COVID recovery and high gas usage

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Call Me Lucky

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Fact pattern:
I voluntarily took the vaccination in March and May 2020, tested constantly and followed the rules in terms of masks and protocols. I caught COVID in Belize while on a dive trip 6 weeks back. Mild symptoms, tired but no chest or throat issues. Body ache, headache, and something that felt like eye strain. I am back diving in Puerto Rico where I live and dive very regularly (3 times a week). I frequently have a dive partner and am consistently 300-400 PSI lighter in my tank at the end of a dive than she is. Since back diving I am running closer to a full 1000 PSI off from her baseline even though I feel 100% and never had chest congestion when sick.

Questions:
Has anyone experienced something similar? If so, did it resolve itself and over what length of time. I know this is a hot topic, I am looking for non political responses from people with direct experience similar to mine. For reference I dive my own gear, so no changes there. My dive partner has been consistent in health, so no obvious changes there.
 

WS007

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Fact pattern:
I voluntarily took the vaccination in March and May 2020, tested constantly and followed the rules in terms of masks and protocols. I caught COVID in Belize while on a dive trip 6 weeks back. Mild symptoms, tired but no chest or throat issues. Body ache, headache, and something that felt like eye strain. I am back diving in Puerto Rico where I live and dive very regularly (3 times a week). I frequently have a dive partner and am consistently 300-400 PSI lighter in my tank at the end of a dive than she is. Since back diving I am running closer to a full 1000 PSI off from her baseline even though I feel 100% and never had chest congestion when sick.

Questions:
Has anyone experienced something similar? If so, did it resolve itself and over what length of time. I know this is a hot topic, I am looking for non political responses from people with direct experience similar to mine. For reference I dive my own gear, so no changes there. My dive partner has been consistent in health, so no obvious changes there.


Hi Lucky,

We are in the same boat, but you are ahead of me: I am 65 years old and have been vaccinated with Biontech/Pfizer in February and March 21. During a recent diving trip to mountain lakes in Austria/Tyrol (August 31st - September 3rd) I got infected with the delta mutation and after two weeks of sickness with mild symptoms, similar to your symptoms (after experiencing these mild symptoms, I would not like to suffer ever more severe symptoms (!)), I have been tested negative a couple of days ago. Too little time to say yet how I will perform underwater, but going up the staircase is still a little stressfull. About one-two weeks post infection I plan to resume sports gingerly (bycyling and finn swimming). I have already booked, before the infection, a three week diving vacation to Egypt for November/December 21 (and sincerely hope this will be possible)...

Fact is that DAN and Aquamed state that any medical diving fitness examination becomes expired after a corona infection (mine was in July 21, due to age I have to do it every year again). The recommended time to resume diving, after mild symptoms (like in our case), is 2 months after the end of infection, but before diving a fresh diving fitness examination is due (did you make one?). This is the official recommendation for "regular" corona infected people, but they do not state, whether this holds also for vaccinated divers. I am shure no physician is able or would dare to give binding recommendations/reliefs, since the item of vaccinated corona ifected divers is new, si it will be up tp us to decide, based on how we are feeling. I assume that the implications for vaccinated people are less severe, according to the milder course of the disease (?)...

I am not shure that I need (will do) a fresh diving fitness examination, before resuming diving. It depends how I will feel. I will do it (including NMR of the lung), in case I feel I am not o.k. (e.g. excess air consumption as in your case (how many Liters/min at surface before and after covid?)) and cancel the trip to Egypt or not, depending on the outcome...

I am eager to read here how you and other people perform and what they are doing after a similar situation...


I wish you all the best, Wolfgang
 

WS007

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I have more information regarding my recovery, but it does not sound good: I contacted DAN for advise and they say that diving fitness is no longer given after a Corona infection, even after mild symptoms. I am now in contact with my diving physician and will proceed with examinations as he will suggest...
=> I strongly suggest Lucky to go for a diving doctor for advise (in case you are not already in treatment anyhow)...

