Wednesday, June 16

Medical Problems

While on a diving holiday every minute in the water is worth a fortune and it does happen that the ears start protesting or that the stomach gets a bit upset. If it does you need to get better a.s.a.p. not to lose valuable time diving. Here’s a few hints that might be helpful.

Obviously; I’m not a doctor and all the medications suggested on this page should only be taken after carefully reading the information pamphlet in the box.

If you should need to contact a doctor or a hospital you should always ask your tour operator but in case you can’t reach them and there is an emergency you find contact information HERE.


You try to be careful not to get contaminated before a dive holiday. You stay well clear of coughing co-workers and children with snotty noses. Right? The last thing you want to do is to spend a couple of hours with a few hundred strangers in a confined space without ventilation. Especially if this space is air conditioned… This is the perfect description of a commercial airliner. So… unless you’re driving here yourself it’s hard to avoid it. You will be sitting there breathing recycled air packed with the germs from everybody on that flight…

Then you come here. You jump into the sea where the water has suspended particles that the natural defence in your ear is not used to nor prepared for. Tropical ear, Swimmer ear, there are many names for an ear infection amongst divers. Whatever you call it, the question remains: How do I avoid it and how do I get rid of it if I get it?

  • Do not put alcohol or vinegar or other bacteria-killing solutions in your ear, the only thing that help with is to take away your natural defence system your body built up in your ear.
  • Rinse your ear with fresh water after every dive (bottled water not tap water) and that should take care of getting the sea out.
  • Do not sleep with the air-conditioner on!
  • If you can, avoid smoking…
  • If you anyway get some problems seek help right away. Don’t wait a day and see if it’ll go away. It won’t. The best E.N.T. doctor in Hurghada is Dr. George Youssef. You find him in El Dahar right behind “The Central”. Call first, Dr’s keep different hours in Egypt than in Europe.

What to do?

For temporary remedy you can always take an Actifed, Otrivin or Flixonase but do not medicate to be able to dive, take one before you go to bed to help your ear or sinuses relax over night.

And turn the bloody air conditioner off…

Ear Plugs? For Sure not… Or?

You probably remember from your OW course that you should never use ear plugs while diving. This is now not as true as it used to be… There is a new plug on the market that keeps your ear completely dry to a depth of 6m. then it lets a small amount in through a filter just for equalizing. This means that you won’t get new cold dirty water in and out of your ear for the entire dive. You don’t have to warm up cold water, the water is the same so your natural defend mechanism-bacteria in your ear don’t have to combat a steady exchange of dirty water. Everybody I know that tried them could not be more happy about the result.


Some people think that you can’t visit Egypt without having stomach problems (or yalla belly as I call it) but this is not true. It’s not the food you get sick from it’s the money. As long as you don’t lick the bills (or your fingers right after you handle the money) you should be all right. If you do get stomach problems it’s important to keep hydrated and you probably need to take some rehydration salts.

This money has been to the fish market, the camel market, the petrol station and everywhere before it ended up as change in the taxi just stepped out of.

As long as you’re not licking the money you’ll be fine.
Don’t scratch the street dogs before biting your nails you’ll be fine.
Be careful with what you touch if you plan to suck on your thumb and you’ll be fine.

A lot of people say “Lets have Mc Donald’s, then we know what we get” Then they pay with the dirty bills and start eating French fries with their fingers…
So you tell them about this. The same people go and wash their hands after paying, then pull the chair out sit down drag the chair in and start eating French fries with their fingers…

Most important is to make sure your food is served steaming warm. You are less likely to get sick from sizzling hot plate of shawerma from a “hole in the wall” than a hotel buffet that’s been on the medium warm heater for hours.

If you anyway get some problem, seek medical help if it’s not gone after 24 hours. That’s the normal duration. Longer than that and you might get in trouble from dehydration and so on.

The best stomach doctor in Hurghada is Dr. Kosman. You find him in El Dahar right behind the Coptic church. He gives you an injection and half an hour later you’re having steak in Groucho’s.

Dr Kosman’s phone number is +20 (0)12 33 15 440 Call first, Dr’s keep different hours in Egypt than in Europe. Normally he opens at 9 o’clock at night.

There is no use bringing stomach medicine from Europe. These are Egyptian bugs and it takes Egyptian remedies to combat them. Leave the European stuff at home and get some Antinal from the nearest pharmacy on arrival to Egypt and you’ll be fine.


It’s very easy to get dehydrated when on a dive holiday. You spend time in the sun and sweat while the wind is keeping your skin cooled down so you don’t really realize just how warm it is. You also lose some fluids by inhaling dry air from your tank and exhaling moist air after it’s been passed through your body. Recommended amount of water intake is minimum 4 litres a day.

If you feel dehydrated (the symptoms includes tiredness, headache and dark coloured urine) it’s really important that you do something about it. Diving in a dehydrated state increases the risk for DCS. There should be rehydration salt in the MFA kit on the boat but just to make sure bring some with you. Read the instructions carefully so you get the right mix or it might have the opposite effect. What you want is to get the same percentage of minerals in the water you drink as you have in your body tissue. That way your body can absorb the fluid without any unnecessary osmosis going on.
You find rehydration salts in any pharmacy in Egypt and the price is only a few Egyptian pounds for a packet.


Some Problems with equalizing might spring from dental issues. If you by any chance need to take care of a dental problem while in Hurghada, the man to see is Dr Ahmed Kamal. It may also be an idea to plan the yearly dentist visit to coincide with your dive holiday since you probably get a lower price on the complete deal. Flight, hotel, diving and the dentist in Egypt is likely to be cheaper than just the dentist visit in Europe! And the dentist is probably better than the one in Europe as well.