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## What Happens if You Sneeze or Cough While Scuba Diving

Sneezing or coughing while scuba diving can be a concerning experience, especially if you’re a novice diver. However, it’s important to remain calm and follow the proper protocol to avoid any potential risks.

### Causes of Sneezing and Coughing Underwater

Sneezing and coughing underwater can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

* **Cold or allergies:** The dry air inside a scuba tank can irritate the nasal passages, leading to sneezing. Allergies to substances in the water can also cause sneezing and coughing.
* **Pressure changes:** As you ascend or descend during a dive, the pressure changes can cause your sinuses to expand or contract, which can lead to sneezing or coughing.
* **Foreign objects:** Inhaling water or other foreign objects can irritate your lungs, causing coughing.

### Effects of Sneezing or Coughing Underwater

Sneezing or coughing underwater can have several effects:

* **Loss of buoyancy:** If you sneeze or cough forcefully, you can expel a significant amount of air from your lungs, which can cause you to lose buoyancy and rise uncontrollably.
* **Increased air consumption:** Sneezing or coughing repeatedly can increase your air consumption, which can shorten your dive time.
* **Disorientation:** The sudden movement of your body while sneezing or coughing can disorient you and make it difficult to maintain control of your surroundings.
* **Mask clearing:** If your mask becomes dislodged while sneezing or coughing, you’ll need to clear it quickly to restore your vision.

### Safety Protocol for Sneezing or Coughing Underwater

If you sneeze or cough while scuba diving, follow these steps:

**1. Remain Calm**

The most important thing is to remain calm and not panic.

**2. Hold Your Breath**

If possible, try to hold your breath while sneezing or coughing. This will help to minimize the loss of air and buoyancy.

**3. Cough or Sneeze into Your Regulator**

If you can’t hold your breath, cough or sneeze into your regulator. This will help to expel the air from your lungs without losing buoyancy.

**4. Check Your Mask**

After sneezing or coughing, check your mask to make sure it’s still in place and clear.

**5. Signal Your Buddy**

If you’re diving with a buddy, signal to them that you’ve sneezed or coughed. They can help you to regain control and ensure your safety.

**6. Consider Ascending**

If you’re struggling to control your buoyancy or breathing, consider ascending slowly to shallower water, where the pressure is less.

### Preventive Measures

To minimize the risk of sneezing or coughing underwater, consider the following preventive measures:

* **Take medication:** If you’re prone to allergies or colds, take medication before your dive to reduce the likelihood of sneezing or coughing.
* **Hydrate well:** Staying hydrated helps to prevent dry nasal passages, which can trigger sneezing.
* **Practice proper breathing techniques:** Inhale slowly and steadily through your nose and exhale through your mouth. This helps to prevent air from building up in your lungs, which can lead to coughing.
* **Avoid overexertion:** Exercising excessively while diving can increase your heart rate and breathing, which can make you more likely to sneeze or cough.

### Conclusion

Sneezing or coughing while scuba diving can be a minor annoyance or a potential safety hazard. By following the proper protocol and taking preventive measures, you can minimize the risks and enjoy a safe and enjoyable dive.

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