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How Do I Prevent CO2 Buildup? @asho2341 #scuba #askmark


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@asho2341
Hey Mark I just got back from a dive on the (ex) HMAS Brisbane and had a headache after, after a bit of research it seems like it was caused by CO2 buildup from my breathing, any tips on how to improve on this? #AskMark

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NickB
NickB
6 months ago

You expect people to subscribe to hear this bloke’s opinions? 😂

Bloody Marvelous
Bloody Marvelous
5 months ago

It is highly unlikely you get hypercapnia from open circuit SCUBA diving. You’re constantly receiving fresh air from your cylinder, and carbon dioxide easily vents from your body. It’s not like an inert gas that’s stored in your tissue. If you’re not getting enough air/oxygen that doesn’t result in hypercapnia either. Your body just starts burning calories anaerobically, which results in buildup of lactic acid in your muscles, giving you a cramp or muscle ache the next day.

Hypercapnia only occurs if you’re breathing gas that’s rich, or getting richer in carbon dioxide because it’s stuck in your breathing loop (like a full face mask or CCR unit).

Carbon monoxide poisoning in SCUBA is pretty much fatal, so no chance that being a possible cause for the headache. The concentrations you’d take in at 27 meters will saturate your red blood cells, making it impossible for you to absorb oxygen into your bloodstream.

Most likely it’s dehydration, like a hangover, or sunstroke in very hot climates.
Stress headaches are possible, but most SCUBA dives are relaxing. So unless you’ve really been heavily task loading yourself, that shouldn’t be an issue either.

DCI is always a possibility when you’re experiencing new symptoms or aches within 24 hours after a dive. Oxygen should be administered immediately if you’re at all in doubt whether a symptom could be caused by DCI, and a physician consulted when you get back ashore.

Hasan Gez
Hasan Gez
Reply to  Bloody Marvelous
5 months ago

I concur

HashTagRealName
HashTagRealName
5 months ago

I have had a lot of headaches from diving and theres a lot of possible causes. I’m quite a tense person so I think it tends to lead to both tension headaches and retaining CO2. I think because I’m tense and also conscious of my breathing and gas usage it creates a situation where I basically end up skip breathing and not fully expirating. I also breath less when I am concentrating too much on my trim and buoyancy. Just bad habits.

If you’re worrying too much then you need to work through that – and if nothing else just make sure you’re “belly breathing”. Humans are the only animal that don’t automatically just belly breath (or so I hear)… This not only relaxes you but also makes sure you don’t retain CO2.

The other thing is correct weighting – if you are overweighted you will be holding extra lung volume for buoyancy. Even if you think you’re correctly weighted do a proper check! Chances are your skill has developed and you can now get away with less lead!

I live in the area and I haven’t quite made it to the Brisbane yet despite going out to Mooloolaba reefs multiple times.

Asho23
Asho23
Reply to  HashTagRealName
5 months ago

Thanks man, I’ll try it all off those suggestions, if you’re looking for another dive buddy let me know!

Chris Philhower
Chris Philhower
5 months ago

I Free Dive at my College Pool. 90 Ft on one breath. Sometimes I get a Headache while doing my laps. Back awhile ago, In another Gyms Pool, I had a conversation with a Swim Instructor. He swam Masters. And said about blowing the “Bad air” out of my nose from time to time. I do that from time to time underwater. They were concerned about me “Blacking out” while I do them. The other thing I do is, I swim Backstroke on the surface. Usually in a set of 20 Laps to clear the CO2 out. I have a Routine I do that Dive Computers Hate. And tell me No Fly for at least a day each pool session.

Kai Laurila
Kai Laurila
5 months ago

Yeah. For getting hypercapnia you need to work and hyperventilate. Always remember relax yourself and breath normally. Normally every 1/400 breath is deeper and higher volume than your normal breaths.

Bloody Marvelous
Bloody Marvelous
Reply to  Kai Laurila
5 months ago

Hyperventilation causes hypocapnia, not hypercapnia. That’s why you are told to breathe into a bag when you’re hyperventilating, so your CO₂ levels return to normal levels. If you are suffering from hypercapnia, you will start to hyperventilate to reduce the amount of CO₂ in your system.

Hypercapnia and hypocapnia upset the pH balance of your body, which can affect organ function, including brain function.

Martin Duke
Martin Duke
5 months ago

another common cause of headache in diving is a mask that is too tight, and or ill fitting.

Robin Moerland
Robin Moerland
5 months ago

Can you do video where you show what you can servicr yourself? #askmark

Scuba Diver Magazine
Scuba Diver Magazine
Reply to  Robin Moerland
5 months ago

Sure, it will vary depending on the gear you dive, the country you’re in and you’re technical ability.

There’s no _magic_ to servicing dive gear but, there are often dedicated tools and procedures and it’s best to leave it to a qualified technician if you’re in doubt.

Computer batteries are often user-changeable, you just need the right O-Ring seal. Some BCD inflators are quite easy to disassemble and clean. I’ll have a think and see if I can come up with a Top 10 video

Robin Moerland
Robin Moerland
Reply to  Robin Moerland
5 months ago

@Scuba Diver Magazine /brainstorm on

Bloody Marvelous
Bloody Marvelous
Reply to  Robin Moerland
5 months ago

@Scuba Diver Magazine Some second stages have a removable front cover. This way you can get dirt and grime out of your second stage without having it serviced. Apeks also has user changeable exhaust T’s. These will also give you access to the exhaust valve for cleaning.

Mohamed Alyafei
Mohamed Alyafei
5 months ago

What is the maximum allowable amount of carbon dioxide gas in the diving cylinder?

Mohamed Alyafei
Mohamed Alyafei
Reply to  Mohamed Alyafei
5 months ago

Here I mean when analyzing air

Bloody Marvelous
Bloody Marvelous
Reply to  Mohamed Alyafei
5 months ago

Almost zero. Air contains about 0.04% CO₂, that’s where it should be or less.
Anything over will affect your breathing rate, since the body expels CO₂ into your bloodstream.

If your air fill contains more CO₂, that means it contains exhaust gases, which contain far more dangerous products than CO₂. Unburnt carbohydrates, nitrousoxide, carbonmonoxide. And you’ll taste/smell it when you breathe from it.

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