From the Phoenix Valley to the peaks of the Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountains, Arizona’s landscape is full of majestic places to explore. However, if you’re not prepared to scale those high peaks, then it’s hard to enjoy it after altitude sickness sets in.
If you find yourself grappling with this issue, you want relief that will get you back up on your feet. Or better yet, take preventative measures to keep you on your feet and feeling your best the entire trip with IV therapy.
At IV Revival, we’re big into hiking as well. We understand how easy it is to get sick while adjusting to changes in altitude and how destabilizing it can be. That’s why we provide both relief and preventative treatment and advice!
What is Altitude Sickness?
Altitude sickness is when you feel sick the higher or lower you climb and is caused by the change in oxygen levels and air pressure.
Think of it this way: you have a balloon that’s blown up about halfway. You take that balloon to Humphrey’s Peak (12,637 feet in elevation). The balloon slowly expands as you hike and then pops at the peak. You didn’t add any air to it — the lower air pressure popped it for you!
The same thing happens to your body when you change elevation. The lower air pressure will cause your tissues to expand, (higher air pressure compresses them) which leads to altitude sickness.
Some factors that increase your risk of altitude sickness include:
Traveling too quickly from sea level to a high altitude
A history of altitude sickness during past travels
Not enough time spent getting used to the conditions at higher altitudes
Alcohol or substance use
Medical issues with your heart, lungs, or nervous system
You also may be more likely to get sick at higher altitudes depending on your age, weight, and blood pressure.
What are the Symptoms of Altitude Sickness?
Keep an eye out for the following indications that you might be sick:
Early, mild symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Appetite loss
- Disrupted sleep
- Nausea or vomiting
- Uncoordinated, unstable movement
- Elevated heart rate
- Difficulty breathing, especially during physical activity
- Brain fogginess
- A cough that may produce blood
- A tight feeling in the chest
- A bluish tint to the skin
- Loss of balance
- Shortness of breath
- Fluid in the lungs
For more information on symptoms and when you need medical attention, please visit this website.
How to Treat Altitude Sickness
If you’re on a hike and you start to feel woozy, the best thing you can do is slowly and carefully make your way back down the mountain again. Take a lot of breaks, drink water, and take your time. Your body will readjust as you descend into an altitude it is used to.
Once you’re safely down, take time to rest. Limit your physical activity—that means avoiding exercise, but you may also want to avoid too much standing or walking. It may take up to 36 hours for symptoms to subside.
If it’s hard for you to bounce back, IV therapy can help. An IV for altitude sickness can bring much-needed relief. Our IVs are rich in vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that will help ease your symptoms and bring balance back to your body faster than oral medication.
Our registered nurses will come to you too — even if you’re in the parking lot of your hike. If you need help picking a treatment, we can point you in the right direction as well. We recommend the following to help reduce inflammation and nausea:
Vitamin B complex
To get all of that and glutathione, a powerful antioxidant to help boost your immune system, try our Myer’s Cocktail.
How to Prevent Altitude Sickness
You can also help your body prepare for the elevation change. Here are some simple things to do before and during your adventures.
Take your time. Plan your schedule and don’t rush up to the peak. Your body adjusts to altitude changes very gradually, so take your time and let yourself adjust as needed.
Watch what you drink. A good mix of water and energy drinks are going to be your best bet. Stay away from sugary drinks, as they will increase your risk of dehydration. Bring enough water to keep you going for the full hike. A good rule of thumb is to bring too much water, as you never know when you’ll need it.
Snack smartly. Skip the cookies and go straight for the energy-boosting snacks with healthy carbs, some salt for electrolytes, and protein. Pack portable snacks such as veggies, whole grains, and, of course, trail mix.
Don’t push your limits. If you can’t make it in one day, look for camping spots or build yourself up to the journey before you try again. We’ve definitely turned back on a few hikes before and there is no shame in doing it. Listen to your body and don’t strain yourself. If you do notice that you’re getting dizzy, don’t push ahead!
Finally, remember to have fun! While altitude sickness is scary, all you need to do is listen to your body and you will be fine. So go chase those views and enjoy the journey!