Combat High Altitude Sickness

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Breckenridge, Colorado, nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, is a picturesque destination known for its stunning landscapes and world-class skiing. However, the high altitude of this mountain town can pose a challenge for visitors, leading to symptoms of altitude sickness. In this guide, we'll explore effective ways to combat high altitude sickness and ensure an enjoyable and healthy experience in Breckenridge.

Understanding Altitude Sickness: Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), occurs when individuals ascend to high altitudes too quickly, and their bodies struggle to adjust to the reduced oxygen levels. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

  1. Gradual Acclimatization: One of the best ways to combat high altitude sickness is by allowing your body time to acclimatize. If possible, plan your trip with a gradual ascent to higher altitudes. Spend the first day at a lower elevation and gradually increase your altitude each day. This approach helps your body adjust to the changes in oxygen levels, reducing the risk of altitude sickness.

  2. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can exacerbate the symptoms of altitude sickness. At higher altitudes, the air is drier, and your body may lose more fluids through increased respiration and urination. Make a conscious effort to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, as these can contribute to dehydration.

  3. Consume Adequate Electrolytes: Maintaining a balance of electrolytes is crucial at high altitudes. Include foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and sodium in your diet to help regulate fluid balance and support your body's adaptation to the altitude. Consider bringing electrolyte supplements or sports drinks to ensure you're getting the necessary minerals.

  4. Rest and Take it Slow: Listen to your body and take breaks as needed. Rest is essential in the adaptation process. If you experience symptoms of altitude sickness, it's crucial to descend to a lower elevation until you feel better. Pushing yourself too hard can worsen the condition and lead to more severe complications.

  5. Medications: Consult with a healthcare professional before your trip to discuss medications that may help prevent or alleviate altitude sickness symptoms. Acetazolamide is a common prescription medication that can aid in acclimatization by increasing ventilation. Carry any prescribed medications with you and take them as directed.

  6. Oxygen Bars: Some places in Breckenridge offer oxygen bars where you can sit and inhale supplemental oxygen. This can be a quick way to alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness. Oxygen bars may provide flavored oxygen to make the experience more enjoyable. The O2 Lounge is a guest favorite
  7. Oxygen in a Can: Purchase a can of oxygen in a bunch of local stores (Gas stations, grocery stores, t-shirt shops) to take your O2 on the road! Pack it into your bag before a long hike or before you hit the slopes! 

Breckenridge's high altitude offers a unique and breathtaking experience, but it's essential to be mindful of the potential challenges associated with altitude sickness. By acclimatizing gradually, staying hydrated, consuming electrolytes, taking breaks, and, if necessary, using medications, you can combat altitude sickness and fully enjoy your time in this stunning mountain town. Remember to prioritize your health and well-being to make the most of your Breckenridge adventure.