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Old 02-21-2018, 07:39 AM   #1
Alec
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Co2 headaches on SCUBA

No matter how good I control my breathing, or no matter how slow I come up from any given depth (70-185ft) I have gotten co2 headaches my whole life scuba diving. Does anybody have this issue or any tips on how to avoid them? Thanks
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Old 02-21-2018, 07:53 AM   #2
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

CO2 build up is the usual culprit. Skip/shallow breathing and/or working hard on the dive.
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:01 AM   #3
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

Not skip or shallow breathing, and not working hard either. Happens on regular dives not just spearfishing
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:01 AM   #4
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

Are you making sure you are super hydrated and had plenty of sleep in the 48 hrs prior to diving? I had major headache issue for many years until I realized that I was often dehydrated before and during my dives. Sleep deprivation also resulted in bad headaches for me.
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:03 AM   #5
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

Hydration may be a factor, but I do try my best to stay hydrated the day prior and the day of
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:57 AM   #6
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

Are your headaches crushing and noticeable at the back of your skull?
Some people seem more affected by carbon monoxide that others.
Cigarette smoke, diesel fumes or quality of the compressed air you use may be factors.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:32 AM   #7
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

I get them as well. Mine hit me at the sides of my skull and are debilitating. Deep, long, slow breathes throughout the dive help. I can start to feel them coming on during the dive and slow down and increase my respiration rate and depth to fend them off. If anyone else has other methods to prevent them please share
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:01 PM   #8
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

Maybe a stupid question, using Nitrox?

Back in the day before I used Nitrox I would get headaches, since none.
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:03 PM   #9
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

I don’t use Nitrox. It does make sense that while using Nitrox you don’t experience the CO2 headaches as the oxygen content is higher
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:27 PM   #10
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

I'm guessing that then.

Aside from no headaches, I am not nearly as tired afterwards using Nitrox.

Longer bottom times, greater safety, shorter surface intervals, no headaches, less tired...what's not to like???
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:09 PM   #11
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

I think a good test to confirm co2 is if pure oxygen on the boat cures it almost immediately.

Freedivers build a tolerance for co2 and there natural response may be muted. I know a lot of divers who take a aspirin or two before or during the dive day.

One thing you need to realize is that full exhalations are more effective in co2 removal and also that at depth we have way more oxygen than we need or can use - so the challenge of respiration on scuba is co2 elimination not oxygen uptake. So you may experiment and try to exhale more fully and breath a little more than seems necessary and see if that solves the issue.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:23 PM   #12
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

Long complete exhales and lots of water/sleep before dive day. Good night sleep works for helping me not getting seasick and headaches also. If you can drink a gallon plus of water the day before and continue drinking water throughout on boat while diving. These things almost eliminated me ever getting the headaches. When I do its my fault holding my breath and chasing shallow water gags now.

Great advice above that worked for me also.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:42 AM   #13
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

Drink as much water as you can to stay hydrated. A slow ascent and a deep stop helps me reduce my headaches but I still get them from time to time.
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:00 AM   #14
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

Nitrox helped me. 36% as I recall
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Old 02-22-2018, 01:54 PM   #15
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Re: Co2 headaches on SCUBA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Schulte View Post
Nitrox helped me. 36% as I recall
I use 100% medical grade. For some reason, I get a bit dizzy and blurred vision at deeper depths...but no headaches.
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