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Posted : July 5, 2010
Hello. I have just been diagnosed with bronchitis. What are the implications for my diving career and what sort of questions should I be asking my GP
I am a 35 year old male diving instructor. I smoke approx.5-10 cigarettes a day (hopefully now stopping totally) I am generally of good health. I take no regular medication etc. On a recent trip to U.A.E. i suffered fairly severe shortness of breath followed by regular vomiting and leg cramps..Initially I put this down to dehydration and tried to increase my fluid intake.. however with the vomiting I struggled to keep the fluids down. I flew back into the UK and went to see a walk in GP immediately. I had by then had the symptoms 5 days. The GP diagnosed me as having Bronchitis (but not informing me as to which type) and has prescribed 500mg amoxicillin 3 times/day for 5 days. I am on my 3rd day now and my breathing has improved but walking upstairs still has me gasping for breath. Basically as an dive instructor I want to be sure that I don't do anything that is going to have a lasting negative effect and therefore would like any guidance with regard to bronchitis and diving..obviously I won't be diving until I'm better but how long should I leave it? How can I be sure that I'm ok to dive again.

many thanks
Posted : July 6, 2010
Thanks for the query Andy.

Acute bronchitis is usually a viral or bacterial infection of the upper airways, which in general clears leaving no lasting damage. It can take a few weeks for the lung function to recover, even when the infection clears quickly, so don't go diving until your breathing has returned entirely to normal, you can expand your chest freely without pain, and aren't coughing.

Ideally a test called spirometry can give us numbers for your lung function, and this can often be done at your GP surgery.

Regards, Dr O
Answer provided by Dr Oliver Firth
Dr Ollie Firth
The views expressed by Dr Firth & Dr Jules are their own and the publishers accept no liability for the advice and views expressed by Dr Firth , Dr Jules, or other users, which are provided as a general service to divers. Users are warned that secondary posts are the views of other users and may not be medically correct.
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