Being able to travel to a new place is one of life’s greatest experiences. However, you may need a few helpful tips as well as some time to adjust if you are in a completely new area. One factor you may need to adapt to is the altitude. If you are used to being much closer to sea level – be prepared altitude sickness can set in. Use the tips to make the transition to higher ground easier!
On one of my past vacations, I flew from my home in Rhode Island to California to attend a conference. The location of this conference was 7,000 above sea level in the San Bernardino Mountains. I knew that altitude sickness could occur and was told the best way to keep it at bay is to be well hydrated so I drank extra water for two days prior to the trip.
Ascending in Altitude and Symptoms
I landed in Onatrio, California and felt well until we started ascending quickly up the mountain. I recall the signs starting 3,000 feet, followed by 4,000 and so on but they kept coming quickly.
It was about 6,000 feet when I suddenly felt my stomach turning and within minutes I was dealing with a pounding headache and ill stomach. I got out of the car and walked slowly but realized I was quite dizzy and short of breath. I stopped and rested all while drinking more water.
Solution to Altitude Sickness
The solution: more water and rest. Therefore, this experience motivated me to share some information on altitude sickness with you.
The definition of Altitude Sickness is ‘Sickness characterized by shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, rapid pulse, loss of appetite, insomnia, and nausea, which occurs at high altitudes due to lack of oxygen.’ These symptoms are usually the strongest over 8,000 feet but as I found out, ascending to 7,000 feet quickly can make you feel ill as well.
Here is what I was advised to do to feel better and treat the altitude sickness (mild for sure on the scale of things but gosh, I felt sick):
1. Stop, rest and do not ascend any higher.
2. Get some rest, drink plenty of water and allow your body to get acclimated the altitude if your headache does not go away quickly. You can also take some more aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve your headache.
For more information about Altitude Sickness, read this article by wikihow