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Phuket Lifestyle: Christmas in the chamber

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Lifestyle: Christmas in the chamber | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Though only some divers know all the words to the Twelve Days of Christmas, every diver has heard or knows by heart a couple horror stories of “getting the bends”.

From our training and bar room chat we get the the picture of a panicking diver disregarding protocol and bolting for the surface. As they shoot towards fresh air, the nitrogen accumulated in their tissue during the dive turns into rapidly expanding bubbles, possibly headed straight for the brain.

Those scenarios are extraordinarily rare, and though the exact causes of decompression illness (DCI), also known as “the bends”, and the formation of nitrogen bubbles isn’t completely understood, the cure, a treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, is right here in Phuket, but that’s really not the place to spend your holidays.

“It’s not so much [about] messing up,” said Patrick Schindler, Operations Co-coordinator for the hyperbaric chamber at Phuket International Hospital.

“People say, ‘You can’t be ‘bent’ you followed your computer, followed your tables; your dive was good.’ That doesn’t matter so much,” Patrick explained.

Each person is different and without researchers getting proper funding it’s not possible to fully understand why bubbles develop in some individuals and not others, or why some people who do develop bubbles have symptoms and some don’t.

Many dive professionals have only a superficial understanding of DCI, due to its rarity, yet they are expected to teach it to the members of the dive community. This is one of the reasons Patrick offers his time to educate them and the general public about DCI and hyperbaric chamber procedures. The next five day seminar will be held in either April or May.

The hyperbaric chamber at Phuket International Hospital is only one of four chambers in Phuket, serving the entire west coast of Thailand. What the white-WWII-submarine looking contraption, or more precisely, pressure vessel for human occupancy, does is increase the air pressure around a person while they breathe 100 per cent oxygen. This increases the amount of oxygen that can be absorbed by the body, which helps eliminate the nitrogen in the patient’s system.

Most DCI cases that are handled at the Phuket International Hospital are the less serious ones. Sometimes people show up a couple days after diving and have lost sensation in their pinky finger or are suffering from persistent joint pain, one of the many places bubbles can accumulate.

“Denial is the biggest issue for all illnesses. People just go back to whatever island they were on and come to Phuket the next day or even later,” Patrick said.

People make up excuses for skin rashes and many of the symptoms of DCI. They often explain the rashes as unnoticed encounters with jellyfish or a sudden allergic reaction to neoprene. Avoiding the obvious fact that the rashes have developed only on their abdomen or hips, which were covered by the wetsuit as well as other parts of their bodies and thus unlikely to come into contact with marine stingers.

Many of these symptoms of DCI can disappear in a couple of hours or over-night, often allowing divers to justify getting back in the water the next day, instead of following up on the issue by consulting the Sub-aquatic Safety Service (SSS) Re-compression Chamber Network or a doctor who fully understands DCI and its symptoms.

“The next day, feeling better they return to their holiday diving. First dive – okay, second dive – okay and then, bang! They get three times worse,” explained Patrick.

Despite being on a stunningly beautiful island for the holiday season and participating in an activity with a reasonable safety record, divers shouldn’t neglect to call the SSS Re-compression Chamber Network on +66 810 819000 if they have any concerns or show any signs of DCI.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Bangkok

Tax on salt content being considered

Greeley Pulitzer

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Tax on salt content being considered | The Thaiger

The Excise Department is considering imposing a tax on the salt content of food to encourage food producers to reduce the sodium content of snacks, instant noodles and seasoning cubes.

The director of the Office of Tax Planning said that the department is discussing a limit on the amount of sodium food can contain, in line with the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is 2,000 milligrams of salt per day.

In reality, Thai people consume an average of 1,000 milligrams per meal, making their daily intake well above WHO guidelines, according to the director.

He said any tax imposed would be at a level which would encourage food producers to reduce the sodium in their processed food without being punitive, adding that the proposal isn’t intended to generate more tax revenue, but to help protect the health of consumers. Excessive sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Fish sauce, soy sauce and salt would not be taxed.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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News

Water shortage warnings in 22 provinces

Greeley Pulitzer

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Water shortage warnings in 22 provinces | The Thaiger

People living in 22 Thai provinces are being warned to prepare for shortages of drinking water during the upcoming dry season, due to start on November 1st.

The warning was issued by the National Water Resources Office, citing low levels in reservoirs, which are the main sources for tap water production waterworks in 22 provinces.

Areas at risk identified by the office are in northern, north-eastern, eastern and southern provinces.

Measures have been adopted by agencies charged with dealing with water shortages. including dredging water channels to allow greater volumes of water to flow into reservoirs, drilling underground wells, enlarging storage ponds and the purchase of water to supply to those in urgent need.

The Royal Irrigation Department has announced that people should use water sparingly.

There are currently about 6 billion cubic metres of usable water in reservoirs in the affected provinces, with 5 billion cubic metres reserved for consumption and ecological preservation, leaving only 1 billion cubic metres for use in agriculture.

This means farmers in the Chao Phraya river basin may not be able to grow a second crop of rice this year.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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Bangkok

Green Day heading back to BKK in 2020

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Green Day heading back to BKK in 2020 | The Thaiger

Green Day, five-time Grammy Award winners, are embarking on a global tour in 2020, including a stop-over in Bangkok during March. The rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame inductees will perform a series of concerts throughout Europe, UK, North America and Asia.

“Green Day Live in Bangkok” takes place on March 11, 2020 at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani. But it’s not their first time. Green Day sold out concerts in their last Thai live gigs in 1996 and 2010.

Formed in 1986 in Berkeley, California, Green Day is one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time, with more than 70 million records sold worldwide and 10 billion cumulative online streams of their music and performances. Their 1994 breakout album “Dookie” is widely credited with popularising and reviving mainstream interest in punk rock, catapulting a career-long run of No 1 hit singles.

In 2004, Green Day released the rock opera “American Idiot”, selling more than 7 million copies in the US alone and taking home the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. In 2010, a stage adaptation of “American Idiot” debuted on Broadway to critical and commercial acclaim. Entertainment Weekly called Green Day, “The most influential band of their generation,” while Rolling Stone said, “Green Day have inspired more young bands to start than any act this side of KISS, and that doesn’t seem to be changing.”

Green Day Live in Bangkok 2020 is on March 11, 2020 at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani.

Ticket prices start at 2,000 baht and tickets go on sale on November 2 at all ThaiTicketMajor outlets via www.livenation.co.th or www.thaiticketmajor.com or call: 02 262 3838 for more information.

SOURCE: The Nation

Green Day heading back to BKK in 2020 | News by The Thaiger

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