Here is what I have written to DAN Europe (translated from german via Google):
"I ask for medical advice: During a diving holiday at Fernsteinsee / Smarangersee I was infected with the Delta Mutant, although I was vaccinated with Biontech / Pfizer in February and March 21, I am 65 years old. Mild symptoms (headache, sore throat, cough, dry eyes, after 1 week massive diarrhea (- 5kg; 2/3 of it dehydration), no fever, lungs little affected (occasional stinging)). Illness from 1.9. - 15.9 - rather tedious; on September 15 PCR test negative and official ordered quarantine was cancelled on September 17th). I feel better every day (yesterday, September 20th, I went to the sauna for the first time). I also booked a three-week diving holiday in Egypt (Nov / Dec 21) even before the corona disease. Now it is a matter of carefully returning to normal again. I am reluctant to cancel my diving vacation, my plan is as follows: # 1 .: At the end of the week (September 17th), carefully restart sporting activities (cycling and swimming with fins). # 2 .: Depending on the course of recovery, another fitness test or not (last was July 21st). # 3 .: If recovery is sluggish, what imaging of the lungs is recommended to get to the bottom (CT, NMR) in order to decide on a diving vacation? Thank you, LG, WS"

Here is the answer from DAN Europe (translated from German via Google):
"Dear Mr. Scheibmayer,

But you have had to experience great bad luck, which unfortunately does not allow any other answer than this:

After a Covid-19 illness, as you have experienced it, there is no longer any fitness to dive as long as it has not been confirmed by a diving doctor. The severity of your illness, the fact that it was most likely the more dangerous Delta variant and that pulmonary involvement cannot be ruled out, but is even probable, makes a pulmonary examination necessary (at least a large pulmonary function examination, possibly also a CT) must include. With these results, your diving doctor will have to make further decisions.

From the experience with similar cases, I do not see any suitability for diving for you in the coming months, if only because all restrictions must be resolved before a positive decision is made, so there is no "post-covid" or even "long covid syndrome" developed.

Best regards - Dr. U. van Laak"

I will keep people here updated, since I believe that this is of potential interest for many and the number of affected, vaccinated, divers will increase...:(
Wolfgang
 

chillyinCanada

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I have more information regarding my recovery, but it does not sound good: I contacted DAN for advise and they say that diving fitness is no longer given after a Corona infection, even after mild symptoms. I am now in contact with my diving physician and will proceed with examinations as he will suggest...
=> I strongly suggest Lucky to go for a diving doctor for advise (in case you are not already in treatment anyhow)...

Here is what I have written to DAN Europe (translated from german via Google):
"I ask for medical advice: During a diving holiday at Fernsteinsee / Smarangersee I was infected with the Delta Mutant, although I was vaccinated with Biontech / Pfizer in February and March 21, I am 65 years old. Mild symptoms (headache, sore throat, cough, dry eyes, after 1 week massive diarrhea (- 5kg; 2/3 of it dehydration), no fever, lungs little affected (occasional stinging)). Illness from 1.9. - 15.9 - rather tedious; on September 15 PCR test negative and official ordered quarantine was cancelled on September 17th). I feel better every day (yesterday, September 20th, I went to the sauna for the first time). I also booked a three-week diving holiday in Egypt (Nov / Dec 21) even before the corona disease. Now it is a matter of carefully returning to normal again. I am reluctant to cancel my diving vacation, my plan is as follows: # 1 .: At the end of the week (September 17th), carefully restart sporting activities (cycling and swimming with fins). # 2 .: Depending on the course of recovery, another fitness test or not (last was July 21st). # 3 .: If recovery is sluggish, what imaging of the lungs is recommended to get to the bottom (CT, NMR) in order to decide on a diving vacation? Thank you, LG, WS"

Here is the answer from DAN Europe (translated from German via Google):
"Dear Mr. Scheibmayer,

But you have had to experience great bad luck, which unfortunately does not allow any other answer than this:

After a Covid-19 illness, as you have experienced it, there is no longer any fitness to dive as long as it has not been confirmed by a diving doctor. The severity of your illness, the fact that it was most likely the more dangerous Delta variant and that pulmonary involvement cannot be ruled out, but is even probable, makes a pulmonary examination necessary (at least a large pulmonary function examination, possibly also a CT) must include. With these results, your diving doctor will have to make further decisions.

