August 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts August 2001 Current Issue
August 2001
Short Cuts:

Altitude adjustment

Travelers headed to mountain getaways can expect cleaner air and scenic vistas. They also run the risk of altitude illness, marked by severe headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

Altitude illness is a real possibility at elevations of 9,000 feet and above, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control in a May 22 travelers’ health report ( For those with a genetic susceptibility, it can strike at heights of just 4,000 feet. Symptoms occur within 12 hours of arrival.

The best protection is prevention. Plan an itinerary that provides a gradual ascent, if possible. Be alert to symptoms, get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and get to a lower elevation if the condition worsens. Those with existing medical problems such as congestive heart failure and asthma should consult a doctor before embarking on a high-altitude trip.

Sufferers destined for high altitudes should ask their doctors in advance for a prescription used to treat and prevent the illness. Effective drugs include acetazolamide (Diamox), dexamethasone and nifedipine.


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