Skin cuts, bumps and scrapes are very common among divers. Accidental contact with rocks, corals, wrecks and any number of other hard surfaces can cause injuries. Divers with poor buoyancy in particular frequently come back from a dive with a few more abrasions than when they started. Abrasions can expose divers to microorganisms and increase the risk of infection, as well as cause some bleeding, particularly if damage is done to the skin in a highly perfused area, such as the head, hands or fingers.
How can I prevent abrasions? You can prevent abrasions by mastering your buoyancy control and using mechanical protection such as gloves, hoods in overhead environments and a full-body wetsuit. Even in locations where thermal protection might not be necessary, a dive skin or thin wetsuit will protect your skin from being exposed and from the potential for cuts and scrapes.
How do you treat abrasions? If an abrasion is minor, wash the area thoroughly with fresh water and apply an antiseptic solution, then control bleeding with sterile dressings. Afterward, let the area dry and cover it with triple-antibiotic ointment and a sterile bandage. If bleeding can’t be stopped easily, apply pressure to control bleeding and seek immediate medical care.