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May 12, 2007


Are you one of the lucky people who suffer from allergies? I sure am! And here I am, living in the allergy capital of the world! Maybe not, but it sure seems that way!

Please remember that I am NOT a doctor, and I'm not offering advice, just telling you little tricks that I do to help me prepare for a dive during allergy season.

For starters, I try not to plan too many dives during the time I know I am going to have problems with allergies. I've never been officially tested for pollen allergies, but many different varieties seem to bother me. So for me, it's safe to assume if it's pollen, it's going to irritate my system. Dogwood tree pollen is awful, as is pine tree pollen. Both look incredibly mean when viewed through a microscope, so I can see why they are such harsh irritants!

If I do want or need to dive during allergy season, I use mild medications that Diver's Alert Network have deemed safe for diving. I also try them out on land, well in advance of the day of my dive. If I suffer from side effects above water, it's better to know well in advance so I can look for alternative methods. Many people don't realize the effects you experience from medicines on land will be amplified when underwater, as well as their effectiveness wears off sooner underwater.

Don't overstay your welcome. What I mean by that is make sure you don't stay down longer than your medication will last. When underwater, we generally don't breathe through our noses very much, except for a little to equalize the pressure inside your mask as you descend. So it's not always easy to tell when your sinuses are blocked ... Well, until you start to ascend, that is!

Believe me, if you've never had a reverse block while ascending, consider yourself lucky! I was in the Bahamas a few years ago and during one of our last dives, my sinuses became clogged up. While ascending, I thought my head was going to explode! Ok, that's a slight exaggeration, but it sure did feel like it might! In all honesty, sinuses can be damaged by having a reverse block, so please remember to ascend very slowly and exhale through your nose more freguently to clear your air passages and help any mucus expel on its own.

I will be conducting two weekends of checkout dives beginning this coming weekend. For over a week now I've had problems with my allergies. Please keep your fingers crossed that I will get better before Saturday!

Posted by Carol at May 12, 2007 04:13 PM