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How to Combat Elevation

By Kevin Bryan

Tourism is something that many people enjoy doing, and once you have been to all the well-known destinations such as Paris or New York, visiting more exotic areas is something that interests many. Some of these locations on your list may be higher-altitude locations, such as Lhasa, Tibet, or La Paz, Bolivia. However, at these locations, precautionary measures need to be taken before and during the trip in order to maintain good health so you can have the best time possible.

1. Getting plenty of rest is essential when visiting cities at high elevation. Especially on the first day, you should have no more than minimal physical exertion. Being able to acclimate slowly to the low-oxygen environment is essential to avoiding altitude symptoms, and the activities for the first day of the trip should be at a lower elevation than the final destination. Those that are hiking or climbing in the high altitude locations should only ascend a few thousand feet per day.

2. Getting enough liquids into the body is also important. Because the air is much drier at high altitudes, dehydration occurs more quickly than at lower altitudes. While at lower altitudes, you should drink about 0.5 ounces of water per pound of your weight, at higher elevations the amount needed may be twice that. Just make sure to have a water bottle around at all times, and make sure to periodically schedule breaks to go to the restroom.

3. Eating the right foods is also essential. Calorie dense foods such as Meats, potatoes, and rice take less oxygen to digest, thus providing a greater relief from elevation symptoms. Eating foods that are high in water content is important to keep hydrated when water may not be available. Alcohol should be avoided, because it tends to dehydrate the body, and the hangover effect will be much greater at higher altitudes.

4. Bringing the right supplies is the final tip. Because the atmosphere is thinner at higher elevations, sunscreen should be regularly applied to decrease the chance of sunburn. Lip balm and skin lotion should also be applied regularly because of the especially dry air at higher elevations. Even with the best efforts to follow the above rules, occasionally altitude sickness symptoms begin to arise. Medicine should be brought to counteract these symptoms. For example, Diamox is a medicine that increases breathing, and will alleviate symptoms such as shortness of breath and nausea. Medicine to treat headache symptoms,such as ibuprofen,  should also be brought.


With these tips, your trip to exotic locations at higher elevations should be more fun and less exhausting. Making sure to pack more than you think is necessary is always better to increase readiness for the unpredictable. Happy Traveling!





About Kevin Bryan

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