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Question
Posted : March 4, 2011
I am an Instructor working in Thailand 2 months ago I seemed what I thought was a chest infection I went to the doctors and he gave me medication that seem to clear it up but now when I go diving I seem to get an asthma attack it only happens if I am working hard IE pulling DSD around I get lots of mucus in my lungs and its very hard to breath I have stopped diving till this is sorted, but the strangest thing is I went for a run today with no problems no attack, would it be the dry cold air that is causing the problems like sports asthma
I am 55 years old quite fit weight 82kg 6ft tall never smoked and drink maybe one beer a night
Answer
Posted : March 4, 2011
Thanks for the query.

This illustrates the dangers of jumping back in the water too soon after a chest infection. Usually the cause is debris and mucus plugs that are left over from the infection, which block the airways and lead to wheezing and difficulty breathing. Sometimes it can take 2-3 months for the lungs to return to normal after a severe infection, and diving before then exposes you to the risk of air trapping and pulmonary barotrauma.

In rare cases people can develop a hypersensitivity of the airways after a chest infection, similar to asthma, and this might be what is happening here. I suggest you wait another couple of months at least before diving again, and only get back in when your breathing and lung function tests are entirely normal.

Hope that helps

Regards, Dr O
Answer provided by Dr Oliver Firth
Dr Ollie Firth

Disclaimer:
The views expressed by Dr Firth & Dr Jules are their own and the publishers accept no liability for the advice and views expressed by Dr Firth , Dr Jules, or other users, which are provided as a general service to divers. Users are warned that secondary posts are the views of other users and may not be medically correct.
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