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Scuba diving nosebleed tips

Scuba Diving Tips by Donald K.. Burleson

February, 2010

Getting a nosebleed underwater is not just annoying, it can be life threatening.

Sharks are trained to follow the scent of blood in the water, and they will come for miles if you start bleeding.

Nosebleeds during scuba diving normally occur when changing depth, and a great rule of thumb for avoiding nosebleeds is to resist the temptation to change depths quickly:

  • At descent, the mask squeeze" pressure can cause a nosebleed.

  • At depth, when you begin to ascend, and nosebleeds are common because of the compounding effect of decompression.  

A slight ascent causes the gasses to expand, and this expansion, in turn, adds additional buoyancy.  I have a ruptured eardrum, so I have to wear a nasty head mast to lock water out of my eardrum.

Beginner scuba divers are susceptible to nosebleeds

It's not uncommon for a beginner to ascend 20-30 feet in just a few seconds, and in addition  to being embarrassing, it can cause the blood vessels in your nose to burst!

Nosebleeds when scuba diving are dangerous

When I had a nosebleed, I was rising from 100 feet, and I noticed what appeared to be a green fluid filling the inside of my mask!  At depth, red colors are masked by the water, and blood appears green.

Blood inside your mask looks green underwater

If you detect a nosebleed underwater, in shark infested water, it is definitely an emergency and you must make a fast decision about a controlled ascent or an emergency ascent followed by a half day in a decompression chamber.  If you are in an area without a decompression chamber, you and your buddy should plan as fast an ascent as possible.  I'm only a beginner, but this is what  did when I got a nosebleed at 80 feet underwater:

Step 1 - Strep-down you mask, very tightly to prevent leakage

Step 2 - Look for sharks, They can swim-in quickly from out of nowhere, of it might make you feel batter.

Step 3 - Ascend to 30 feet as quickly as possible and decompress while keep out a sharp eye for sharks.

Step 4 - Get your butt out of the water as soon as possible.

Nosebleeds can take months to heal, and as a safety precaution, I keep Silver Nitrate cauterization applicators.  It's the exact same way an ENT physician will fix a nosebleed, but faster and cheaper.

Silver Nitrate will quickly cauterize a nosebleed




Note: The opinions expressed on these pages are the sole opinion of Donald K. Burleson and do not reflect the opinions of Burleson Enterprises Inc. or any of its subsidiaries.

Suggestions?  We are always seeking new tips for the professional at leisure, and any suggestions would be most welcome.  If you find an error or have a suggestion for improving our content, we would appreciate your feedback. 

Copyright 1996 -  2010 by Donald K Burleson. All rights reserved.