An experienced diver and DAN AP member ignores the warning signals of a rash, until the symptoms escalate
I have an extensive diving history spanning 14 years and I’ve completed more than 800 dives. I am nitrox certified and my diving recently has been relatively shallow (less than 25 metres) with a single tank and open circuit.
Over the past two years, I have experienced three episodes of skin rash after diving with no other symptoms of decompression sickness (DCS). • Episode 1: 18 months ago, the mottled skin rash appeared after a dive in the UAE. There were no other symptoms and it went away without needing any treatment.
• Episode 2: 12 months ago, I dived in Indonesia on nitrox and completed 40 dives. Again, the rash appeared with no other symptoms, and went away without treatment. • Episode 3: Six months ago, I was back in Indonesia and developed a mottled rash on my chest after a dive. My arms were aching round my elbow joints, but it went away and I didn’t think it was an issue or DCI so I carried on diving.
On all three occasions, I didn’t seek advice from DAN, breathe oxygen or stop diving. I was not concerned as the rash went away naturally and I had no other symptoms, I just thought it was the hot climate that caused the mottling. It was only during the third episode where I had the extra symptom of achy joints, but as it went away by itself, I still didn’t think it was something to worry about.
My fourth encounter occurred earlier this year. I was diving in Indonesia, on a two-week diving trip, when a skin rash appeared after diving.
On day 1, I had completed two dives when the rash developed. However, during my surface interval, it spontaneously disappeared, so I carried on with the third dive of the day. I didn’t experience any other issues after the dive or later on at night.