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Looking After Yourself

Posted by Silverback on 06 November 2007 at 12:58 PM

Dealing with the niggles

Living a long distance from the sea means I don’t have the priviledge of re-scheduling a trip. I have to go and make the best of each trip as far as possible. Over the years and after several unpleasant experiences, I think I know how to look after myself before heading out on a trip.

I spend lots of time keeping fit, practicing breath holds and maintaining gear. Often though, you do all this and forget about your own health. Spearfishing is an extreme sport and while a slight head cold or blocked ear won’t affect you on the squash court, it is going to seriously hamper your diving ability.

About 4 weeks before a trip I become almost fanatical about my personal preparation. I try to do nothing out of the ordinary, this in an effort not to injure myself, the gymn can be the worst culprit under these circumstances. About 2 weeks before the trip, I begin to watch what I eat very closely. No restaurants, rich or exotic foods. You may have noticed the loss of control on your bladder sphincter with long breath holds. Well, the same thing will happen at the other end in the case of diarrhoea. That would be most unpleasant.

On the trip down I make a point of taking along 5l of bottled water. I have had some nasty experiences with water in outlying areas.

On the trip, I always carry Swimmer’s ear (equal parts of distilled water, white vinegar and surgical spirits). I use this in my ear canals before and after the dive, keeping my ear canals dry. Since doing this I have not had a single episode of Otitis Externa. The first aid box also has some OTC eye drops which I use every evening to keep my eyes rinsed of sea-water. I must also admit I have stopped using sunblock. Unfortunately, I find the sunblock burns like crazy when you get it in your eyes and my mask does not seal properly. Wrt mask sealing, I shave every evening to prevent stubble also interfering with mask sealing.

I usually take Stugeron the evening before a dive (sea-sickness tablets). This is force of habit but I have never been sea-sick even in fairly rough conditions. If I have any aches/pains, I also take an NSAID of some sort (aspirin/panado), to ensure comfort the following day.

Finally, rehydration while diving is essential. I eat very little, but drink water and Coca-Cola. A marathon running friend of mine uses this when he is competing. Tim Noakes recommends grape juice to rehydrate & replace lost electrolytes.

Ideally you need to find a tested approach that works for you.

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