Have you ever hiked up a mountain and started to feel nauseous or dizzy? If you have, then you may have experienced altitude sickness.
Also known as "mountain sickness," altitude sickness is the body’s response to changing elevations quickly without enough time to acclimate. Symptoms can vary in severity, but the good news is that it’s preventable if you take the proper precautions (like drinking electrolyte-infused beverages!).
Common symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, shortness of breath, tiredness, dizziness, and a loss of appetite.
Altitude symptoms are typically easy to identify, but people sometimes wrongly attribute them to other factors. However, accurately pinpointing the symptoms of altitude sickness means that you'll be able to respond quickly - which could significantly impact their duration.
- Gradual Acclimatization: Giving your body enough time to adjust to new elevations can significantly reduce the chances of experiencing altitude sickness.
- Hydration: Ensuring that your body is properly hydrated, with an emphasis on drinking electrolyte-infused beverages, can help in preventing and managing altitude sickness.
- Avoid Excessive Physical Exertion: Limiting physical activity when you first arrive at a new altitude can prevent worsening of altitude sickness symptoms.
- Consult a Healthcare Provider When Necessary: If you have underlying health conditions or if your altitude sickness symptoms are severe and persist after returning to lower elevation, it's important to seek medical advice.
The Importance of Altitude Sickness Prevention: Strategies for a Safe Journey
Altitude sickness could ruin your next adventure, but don't worry… There are steps you can take to prevent it! Let's dive into a few practical tips that you can use to reduce the chances of getting altitude sickness.
Gradual acclimation is one of the best ways to ensure your body can adjust naturally. Giving your body enough time to grow accustomed to the new elevation means you'll likely have fewer symptoms (if any).
Focus on Hydration
Hydration, hydration, hydration! Read that again.
Hydration is essential in preventing altitude sickness. When your body is properly hydrated, it can acclimatize faster. While drinking enough water is essential, it's also important to think about what's in that water.
Choosing a drink with infused electrolytes (like Buoy!) means that your body will have the nutrients it needs to power through physical activity and adjust to new elevations. Drinking too much water too fast can deplete your natural electrolyte stores, so it's essential to make sure you have the right hydration supplies.
Avoid Excessive Physical Exertion
Along with gradual acclimatization and physical activity comes avoiding excessive physical exertion.
If you've recently arrived at a new elevation, your best bet is to sit back and relax - not go for a run. Doing too much physically too soon could worsen altitude sickness symptoms, so don't be afraid to take it slow and give your body time to adjust.
Altitude Sickness Remedies: Managing Symptoms and Finding Relief
Altitude sickness isn’t fun. Luckily, there are a few remedies that you can use to quickly manage symptoms and get back to having fun.
Taking time to rest is one of the best ways to let your body reset and process the new elevation. From the change in atmosphere to different oxygen levels, there are many different things your body needs to adjust to when changing altitudes.
If you want an over-the-counter medication option, there are a few different ones to choose from. Most people choose a medication based on symptoms (such as a pain reliever for headaches), but this isn't always a comprehensive option. Medications can leave you with uncomfortable side effects, so we prefer natural methods like focusing on hydration.
Making sure that you're staying hydrated and drinking fluids that replenish your body's natural nutrient stores is essential. When picking up an electrolyte drink, avoid ones full of unnatural flavors and lots of sugar. If you want an option that works well and doesn't have harmful ingredients, choose Buoy.
Buoy's Role in Altitude Sickness Prevention
We’ve already mentioned that hydration is key in preventing altitude sickness, but how can you put this into action? The answer is simple: electrolyte-based drinks!
These drinks can play a crucial role in preventing altitude sickness. They do this by maintaining proper hydration and replenishing essential electrolytes, ensuring a healthier, more enjoyable, high-altitude experience.
At Buoy, we combat altitude sickness through hydration drops that are effective, affordable, and accessible. Our drops are intentionally flavorless, so you can easily turn any drink into an electrolyte-infused beverage. We've found a simple and effective way to stay hydrated, plus you don't have to give up the drinks you love!
When to Consult a Healthcare Provider
If you're preparing for an adventure, you may wonder at what point it's appropriate to consult a healthcare provider after the onset of altitude sickness symptoms.
To answer this question, one thing is important to know: it's better to be safe than sorry. Consulting a healthcare provider can be an excellent way to get peace of mind and personalized recommendations, so don't hesitate to reach out for help if you're concerned.
In most cases of altitude sickness, medical intervention is not needed. However, there are two situations in which the chances of needing medical advice increase…
Underlying health conditions can increase your risk of altitude sickness and can also be a reason to reach out to a healthcare professional.
If you have an underlying health condition and are being impacted by altitude sickness, it's most likely best to speak to a doctor about any symptoms you have. They'll be able to point you in the right direction and provide information about how your condition could be factoring into any altitude sickness symptoms.
It may seem like common sense to reach out to a doctor if you’re having severe symptoms, but what exactly classifies symptoms as “severe”?
Symptoms are considered severe if they haven't improved after 24 hours of returning to a reduced elevation. If you're still experiencing consistent, overwhelming symptoms after a day of being at your typical elevation, then it may be time to reach out to a doctor. This is the best way to ensure that you get the medical advice you need and that you're supervised by a professional.
If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, consider starting any symptom resolution strategies you can. It’s recommended that you stay hydrated (which we can help with!) and get enough rest.