WHMC Blog

Preventing Altitude Sickness

If you are heading to the mountains to go skiing or snowboarding, make sure that you don’t get altitude sickness. Regardless of your fitness level, altitude sickness can happen to anyone when they reach at least 8,000 feet or higher. Altitude sickness occurs when your body experiences oxygen deprivation, as the air is thinner at higher levels. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, vomiting, and even trouble sleeping. To help ease your body into the oxygen changes you are about to experience in a higher altitude, it is important that you prepare yourself and keep these helpful tips in mind.

Get Rest

Make sure you keep your body well rested. You should be sure to get enough sleep before your trip—especially the night before your ascent. High altitudes can cause you to tire easily and become dehydrated, which increase your risk for altitude sickness.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Low humidity at high altitudes makes the air dry, causing you to dehydrate easily. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your ascent to keep the symptoms of altitude sickness at bay. It may also be best to avoid drinks that can make you more dehydrated such as caffeinated and alcoholic drinks.

Eat Well

Foods that are high in carbohydrates and potassium can be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of altitude sickness. Before you start your ascent, load up on bread, fruits, pasta, and other heavy carb meals. Avoid eating foods that are high in sodium as this can lead to dehydration of your body’s tissues.

Climb Gradually

When you are traveling to high places, don’t rush getting there especially if you are going higher than 8,000 feet. Pace slowly to allow your body to acclimate. Consider spending a day or two at an intermediate altitude to reduce your risk of altitude sickness.

Listen to Your Body

If you are already experiencing some symptoms of altitude sickness, don’t push your body to much and risk making it worse. Listen to your body and rest more if you need to. Wait for at least 12 hours to see if your symptoms improve. If not, try to descend at least 1,000 feet or take medications that were prescribed by a doctor.

Going up in the mountains should be a relaxing and divine experience. Don’t let altitude sickness get in the way of your holiday by planning your trip carefully and giving much thought on acclimating your body to high altitudes.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

Categories: Health Tips, Prevention