As more divers travel to more remote destinations to experience the beauty of our underwater world, there are greater concerns regarding medical care. Eric has asked me to put together what I would consider a Medical Save-a-Dive Kit. I’ll preface this by saying I’m a cardiologist, not an infectious disease (ID) specialist. This list was put together based on my travel experiences and after discussions with one of my ID colleagues.
Legal CYA: The recommendations below assume the diver is not allergic to these medications. All final decisions should be made by the diver in conjunction with his or her primary physician.
Hope you find this helpful!
Douglas Ebersole, MD
Medical Save-A-Dive Kit
- Tylenol and Ibuprofen (headaches, muscle strains, general aches and pains)
- Bonine or Dramamine (seasickness)
- Prescription Transderm Scop is an alternative
- Phenergan (nausea – in case you get really seasick despite the above!)
- Sudafed (decongestant for sinus and or ear congestion)
- Prophylactic use for patients with difficulty clearing their ears is controversial
- Afrin Nasal Spray (same as above)
- Don’t use for more than three days in a row
- Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- This broad spectrum antibiotic will cover a broad range of infections (urinary, gastrointestinal, lung, skin, ears, sinuses) at least for a few days until you can get medical attention
- Monistat (women only) – Cipro (see above) can cause vaginal yeast infections
- Swimmer’s Ear solution
- Purchase at pharmacy or make your own. It’s just water, vinegar, & isopropyl alcohol with a little bit of oil mixed in
- Recommendation is to use it twice per week during your dive trip to help prevent external ear infections (otitis externa)
- Cipro HC Otic Solution – ear infections.
- Don’t use if there is concern of eardrum perforation
- Quixin Opthalmic Drops (conjunctivitis, “styes”, etc of the eye)
- This is probably overkill unless you’re prone to these infections
- Neosporin ointment (cuts, scrapes)
- Benadryl (rashes)
- 1% Hydrocortisone cream (rashes)
- Imodium (traveler’s diarrhea – though if it’s not severe, it’s better to let it clear on its own)
- Insect repellant with DEET (Skin so Soft as an alternative)
- Immunizations & Malaria prophylaxis
- -- If needed, depending on your destination
- -- www.cdc.gov/travel for recommendations