Avoiding Altitude Sickness
If you are visiting Steamboat Springs from a lower altitude, you may experience some symptoms of “Altitude Sickness “ or “Acute Mountain Sickness.” Steamboat Springs, Colorado is at 6,728 ft. elevation and the top of the ski area is 10,568 ft.. Although this is not terribly high, it is still not sea level. Everyone is different and you may be more susceptible to the change in altitude than someone else.
As you climb in altitude, the air becomes thinner, the humidity decreases, and the air gets colder. Lack of atmospheric pressure is the true cause of altitude sickness. The amount of oxygen you get into your body due to reduced pressure is less. Because of the low levels of oxygen, your body tries to adjust by increasing blood flow to your brain. This typically occurs 8-36 hours after your ascent to higher altitude.
Symptoms of your body trying to acclimate to the altitude can include headache, restlessness, shortness of breath, dizziness, and possibly exhaustion because you aren’t sleeping, and nausea.
Adjusting to high altitude can take a few days. There is a lot of information out there on how to acclimatize. Here are the highlights I found and have my guests practice:
- Avoid Alcohol for at least the first 48 hours
- Take it easy – participate in only mild exercise the first 48 hours
- Drink plenty of liquids – water and juice.
If symptoms don’t improve, you may want to see a doctor. High-altitude Cerebral Edema and High–altitude Pulmonary Edema both can be life threatening; however, typically these occur at extreme elevations. Everyone is different though, so move to lower altitude and see a doctor if your symptoms don’t go away.
The following are two interesting sites I found for high-altitude information:
And here is a basic site for treatment:
I’m not an expert on this so consult your doctor if you have some concerns.
I hope you enjoy your time here in my hometown, Steamboat Springs.
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