Tue, July 24th, 2012 - By

Dealing with Altitude Sickness

Last week I spent a long weekend in Keystone, Colorado – one of America’s winter ski and summer hiking hotspots. I was in town for business purposes, but of course when one is in the mountains, one will make time for play!

Despite having spent a night in Denver prior to departing for the resort, I found myself seriously ill the first night and the next full day in town. Rather unpleasant. It could happen to you to – and nobody wants to end up attached to an oxygen tank on their holiday. Here are some tips that I found helpful.


That's pretty high!

Hydrate like Mad. You’ll have to go to the bathroom all the time, yes, but you’ve got to just keep your system over-hydrated. I found that drinks with elecrolytes were helpful – and because I’m a coffee drinker, a bit of caffeine in my system was good too. Don’t overdo the caffeine because it does dehydrate. And as for alcohol? Be very careful.

Vitamins, Vitamins, Vitamins. The biggest help was a packet of “altitude sickness vitamins” which included Vitamin C, ginkgo root, and ginger. Ginger is what they give you on hikes and ski tours if you’re feeling a little nauseated, and I think the ginger in these vitamin pills (at all the convenience stores) helped me clear off a headache that was all but crippling. Definitely grab some before you go or while here.

Oxygen bar, anyone? These oxygen bars are not just for hipsters – it can be a right laugh, but also a great opportunity to keep your head clear. Oxygen also does come in these little puff inhalers – they’re expensive, but if your sickness is keeping you from enjoying your hols, it is worth it.

Spend some time at lower elevations first. Like I mentioned, we spent our first night in Denver, but I think I could have used a couple of nights to be honest. Part of it was that my trip was so rushed, so I really didn’t have time to just relax in Denver and get used to things. If you can, take your time climbing up to elevations.

Get out and walk. Mountains mean fresh air, and while you will be winded even just climbing some stairs, I personally found walking made me feel a lot better. Just the stretching and getting some air circling in the lungs can help your body overcome the effects.  Just don’t overdo it.

Please share in the comments – what are your tips for dealing with altitude sickness?

Photo by author.

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 at 10:00
Category : Holiday Tips
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