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Snorkeling With Dry Snorkels for Asthmatics

author image Teresa Bergen
Teresa Bergen writes about fitness, health, yoga, travel and the arts. She is the author of "Vegetarian Asia Travel Guide" and has written hundreds of articles for publications online and off. Bergen also teaches yoga, spinning and group fitness classes, and is an ACE-certified personal trainer.
Snorkeling With Dry Snorkels for Asthmatics
Snorkeling equipment on a wood background Photo Credit: sergio_kumer/iStock/Getty Images

Asthma sufferers may hesitate before donning snorkel gear and jumping in the water. Stimuli involved in snorkeling -- such as exercise, salt water mist, cold water and feelings of claustrophobia -- can trigger asthma attacks. While no snorkeler enjoys accidentally breathing salt water through his or her snorkel, this is especially dangerous for an asthmatic person. A piece of gear called a dry snorkel lets little or no water into the snorkel. If any water manages to infiltrate the snorkel tube, a mechanism channels it out before the snorkeler breathes it. When diving, a float valve at the top of the snorkel closes so water doesn’t get in.

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Gear Up

Step 1

Get dressed for the water. Position your mask and snorkel. If you're snorkeling from a boat, put your fins on once you're in the boat. If snorkeling from the shore, try putting them on in waist-deep water. Asthmatics who worry that the shock of cold water will trigger an attack should wear a wetsuit.

Step 2

Acclimate yourself to the water. Once you're in, let yourself float while you refamiliarize yourself with breathing through a snorkel. Try for relaxed, slow breaths, as if you're lying in a hammock. Don't grip your mouthpiece too hard or you'll get a sore jaw.

Step 3

Stay within sight of your snorkel buddy or group leader. This is important for anybody, but especially for people with asthma. Practice with your buddy so she is aware of the signs that indicate you're having an asthma attack.

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