Cold and the Diver: Physiology and First Aid of Hypothermia

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Cold and the Diver: Physiology and First Aid of Hypothermia

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Title: Cold and the Diver: Physiology and First Aid of Hypothermia
Author: Millar, I
Abstract: In deep commercial diving, with long in-water times, and especially if breathing helium/oxygen mixtures, cold exposure is a major problem that has been extensively studied. Hot water suits and insulated helmets are the dress now most often used off shore to prevent heat loss to the water. For deeper dives however the heat loss from the lungs to cold, dense breathing gas can be so large that gas heating becomes necessary If not adequate pulmonary problems can arise and hypothermia can occur despite maximum hot water suit heating. This article however is aimed more at those involved with recreational scuba activities and other forms of air breathing diving. In these situations, the increased risks of diving that results from cold exposure are most important. All who venture onto or under our Southern Australian waters are aware that cold can be an important factor in their activity. The scope of the increased risks that cold exposure can cause the average diver is not, however, widely appreciated. Hypothermia is only one of these risks of cold stress, however should it occur appropriate first aid and medical treatment are important. Regrettbly, many misconceptions continue to be taught and it is hoped that the following may help to dispel some of these.
Description: Journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/9379
Date: 1990

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