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How can pressure sores be prevented in adaptive scuba divers?

It is important to remember to provide assistance to adaptive divers who may be at risk for developing pressure sores (decubiti), skin abrasions or injury due to diminished or absent sensation. Wetsuits and boots should be strongly considered for dives and pool training sessions for such divers. 

For example, some individuals who use wheelchairs lack feeling and would not notice pressure compromising skin circulation and painful stimuli. So transferring these individuals, helping them to don their wet suits carefully and setting them down gently with padded protection is very important. In the event, if such a person gets a skin wound, it could take months for the wound to heal and may also lead to life-threatening infections. For this reason, it is important to watch for red marks on the diver’s skin and to remember to be very careful in all transfers and gearing up activities.

Divers who use wheelchairs typically have very expensive seat pads, costing as much as $700 or more, which they use for skin protection and comfort. Be mindful that the adaptive diver will want to keep his or her seat pad dry and safe by covering it with a plastic garbage bag or other waterproof protection before exposing it to wet conditions on the boat or elsewhere.

Continue Learning about Bed Sores (Pressure Ulcers)

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.