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It’s the Altitude not the Attitude.

January 19, 2015

8,600 feet. That is the base elevation here at Angel Fire Resort. One of the biggest things that catches people off guard, when they visit, is the altitude. Nothing will ruin a vacation quicker than feeling sick and tired because of high elevation. Knowing what the symptoms are and how to prevent them can help you have a fun and happy vacation.

What is High Altitude?

High8,000 to 12,000 feet
Very High13,000 to 18,000 feet
Extremely Highover 18,000 feet

Though high altitude is defined as anything above 8,000 feet, many people can experience difficulties due to altitude at altitudes as low as 5,00 feet.

Altitude Sickness

Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness can feel like a hangover. AMS can be not only be uncomfortable, but can be dangerous in more severe cases. Symptoms include:

  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • difficulty sleeping

In more severe cases you may also experience shortness of breath. Symptoms will usually appear within two hours of arriving at a new, higher elevation. The symptoms of altitude sickness also tend to be worse at night. In mild cases, the symptoms shouldn’t interfere with normal activity, your headache may be treated with medication. In more severe cases, AMS may prevent you from enjoying activities you have planned for your vacation. Symptoms generally subside within two to four days as the body acclimates.

Preventing Altitude Sickness

AMS can affect even the most eager and fit travelers. Luckily, it can also be prevented by taking a few simple steps:

  • Hydrate – Before you arrive on your vacation, make sure that you drink plenty of water so that your body is hydrated when you arrive. While on your vacation, make sure you stay hydrated. It is recommended that you drink two to three times the amount of water you normally drink at lower elevations. The saying goes “A hydrated vacation is a happy vacation.”
  • Get plenty of rest – Before you begin your vacation, make sure you are well rested, this will help your body acclimate. While on your vacation, make sure you get plenty of rest so that your body has enough energy for each day.
  • Ascend slowly – If you feel sick at the base of the mountain, at Angel Fire Resort, do not try to ascend to the summit. Rest and treat your symptoms first. Angel Fire Resort has two high-speed chairlifts that will get you to the summit of the mountain quickly which may exacerbate your symptoms. If you are feeling woosy, the swinging chairlift may not be the best place for you.
  • Watch what you eat – Avoid alcohol, as it can dehydrate you. The same goes for overly salty foods. Make sure you are getting plenty to eat and do not skip meals. Try to eat energy rich foods like fruits and veggies.
  • Keep it light – Don’t overexert yourself while at altitude, this can put your body into oxygen deprivation, which can set off symptoms or make them worse. Light exercise during the day will help your get oxygen into your body, which can off-set symptoms. Sleeping all day is not recommended because while we sleep, our breathing rate decreases, which can make symptoms worse.

We hope this information will hep you and your family have a fun and safe vacation!


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