Preparing for High Altitude

Some people do just fine in high altitudes, while others suffer. At Lodge By The Blue, we want to make sure you enjoy your mountain vacation to the fullest, so we’re here to share some important information about how you can prepare for high altitudes, which could make all the difference.

What Causes Altitude Sickness?
Because the air is thinner and has less oxygen at high altitudes, going from a low to high altitude can cause symptoms such as headache, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping. Some people notice that physical exertion makes symptoms worse.

There is no scientific way to know who will have trouble and who won’t: Neither your fitness level nor being male or female plays a role.

Be Proactive and Preventative
Here are some things you can do before you even reach your high altitude destination as well as once you get there:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: drier conditions at high altitudes dehydrate the body faster.
  • Limit the fun stuff: it’s not what anyone wants to hear, but for the first few days especially, limit things that can cause further dehydration like alcohol, caffeine and salt.
  • Avoid  maximum physical exertion in the first day or two.
  • Limit time in hot tubs. You don’t have to skip them, just don’t stew in them too long – again, the dehydration thing. When you are in the hot tub, have plenty of water with you to drink.
  • Eat carbs! Yes, this is the one time when more carbs are good for you. Eat frequent and small meals high in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein. When you’re exercising and it’s cold AND there’s not as much oxygen, your muscles crave glucose. Carbs will help keep your energy up and you’ll burn them because your body is under a lot of stress to maintain basic functions.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Eat dinner at least 3-4 hours before bedtime. Allowing your body time to digest foods before going to bed helps it focus on the transportation of oxygen.

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness
Some symptoms are normal and will probably improve as you acclimate. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Lightheadedness/headaches
  • Inability to sleep
  • Stomach problems
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Pins and needles sensation
  • Persistent rapid pulse
  • Shortness of breath upon exertion

If symptoms persist or get worse, there are resources that can help. In acute cases, consultation with a physician is always recommended.

Small disposable oxygen canisters can be purchased at most convenient stores or gas stations in the area.

You don’t have to limit all your fun. The Oxygen Lounge in Breckenridge’s La Cima Mall is an internet café, coffee shop and a place to breathe easier with 15-, 30- and 45-minute oxygen sessions in-store.

If you aren’t able to leave the premises, 24-Hour-Oxygen will deliver oxygen machines directly to your room. Resting a full night with oxygen can make you feel much better, and the experts at 24-Hour can help you figure out exactly what you need.

Don’t let the altitude take you by unpleasant surprise. Altitude sickness can be inconvenient, unexpected and sometimes expensive in both time and money. Lodge By The Blue advocates prevention so that you fully enjoy your experience here in the mountains.