is some good information that you may like to pass
on to party members from an old friend about
altitude sickness that some may experience when
muzzle loading hunting or camping in the mountains
of Colorado as well as any of the Rocky Mountain
To answer your question on altitude sickness
I’ll explain it as simple as possible without
too many medical terms, they can be mind boggling.
of altitude sickness is from a degree of
dehydration due to the dry air. You loose an
incredible amount of water from your skin and
breath. This contributes significantly to the
weakness and lassitude. The headaches are from a
degree of brain swelling which is not usually
dangerous below 14k to 18k elevations, but has
killed climbers at higher elevations. That is why
most knowledgeable climbers carry there own inject
(dexamethasone) a steroid which does reduce
swelling of the brain.
for the milder altitude problems that you get (and
so do I if I'm not careful...I live at about 700
feet), I'll tell you what I do. I make sure that I
get extra sleep when I fly to those mountains
because sleep deprivation compounded by jet lag
contributes to the altitude problems. I take 2
aspirin 3-4 times daily for the beginning a day
before I arrive and for 2-3 days later. Aspirin
has a significant anti-inflammatory effect and
prevents clots both large and "micro".
(I generally take 1-2 daily all the time because I
seem to be prone to injuries from encounters with
the 4-leggeds and I don't want to die suddenly
from a blood clot that I didn't know I had.
young lady friend of mine died agouti 6 weeks
after an auto accident years ago because of a
clot!). I make myself drink water far beyond what
my thirst would dictate...a good measure of your
degree of hydration is to watch your urine. It
should appear nearly colorless, like water. The
degree of color has to do with concentration,
unless you are taking something that colors it
like some vitamins. And finally, you should allow
yourself at least one full day and preferably 2-3,
to acclimate without strenuous activity. Make
yourself walk each day several times...only
15minutes each the first day and then up to 30+.
have flown into ski at 14,000 feet and have
developed this scheme for myself because I
have, in the past, missed several days due to
headache, nausea, etc. I have not had the problem
since I began paying attention to the above
issues. I have also reviewed the medical
literature on this and so speak from both
experience and known facts (which are few). Of
course, you won't always have the luxury to do the
3 day adjustment, but knowing about it should
encourage you to develop a plan that will lessen
your chance of feeling rotten.
Hope this helps. By
the way, if you have a problem with that much
aspirin, even 1-2 per day have a significant
impact. Ibuprofen and Tylenol do not!
(Bruce M. Ashley, MD)
Aux Ailments de Pays!
Until next time, we leave as friends and followers of
those that went before us.