE MEDICAL LINE Can I Dive with My Medical Condition? DAN MEDICS AND RESEARCHERS ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT DIVE MEDICINE. Q:I have been diagnosed with a medical condition, and I cannot find any specific information about it at DAN.org. How can I find out more about my condition and diving? International Classification of Diseases A:The (ICD), published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and used by physicians around the world, lists 12,420 disease categories and more than 70,000 diagnostic codes. The DAN® website includes specific information about a wide range of health and medical issues relevant to divers and potential divers, but it is impossible to list every disease and medical condition. Consider calling the DAN medical information line at +1-919-684- 2948; DAN medics and physicians are available to discuss your divingrelated health and safety questions Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time. DAN medics have a wealth of knowledge about fitness to dive and diving with various medical conditions. We also have close working relationships with several major university medical centers and a large global network of doctors of various specialties trained in dive medicine. Next consider that questions about fitness for diving with many medical conditions can be answered based on general guiding principles. Several of the articles at DAN.org/medical/articles, such as “Cardiovascular Fitness and Diving,” “Diving and the Body Systems” and “Psychological Issues in Diving,” can give divers an understanding of the most important criteria for determining fitness to dive — even if their particular medical condition isn’t mentioned specifically. While each individual’s health status must be considered on a case-by-case basis, divers with significant cardiovascular or respiratory disease, disabling musculoskeletal issues or limited exercise capacity are usually discouraged from participating in scuba diving. Diving requires a level of fitness that can accommodate sudden exertion: a long surface swim to the boat or shore, fighting a strong current, carrying gear, climbing a ladder, managing heavy surge or surf and rescuing oneself or one’s buddy. Poor physical fitness is a hazard to the diver as well as to dive buddies and/or potential rescuers. A diver with physical limitations may wish to find a program specifically designed for divers with disabilities. There are a variety of adaptive dive programs for disabled divers. Some of these are therapeutic or rehabilitative by design, and these programs were created with medical support for both the disabled diver and the dive buddy. — Marty McCafferty, EMT-P, DMT STEPHEN FRINK 58 | WINTER 2016

wife and I love to travel to exotic Q:My destinations, and my previous doctor used to give me antibiotics in case I got sick in a remote location. I have a new primary care physician who is hesitant to do this. What does DAN recommend? some time now prescribing A:For guidelines regarding antibiotic use for various conditions have favored a much more conservative approach due to increasing antibiotic resistance. Many illnesses are viral in nature, and antibiotics are of no benefit in these cases. If you get sick while traveling, a local physician is your best resource; he or she will be aware of the common pathogens that cause problems in the area you are visiting. When traveling, your best defenses against illness are handwashing, careful sourcing of water and food, getting relevant travel immunizations and taking appropriate precautions in areas where mosquitoes and other living organisms can transmit infectious diseases to humans. Talk to your doctor or visit a travel medicine clinic if you will be going to a region in which medical care is lacking. The doctor can advise you about any medications you should take with you and when to use them. — Scott Smith, EMT-P, DMT STEPHEN FRINK DAN Cares Together, we save lives. Whether it is assistance provided over DAN’s 24/7 diving emergency hotline, an important discovery through our continued research, or application of emergency first aid — all of these elements directly impact diver safety. With your help, we continue to invest in these initiatives because we care. Together, we make a difference. DAN.org/DANCares All contributions are tax deductible and benefit the DAN Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, Tax ID # 56-1696689. ALERTDIVER.COM | 59

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