Beat Altitude Sickness And Check Out The Heights
There are a lot of magnificent travel destinations in the world that are quite a bit higher than the places most people live. This means that altitude sickness is a distinct possibility when you visit them. This is a medical condition caused by the lower concentration of oxygen in the air at high altitudes. Although there is no way to avoid altitude sickness entirely, especially at the highest elevations, you can minimize its effects through preparation and foresight.
The ideal way to prepare yourself for an extended stay at high altitudes is to make the acclimation process as gradual as possible. If you can spend a day or two at an altitude in between your home and your destination, you will find it much easier to adjust when you reach your final altitude. This effectively breaks down your adjustment into two stages, and you will find each one much easier to get over than the entire change would be at one time.
Of course, extending your trip to make this gradual adjustment is not always an option. If you cannot make time in your schedule for a staged ascent, you should still try to minimize the amount of activity you plan to take on when you arrive at a higher altitude. A useful rule of thumb is to keep your activity level to a minimum during your first day at the new altitude. This, again, gives your body time to adjust to the reduced level of oxygen available. Avoid alcohol on your first day, too, because it can exacerbate the effects of altitude sickness.
Regardless of how you schedule your trip, you want to be aware of the basic symptoms of altitude sickness before you depart. The most common symptoms include headaches, nausea, and shortness of breath when you exert yourself. If altitude sickness becomes serious, additional signs to watch out for include dry coughing, loss of balance, and blood appearing in the eyes. While altitude sickness usually only becomes life-threatening at extreme altitudes, keep in mind that everyone responds to reduced oxygen levels differently.
Basic pain relievers are the best way to treat the symptoms of mild altitude sickness. Take a recommended dosage when your head starts to ache. Remain alert and pay attention to the way you feel after medicating yourself, though. A persistent headache that does not respond to analgesics can be a sign that your altitude sickness is growing severe.
The ultimate treatment for altitude sickness is always to return to a lower elevation. Whenever your travel plans take you up to high altitudes, you should give some thought to cutting your trip short if your health demands it. Have an emergency plan in place to get down to a lower altitude as quickly as possible, just in case you need it.
Altitude sickness is nothing to be afraid of, despite its potential seriousness. Like most of life’s risks, it can be planned for and managed. The information you’ve just reviewed can help you to prepare for a safe high-altitude vacation. You need not deny yourself the experience of visiting high places as long as you make yourself ready ahead of time.