April 2022 – update on returning to diving after Covid-19
The UKDMC have released new guidance for divers looking to return to diving after a Covid-19 infection. This will be good news for those who have felt that the previous requirements were overly restrictive for those recovered from a mild infection.
As the infection rates have been rapidly increasing in the general population we have seen a sharp increase in the number of divers having to come in for assessment. The new guidance will allow for a more timely return for those with only mild symptoms who have remained fit and healthy, with more thorough assessment for those with more serious symptoms or other underlying health issues.
Previously, divers required a 3 month hiatus and assessment by a medical referee before they could be signed off. This was even if the infection had been asymptomatic. This guidance was created during the first wave of Covid-19 when there were a lot of unknowns about the disease. This was also before the different strains had been identified and a vaccination scheme established.
As we have accumulated more information about how both recreational and commercial divers have been affected, the UKDMC has adapted its guidance. Part of this change was influenced by the team of doctors here at DDRC who presented at the most recent UKDMC conference, discussing the results of the experiences that we have had with post Covid-19 divers.
Although the evidence is incomplete, the latest advice (as of 9th February 2022) is based on a points system which is shown below.
Essentially if you are healthy, less than 45 years old, vaccinated and have a reasonable level of fitness then you can return to diving in 1 month with no assessment required. If, however, your Covid-19 symptoms were more serious or you have co-existing health issues then you are likely to need review by a medical referee.
If you are unsure about whether you would need a medical assessment or if you have any queries about your fitness to dive then please book a telephone consultation with one of our doctors: https://www.ddrc.org/diving/fitness-to-dive/
Diving Support from DDRC Healthcare
Supporting the recreational and commercial diving community is paramount to us.Our primary aim is to provide advice to anyone during a diving emergency or who thinks that they may have decompression illness (DCI) following a dive.Our Diving Doctors can offer advise, assessment or treatment in our hyperbaric chambers, as necessary.
We also answer many inquiries about diver health, carry out diver medicals, deliver Diver Medic and diver safety courses and information days. Our ‘Diver Health’ research and education programmes are a key element of our charitable work.
24/7 Emergency Advice & Treatment: Our DDRC Diver Emergency Helpline is manned 24/7 every day of the year by our Diving Physicians for diving emergency advice and support.
Fitness to Dive Queries: Do you have a question about your fitness to go diving? Read our advice in the ‘Can I Dive With’ section or visit our Fitness to Dive page (Queries are dealt with by our experienced Diving Physicians. This service is subsidised by the charity DDRC Healthcare and is not paid for by the NHS.)
Diver Information Days: Professional Dive Boat Skipper Day: FREE day for skippers and crew on managing a diving incident. Speakers include RNLI & Newquay HM Coastguard Search & Rescue (Bristow). Case studies and diving physicians’ lectures.
Dive Accident Responder Course (DARC) includes: DCI recognition; Basic Life Support O2 & AED; Lectures from RNLI/HM Coastguard SAR; 40m Pot Dive; lunch & free parking.
Diver Education: Downloads for Dive Clubs: Our ‘Health of Divers’ Research programme has been running for a quite a few years now and you can download papers; Powerpoint presentations and leaflets for your club available here.
Diving Community Support: We appreciate all the support that we receive from divers, diving organisations and dive clubs. Follow, like and share us on social media @DDRCPlymouth.
Testimonials, Feedback, Recommendations: Please share your experiences with us via our Feedback section