Altitude sickness can strike at high elevations when there is less oxygen due to lower air pressure. Otherwise fit and healthy people can be struck down by altitude sickness as they ascend into higher elevations with little to no warning. What should you do at the first signs of altitude sickness?
Symptoms of Altitude Sickness
Altitude sickness can kick in within hours after you ascend into higher elevations, but the symptoms might not be immediately apparent. Some classic symptoms include a throbbing headache, fatigue, nausea, shortness or breath and dizziness.
If you experience these symptoms while you are ascending into a higher elevation, you should not ignore the symptoms in the hope that they will go away. Rather, you will need to take immediate action.
Descend from High Altitudes
The most obvious solution in dealing with altitude sickness is to descend from high altitudes in order to allow the body to recover from the lack of oxygen at higher elevations. This is not always practical when you are visiting a Colorado mountain range at 14,000 ft for a wedding or another special event.
However, if you cannot descend right away, limit your movement and find a quiet spot to sit down and rest. Drink plenty of water and elevate your legs.
Those who are prone to altitude sickness often find that they become dehydrated very quickly, regardless of whether it is August or December. Always carry plenty of water with you whenever you ascend into a high elevation. Carry twice as much as you think you will need so that you are always prepared for an emergency situation, such as the breakdown of your vehicle or altitude sickness. Whenever you start to feel the first symptoms of altitude sickness, sip water at regular intervals.
Altitude sickness strikes people in different ways, but the one common factor that many people face is fatigue, that sets in quickly. Limit movement, halt your hike or bicycle ride and sit down to rest. Do not push yourself at the same level you would normally at lower elevations, as there is less oxygen at higher elevations, which in turn puts a lot more pressure on the body.
Altitude sickness usually passes within a few days, but it can cause some inconvenient symptoms such as a headache, fatigue and shortness of breath. Treat symptoms at the first signs of altitude sickness by descending from high altitudes, drinking plenty of water and limiting movement until your body has time to adjust to the higher elevation.