Imagine you are planning your next dive trip and one of your nightmares is to arrive at your destination totally congested!! Everyone has had this happen at one time or another. Between the air conditioning on the plane, a chilly hotel room or entering barefoot at 7Eleven, it’s more than enough to stuff up your vacation. One of the most common problems when diving is the discomfort related to pressure and the ears or sinuses.

Check out these 5 tips to prevent sinus squeeze discomfort and avoid a possible barotrauma

Neti pot

Have you ever used one? Yogis have been using this tool to bring balance to the body for many years. It is a small cup shaped like the Aladdin lamp in which you put warm salt water. It serves to clean mucus out of the sinuses and prevent infections which can cause sinusitis. It is a good idea to use it regularly and especially a couple of weeks before your trip. If you dedicate yourself to diving professionally, you can use it practically every day.

Using it on a regular basis will help keep your sinuses clean and hydrated, but be sure to use the right amount of salt. Also, use a proper method in order to not leave residual water in the sinuses since this can cause problems. Follow the instructions for use or use a tutorial on YouTube.

Tiger Balm

A classic among classics. Tiger balm has many uses and opening the airways is one of them. You can apply this ointment before and after diving. Put a little balm behind the ears, on the neck, a little on the forehead and between the eyebrows. Finally, breathe in the vapors. The direct application stimulates the opening of the pathways and inhaling the vapors will also relieve paranasal congestion a bit.

Essential oils

Some essential oils are already mixed and prepared to help as a decongestant or open the nasal passages. Some oils are better than others for sinus problems. Normally, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, oregano or lavender are good for this use. Put your blend together with a carrier oil and apply to the body in the same way as the tiger balm: behind the ears to stimulate the vestibular and throat channels.

Nasal inhaler

Maybe you are not so familiar with them, but in Asia they are used regularly and sold in any 7Eleven or supermarkets, pharmacies etc. This is a small nasal applicator with mentholated aromas (you even find them with Tiger Balsam aroma). They are small, portable and simple to use. No need to squirt anything, just place the inhaler in your nostril and inhale to relieve nasal congestion.

A pro tip from fellow scuba divers

When scuba diving, it is not recommended to take medication when you are congested. Taking a decongestant before diving can clean the congestion for a few hours to be able to equalize and get underwater, but this can cause the blockage to return during the dive! If this happens, then you have a serious problem on the way up which is called a reverse blockage.

Pick and choose from these 5 tips so that you can prevent and keep your sinuses in good condition for diving. Clean and hydrated sinuses are the way to go!

Azul Unlimited

We are a PADI dive center in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia offering daily dive trips to the Komodo National Park. The PADI courses available include Discover Scuba Diving, Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, EFR, Divemaster and Sidemount. Join us for an unforgettable experience diving in one of the top dive destinations in the world!