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Recognizing and Addressing Altitude Sickness

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Vacationing way up in the mountains can be fun and enjoyable. But there is one challenge you need to look out for: altitude sickness. Also known as mountain sickness, this illness can occur when you go to a place of higher elevation without giving your body enough time to adapt. It is due to a change in oxygen levels and the lower pressure at higher altitudes. Slowly ascending to a higher altitude is the best way to avoid altitude sickness, but you should also know how to recognize and treat the condition in case it happens to you.

Recognizing Altitude Sickness

The symptoms of altitude sickness do not usually come on immediately once you arrive at a taller altitude. People often spend a few hours at their vacation spot, feel fine, and therefore assume they are fine, only for the symptoms of altitude sickness to come on later in the day. Symptoms may arise as late as one day after your arrival.

The most common symptoms of altitude sickness are headaches, nausea, and fatigue. Some people also lose their appetite, although this is more a side effect of nausea. More severe cases often lead to dizziness and shortness of breath. You may struggle to walk in a straight line or be physically active for more than a few minutes at a time.

Treating and Managing Altitude Sickness

Severe altitude sickness often demands medical treatment. If you are passing out, unable to sleep, and vomiting profusely, definitely head to the nearest clinic and see a doctor.

Most cases of altitude sickness acquired by vacationers are not severe simply because vacation cabins tend to be low enough on the mountains to minimize the change in altitude. Mild altitude sickness can be managed at home, or rather, at the place where you're staying. Get plenty of rest; don't make your body do more than it feels comfortable doing. Make sure you also stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, and perhaps some electrolyte beverages. 

If you're able to go down the mountain a bit, spend a few hours at a lower elevation, and then climb back up, then do so. This gives your body a bit more time to adapt.

If you're able to recognize altitude sickness, you'll be able to act quickly and recover faster when it does happen to you. It's just an important ailment to be aware of whenever you spend time in the mountains. To earn more, contact companies like Alpine Oxygen.