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  1. #1
    CrazyCatLady's Avatar
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    CW and Altitude Sickness...

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    This weekend we went camping up in the mountains with the kids. We had a rise of over 3000 feet, and my youngest, as has been usual for when we go to higher altitudes, had stomach upset and head ache, two classic symptoms of altitude sickness. In the past, I went with CW and gave him a bagel or crackers to eat, and pushed the water to be sure that he is hydrated. (Some of our trips to the mountains tend to be much higher elevations, not always with time to acclimate.)

    But, as we move away from eating grains, what else can we do to treat altitude sickness? I sometimes feel the same, but I am also seeing that I feel crappy after eating grains and such, that seems to be self defeating.

    Any advice for our future trips to the mountains?

  2. #2
    Mr. Anthony's Avatar
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    The biggest fix for altitude sickness seems to be hydration. You're usually going to a drier, thinner environment and lose a lot of water through respiration. If he's able to keep food down, fat and protein will help with symptoms also.

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    Diamox an option? J/K, I'll never take that crap unless I absolutely have to. I have nothing to offer except what I know from my mountaineering experiences and personal anecdotes, but here's what I've got:

    You can take ibuprofen for a headache, sometimes it's a combination of extremely minor swelling and dehydration.
    Don't physically exert yourself too much until you've been at altitude for a while. Even seemingly minor physical activities will take oxygen away from other bodily functions and exacerbate the effects of the lower atmospheric pressure.
    As you've said, make sure you're drinking enough water.
    I've found that diet has very little effect for me personally until around 16,000', at which point I do find it necessary to eat considerably less fat and more carbohydrate.
    >That said, many people use high carb snacks to combat AMS because they're "easier on the digestive system" than rich, high-fat snacks. Instead of a bagel or crackers, try any snack that's low in fat and high in carbs. The body uses more oxygen to metabolize 1g of fat than it does to metabolize 1g of carbohydrate, so eating lots of fat won't help you acclimatize. Try a piece of fruit or a Larabar.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by AmyMac703; 09-16-2012 at 10:00 PM.
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  4. #4
    Paleobird's Avatar
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    What AmyMac said.

    My go-to snacks on the way up Kilimangaro were Larabars and Tankabites.

    I never took the diamox my MD had given me. My guide advised against it saying that it dehydrates you even more and so you shouldn't take it unless absolutely necessary.

    Also there are websites where you can order products made with coca leaf from Peru. Tea, capsules, candies. These proved to be very handy too.

  5. #5
    CrazyCatLady's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone! I think we will avoid the coca leaf for the 7 year old for now, but I may look into making some sweet potato chips, and getting some of those bars! And, keeping on with the water.

    It is hard to acclimate when we are only there for a night or two, but we take the time we have to go and play (and search out potential elk to have for dinner eventually.) Hopefully we can do this on a more regular basis and get things a bit more under control.

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