If you are a hiker or a mountain climber, you probably already know that altitude sickness can be a huge problem. Not everyone suffers from altitude sickness though it is far more common than you might think. Even on a plane, where your atmosphere is provided and recycled by a pressurized system, some people can still suffer from altitude sickness. You don’t want something like altitude sickness ruining your skiing trip, your hiking excursion or even a simple commercial plane ride, for business or pleasure. But what is an individual to do, in order to stave off the effects of altitude sickness? All hope is not lost. Here are a few facts about altitude sickness, so that you can become better acquainted with it and it’s solutions.
Yes, altitude sickness can be dangerous and sometimes fatal. HAPE, which is High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, is an acute form of altitude sickness and occurs when people try to ascend into high altitudes at a fast pace, which creates breathlessness and excess fluid in the lungs. Symptoms include feeling breathless even when resting, coughing up frothy spit and fever. If not attended to, it can cause death within a few hours. It is wiser to take it slow and if you contract any of the symptoms, descend to a lower altitude.
Hikers and mountain climbers are finding out, what other sports men and women have known for a long time, oxygen refreshes and revitalizes your muscles and your mind. Military troops and sportsmen alike are discovering the benefits of using canned oxygen for altitude acclimation. No, we are not talking about the can of oxygen, that your Uncle Harry with COPD carries around, with the nasal cannula attached to it. This is literally canned oxygen, with a little mask on the top. You breathe in and like magic, you feel better. This is not a drug. This is simply much purer oxygen than you receive, when you breathe normal outside air.
Somewhere on the lines of 40% of the population, from every day walks of life will suffer altitude sickness, at elevations as low as 10,000 feet. Some people in fact have problems with altitude sickness, in commercial planes, which can simulate approximately 5000 feet of elevation. For this very reason, the above-mentioned canned oxygen comes in legal, 4 ounce portions for the frequent flyer, with altitude sickness.
Though not entirely hereditary, it has been determined that people with relatives that suffer from altitude sickness, do actually have an increased risk factor of suffering themselves.
Symptoms of altitude sickness can mirror those of a bad hangover. People report suffering through it complain of feeling lethargic, exhausted, a loss of appetite, sleeplessness, loss of coordination, shaking, vomiting, nausea, headache and dizziness.
FACT # 2
In order to prevent altitude sickness, some people have had success with taking their ascent slowly, eating foods heavy in carbs, such as pastas, cereals and breads and making sure to stay hydrated.
There are prescription drugs available to help stave off the effects of altitude sickness, though they reportedly have minor side effects that some people may prefer not to deal with. Oddly enough, some individuals have received relief, by chewing coca leaves or drinking cocoa tea, while hiking at higher altitudes.
While not everyone will suffer from altitude sickness, a substantial majority of the population will at one time or another contract the symptoms and the sickness. Seek help, as soon as you feel any discomfort, from being in high altitudes. Better still, be prepared and seek out a remedy to take with you, before you travel.