Decompression Sickness


Decompression sickness is caused by release of excess nitrogen into the blood.


Recognize the symptoms, causes, effects, and corrective actions for decompression sickness.


  1. Excess nitrogen in diving gases builds up in blood and is slowly released once the diver returns to sea level
  2. Rapid release of excess nitrogen in the blood at altitude can cause pain in the joints

Instructional aids

Download the SCUBA Guidelines figure

SCUBA guidelines, flying, decompression sickness


  • Pain in joints during flights in pressurized on nonpressurized aircraft after SCUBA diving


  • Avoid flying within 24 hours of a dive requiring a decompression stop
  • Avoid flying above 8000 MSL within 24 hours of any dive
  • Avoid flying below 8000 MSL within 12 hours of a dive not requiring a decompression stop

Real-life advice and experience

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Additional resources


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