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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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May 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 34, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Your Letters to the Editor

health hazards, airline issues and divemastersí responsibilities

from the May, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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We always welcome your letters, and we recently got a good batch of them that are worth sharing with all readers. (Keep them coming.)

Lowering a Diver's Risk of Lung Infection

Shawn McDermott (Melbourne, FL) has a useful tale to tell about catching a bacterial infection in one lung after returning from a Cozumel dive trip in 2016. "Nasty stuff -- the medics suspected pneumonia and put me on antibiotics and steroids. I made a full recovery, but I didn't figure out how I might have taken sick until later." He guesses it was due to accidentally inhaling from his BC.

His advice: "When rinsing your BC after your last dive, fill it up several times with fresh water and squeeze it dry, and even inflate it with tank air to dump all the water out. For some reason, on that December 2016 trip, I actually sucked the air out of the BC, got some into my lungs, and bingo! A week later, back in Florida, I had to go to the walk-in clinic. Coincidence? I don't think so. Was there some bacteria in Cozumel's fresh water, which isn't potable?"

Ben Davison's reply: Although there have been cases of people suffering aspergillosis caused by a common mold, it has usually been associated with some other lung condition. Shawn was very unlucky to suffer pneumonia, but it could have resulted from a number of sources - like sitting near someone who had it on the plane ride home from Cozumel, for example. Even so, we suggest you avoid inhaling from any BC that hasn't been rinsed out. For extra care, use an over-the-counter cleansing solution mad specifically for BCs, like McNett B.C. Life or Gear Aid Revivex....

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