Scuba Diving/medical


I have a friend who used to dive every weekend for many years, is a dive master himself and even had a business where he certified people for several years.

He had some personal issues happen and didn't dive for over a year and a half. Then one day just decided to go diving, grabbed the long ignored equipment (it hadent been used in 18 months) and went diving.  He loved the dive it was nice and long and peaceful. About a week later he started having shortness of breath, fatigue and sleep apnea.

He has seen a lung doctor and a cardiologist and they cant seem to find any answers. Have you ever encountered anyone developing a lung infection from old possibly dirty equipment  He is a big muscular guy that has to teach in front of large groups. It is starting to affect his carreer. Any help you could give would be awesome, the docs are stuck...

I'm very sorry to hear about your friends respiratory issues.  He's already done what I would have suggested.  Another option for your friend would be to contact Divers Alert Network (DAN).  This organization is headquartered in Duke University Medical Center and is on the cutting edge of diving medicine.  They have a free medical hotline for both physicians and divers.  it's staffed by professionals who can give him advice.  Their website is

In answer to your question regarding infections from diving equipment:  It's certainly possible although I haven't heard of any instances as of this writing.  If his equipment was properly maintained prior to long term storage (clean and dry) then the odds of this happening are pretty small.  I would also have him check the air in the tank he used if possible or question the shop who supplied his air.  Do they have a certificate of air analysis certifying that the air used to fill the tanks is up to breathing air standards?  If so, take a look at it and be sure it's current.

I hope this information will lead to a resolution of your friend's respiratory issues and wish him and you the best.


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Mike Giles


I am a Master Scuba Instructor with over 6000 dives. I can answer questions on general diving techniques, diving education and diver training. I can offer suggestions on the use and selection of proper dive equipment, general maintenance of dive equipment as well as diving equipment repair. I can also offer suggestions on air conservation techniques and buoyancy control. As a dive shop owner for 19 years, I can offer suggestions on starting/running a dive business.


I have been diving for 55 years, teaching diving for 50 years and owned a diving business for 19 years. I am a certified regulator repair technician for several different brands and a certified scuba cylinder inspector.

I am currently a member of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), Divers Alert Network (DAN), International Resort and Retailer Association and the Better Business Bureau

Undercurrent magazine and Divers Chapbook

I am a Master Scuba Diver Trainer with 15 distinct specialty instructor ratings, Rescue Diver Instructor, Medic-First Aid Instructor and I have degrees in Chemical Engineering, Biology and Radiologic Technology.

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