Hints from Cyndy and Doug
Altitude Sickness and Hypothermia- Don’t Take These Lightly!
Dressing appropriately and being aware of your condition can help prevent an unwanted medical condition when travelling in Colorado.
Altitude sickness occurs at high elevations when your body cannot get enough oxygen. It can happen due to a sudden change in altitude such as going from sea level to 14,000+ feet (The top of Pikes Peak is 14,100′.) I’ve seen statements where it can happen as low as 8,000′. So, this condition is possible to happen if you arrive in Colorado Springs from a sea level origin and go directly to the top of Pikes Peak or another high mountain destination.
Here are some symptoms that I found on-line:
- Headache – probably throbbing.
- Sick to stomach up to and including vomiting
- Tired and/or weak
- Might resemble hangover symptoms
Helpful Hint: We have always been told how important it is to stay hydrated here in Colorado. The air is very dry and one can get dehydrated quicker than you might think. Be sure to drink fluids often. We always have a couple of bottles of water in our vehicles and backpacks.
You might want to check on line with a site like Web MD for more information, or you can always talk to your doctor as to what steps need to be taken prior to and during travel to high altitude places.
Hypothermia happens when your body gets so cold and it loses it heat more quickly than it can re-make it. In the Rockies it can happen any time of the year.
Onset symptoms can include:
- Main trunk of the body is cold
- Stiff muscles
- Pulse is slow
- Shallow and slower breathing
- Numbness in hands
What you can do: Dress appropriately for cold conditions. Strong winds can come in and temperatures can change dramatically in a very short period of time.
Altitude Sickness and Hypothermia are not urban myths! These conditions can be very, very serious. Be sure to do your homework and learn about both of these conditions before you head to the mountains.