by / Friday, 11 October 2013 / Published in DAHAB, GUESTS, SAFETY

You may have noticed that whilst you are diving with us,we at H2O bang on about the importance of drinking… water! But why?

Simply put, dehydration can make you more likely to get decompression sickness (DCS), aka ‘the bends’. According to DAN (Divers Alert Network) in over 70% of cases of DCS, the primary factor is due to divers being dehydrated. Our bodies are mostly made up of water; even a small amount of water-loss can render you dehydrated and leave you susceptible to an assortment of injuries.  Feeling thirsty? Yep, you’re already suffering from dehydration: that’s the first warning sign your body is giving you that it needs more water. When you’re dehydrated – in basic terms – your blood gets thicker; which then slows down its ability to move around your body speedily. All that nitrogen which needs to get out of your system after a dive is consequently being hindered in its exit. Think of a motorway at rush hour, it’s still moving (aside from the M1) but not at a rate that it should be.  Next time you go to pee, take a look; the darker the colour the more dehydrated you are – this is caused by an increase in the concentration of toxins.

Seems a rather straightforward solution to prevent this then doesn’t it? Drink water! But it isn’t really that easy. Believe it or not, there’s a technique to drinking water. I don’t mean the physical process of drinking the water; that would be silly. It’s more to do with timing of it. Your body can only use approximately 250ml of water per hour, so necking that 1l bottle of water in one is largely futile; you will pee out most of it before the body has chance to process it effectively. Small, consistent sips are the key here.

But you don’t like water, it’s boring right? Bring on the Fanta then; that’s liquid, that’s the same… yeah? Without being biased against the good folks at the Coca-Cola Company, all sugary drinks or fizzy pop as we say back in Blighty, are diuretics. Huh, you say!? A diuretic is something that aids the production of urine (wee wee). Again, the body cannot process it efficiently and so all your hard work hydrating yourself is literally down the drain.

Your scuba tank contains the purest air possible being filtered so many times. However, it’s also the driest breath of air you  breathe – think about the dry-mouth you get on/after a dive. It’s showing you that you are losing water from your body, nearly 150ml per 30min dive from this alone.  Then there’s all that exercise you’re doing; carrying tanks, wearing a wetsuit and, actually swimming with around 30kgs of weight on your body for about an hour. Lest we forget the hot climate here in Dahab; sweating = losing water. There are lots of additional factors and reasons why we lose water pre, during and post dive.  Let’s face it, you’re on holiday, you’ve finished an awesome day’s diving, next stop… beer o’clock! Alcohol is also a diuretic. As with anything, just watch your intake and very importantly counteract the dehydrating effect with water.

We get a fair few people here complaining of Pharaoh’s revenge (diarrhea). Well really most of these cases are down to our mate dehydration as opposed to anything they’ve eaten. Feeling nauseous, sickness & diarrhea are a symptom of dehydration too. A fantastic tool here is rehydration salts. You can buy them here for 3le per pack of 10. Add one sachet to 250ml of water and enjoy. Admittedly they taste like diluted sweat (also available in orange-sweat flavour, yum) but it’s good for you so suck it up.

By Alex