One Very Tempting Thing You Should Never Do After Scuba Diving

If your scuba diving vacation is anywhere other than balmy Fiji, you'll probably feel cold when you come out of the ocean. Stripping off your gear and hopping into the hottest shower possible can be tempting. Unfortunately, like flying after scuba diving, immersing yourself in hot water right away may not be a good idea. While you might think running into a shark while scuba diving is the scariest thing that can happen to you, the bends are even scarier, and a shower might just put you at risk.


Usually, when you're cold and jump into a hot shower, it warms up your limbs and restores normal blood flow, which feels great. However, during deep dives, the human body is under an unusual amount of pressure, and nitrogen bubbles can form. Usually, these dissipate naturally as you come up from the depths, but when you get into a hot shower, your body can warm up before normal circulation is restored – which can form nitrogen bubbles in your blood. The increased blood flow from the heat means that those bubbles could cause issues before your body has a chance to get rid of them. Rather than making you feel warmed up and refreshed, that puts you at risk of decompression sickness. To avoid this scary side effect, you can either plan not to dive as deep to begin with, or wait up to half an hour before getting into the shower after you reach the surface.


How dangerous is a hot shower after scuba diving?

In 2004, a diver reported on that she had experienced decompression sickness for the first time in her career. The first likely cause was that she had decided to give her body slightly less time to decompress than usual while coming up from a deep dive. The second possible cause was a hot shower. After getting out of the shower, she experienced a severe rash, pain, and dizziness. Although she was able to fully recover with medical treatment, the experience was an unpleasant one.


There isn't a lot of conclusive research into this phenomenon, only accounts like this diver's and expert recommendations to back it up. Because of that, it's hard to pinpoint exactly how long you should wait before getting into the shower – but it's believed that even waiting five minutes could improve your chances of avoiding decompression sickness. To be even safer, wait a half hour after your dive before submerging yourself in hot water. If you're chilly right after your dive, you're better off drying off and putting on a warm sweater.