From the experience with similar cases, I do not see any suitability for diving for you in the coming months, if only because all restrictions must be resolved before a positive decision is made, so there is no "post-covid" or even "long covid syndrome" developed.

Best regards - Dr. U. van Laak"

I will keep people here updated, since I believe that this is of potential interest for many and the number of affected, vaccinated, divers will increase...:(
Wolfgang

So sorry, Wolfgang.
 

Duke Dive Medicine

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The University of California at San Diego (UCSD) diving and hyperbaric medicine team recently published a set of guidelines for clearance to dive after COVID-19. The authors suggest that mild COVID-19 is not an immediate show-stopper for diving but do recommend evaluation of divers after complete recovery and before returning to diving.

Best regards,
DDM
 

Ucarkus

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@WS007, I wish you a quick recovery. I am wondering whether you have the results of prior regular health checks? If you are tested according to gtüm, there should have been effort test and lung capacity test and so on, you can easily compare the results then and now.

@Call Me Lucky , I am not sure it is a good and accurate practice to do a relative SAC calculation. Don't you remember any dive how much you left in the tank from past dives? Most of dive computers give you average dive depth, so, I am pretty sure you have this somewhere recorded and you can easily compute your own SAC and be actually sure that your air consumption increased. If you have been using a smart watch in the past, you might have information about your breathing patterns to observe what has changed post covid.
 

uncfnp

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I can think of three general reasons air consumption might be a bit higher post covid

Anxiety/stress of returning to diving after covid.
General deconditioning post illness.
Lung changes including covid pneumonia which have been report with even mild covid.
 

WS007

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The University of California at San Diego (UCSD) diving and hyperbaric medicine team recently published a set of guidelines for clearance to dive after COVID-19. The authors suggest that mild COVID-19 is not an immediate show-stopper for diving but do recommend evaluation of divers after complete recovery and before returning to diving.

Best regards,
DDM

Hi DDM,

Thank you for the link with the interesting paper...

I see that DAN acts accordingly: according to the paper "Category 1" divers, (=mild symptoms; people like e.g. Lucky and me) require a complete re-evaluation including spirometry and chest radiography. Even for "Category 0" divers (=asymptomatic infection) a, less rigorous, reevaluation by a (diving?) physician is suggested before resuming diving...

I also understand now why there is no distinction made between non-vaccinated and vaccinated divers: vaccination will result, in average, in much less severe symptoms. It is finally based on just these symptoms, which measures have to be taken and passed before resuming diving...

As I read the paper, an examination by a diving physician is recommended for every Corona infected diver, but the kind of examination is different, see e.g.:
"...Because of the potential risks (including barotrauma, decreased exercise tolerance, cardiomyopathy,and arrhythmia), it is prudent to do a thorough evaluation of divers who have recovered from COVID-19..."
"...We currently recommend following CDC guidelines for screening of an employee for any diver prior to diving..."

As far as I am concerned, I am out of the idea of evaluating my diving fitness by myself (that idea I had initially, since I am an optimist)...


Wolfgang
 

NootFish

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Another thing to consider is potential for positive swab even months after resolution of symptoms, which could lead to everyone on your liveaboard getting quarantined. Might be better to take 6+ months to heal, then do a single dive locally to see how you do before any big travel.
 

John C. Ratliff

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It is better to be prudent and get that medical evaluation, with spirometry.

But reading your initial post, you may be talking about the difference between a male diving with a female, so far as air consumption goes. :wink: However, since it got you to thinking and talking with DAN, it was worth the investigations. This discussion will help a lot of other divers who have become infected with COVID-19.

I am envious that you can dive three times a week; I dive the Clackamas River at High Rocks here in Oregon, and we are into fall now so the diving season is coming to an end. I dive solo, but my wife says I now should not dive solo at age 75 without the lifeguards at my dive site, and they stopped their lifeguarding on Labor Day in the USA.

SeaRat
 

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