Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts August 2001
Short Cuts:HEALTH BEAT
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 (www.cdc.gov). 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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