Want to visit the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu high in Peru's Andes Mountains or hit the powdery slopes of Telluride, Colorado?
When you travel to these and other high-altitude destinations, you may find yourself struggling with altitude sickness. This common ailment can occur in locales 8,000 feet (or higher) above sea level, where the air is thinner.
The potential for altitude sickness isn't determined by age, gender, or how physically fit you're in. Contributing factors can be everything from genetics to where you live. The good news is, altitude sickness usually lasts only a short day or two, while your body adjusts to the new environment. The bad news is, during that time, you may experience such symptoms as shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and have trouble sleeping.
So how do you deal with altitude sickness and not let it spoil your trip? Experts recommend the following strategies:
That means drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol. 3 Take deep breaths to get more oxygen into your bloodstream. 4 Ask your doctor if Diamox might work for you. The prescription drug, used for glaucoma, has been known to help with altitude sickness. 5 Check out local oxygen supplements. For example, high-end hotels in high-altitude destinations often offer oxygen tanks or oxygen bars. When in Telluride, local shops sell cans of 90 percent oxygen.