Folks planning a holiday ski junket should take steps
to ward off altitude sickness, according to an expert
at the University of Colorado.
Rapid ascent, combined with rigorous physical activity,
can trigger the condition.
"If you are not exerting yourself, you may not feel
any symptoms, especially if you are going up quickly
and coming down quickly. Most people who drive through
the Rockies may not feel any symptoms," Dr. Vaughn
Browne, an emergency physician at University of Colorado
Hospital and an associated professor at the CU School
of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.
However, people from lower altitude areas who are
going to spend time in the mountains need to acclimatize
themselves to the thinner air and lower oxygen levels
of high elevations before they hit the ski slopes
or do other activities.
"It's important the first day at altitude to adjust
by doing light to moderate exercise. Even if they
are aerobically trained, they still need time to adapt
to altitude," Browne said.
He also recommended that skiers:
- Go Slow. When traveling at altitudes 10,000
feet or higher, do not ascend more than 2,000 feet
over a 24-hour period.
- Hydrate. Drink plenty of water. Adequate
hydration is critical for people traveling to higher
- Eat less. Consume smaller, carbohydrate-rich
meals and limit fat and protein intake. Avoid alcohol.
- Watch for symptoms. Individuals at a high
altitude who experience serious symptoms such as
severe headache, decreased levels of consciousness,
unsteady gait, repeated vomiting or seizures, should
immediately descend to a lower altitude and seek
immediate medical help.