Special Considerations For High Altitude Adventures

May 6, 2017

Some of the most beautiful places in the world are at high elevation.  Yet, a sudden change in altitude can pose a health risk to even the most physically fit.  If you are planning a trip to altitude there are some key strategies to keep in mind so that your trip will be memorable for the adventure and fun that you had, and not your experience of altitude illness.

 

  • Ascend gradually.  Do not go from a low altitude to greater than 8,000 or 9,000 feet in one day.  Once you are at 9,000 feet don’t increase your altitude by more than 1,600 feet per day.  The human body has an amazing ability to compensate for the lower oxygen levels found at elevation, but it takes your body time to adjust.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol for the first 48 hours you are at elevation.

  • Do not perform strenuous exercise for the first 48 hours you are at elevation.

 

Sometimes your travel plans will not allow for a gradual ascent.  In those cases prescription medications may prove helpful.  The medications help keep your bodies PH in balance, which prevents altitude illness from occurring.  If your itinerary warrants medication to prevent altitude illness we will provide you the prescription at your pre travel consultation.

 

Altitude illness begins by feeling much like a hangover.  Common symptoms are headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.  If you experience these symptoms and they are mild you can rest and take Tylenol if needed.  Your symptoms should resolve in a day or two.  If your symptoms are severe or if they are getting worse without you climbing higher, it is critical that you descend to avoid serious health risks such as swelling of the brain or lungs.

 

For more information about how travel safely at altitude see the link below.

 

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/travel-to-high-altitudes

 

 

 

 

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