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Wilderness: Decompression Illness (cont.)


Decompression Sickness Treatment

  • Give 100% oxygen to a person with decompression illness.
  • If the person with decompression illness has nausea or is not fully conscious, place that person on his or her side.
  • Administer IV fluids if possible. Otherwise, administer sips of nonalcoholic, clear liquids as tolerated.
  • Administer CPR if necessary.

When to Seek Medical Care for Decompression Sickness

Patient Comments
  • Seek medical treatment in all cases of decompression illness.
  • Arrange hyperbaric oxygen treatment for a person with decompression illness as soon as possible (see diving emergency contacts).
  • Check with local wound clinics, as many have hyperbaric chambers.

For More Information about Decompression Sickness

Hyperbaric Medicine Unit, Decompression Illness

Divers Alert Network (DAN), About DAN

MedlinePlus, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine


"Complications of SCUBA diving"

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/22/2016
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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Scuba Diving: Decompression Illness:

Scuba Diving: Decompression Illness - Symptoms

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Decompression Sickness »

Although decompression sickness (DCS), a complex resulting from changed barometric pressure, includes high-altitude–related and aerospace-related events, this article focuses on decompression associated with the sudden decrease in pressures during underwater ascent, usually occurring during free or assisted dives.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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