Aspen, Colorado and Snowmass Village are approximately 8,000 feet in elevation. If you’re skiing or hiking, you may ascend another 3,000–4,000 feet. There is less oxygen and less humidity available to you than at sea level, and a variety of symptoms can result. For most people, the minor symptoms of altitude sickness will disappear as your body adjusts. This may take a few days or a few weeks.
The most common symptoms of altitude sickness in Aspen include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Fast Heartbeat
- Nasal congestion
Several of the above symptoms can also be caused by heart disease. It is best to be checked by a physician. More serious symptoms of altitude sickness — such as worsening shortness of breath, increased cough, and fluid in the lungs — can also occur and require medical attention.
There are some easy ways you can help prepare your body for a trip to a higher elevation.
How to minimize your symptoms:
- Take it easy for the first day or so. Physical exertion will affect your response to altitude.
- Eat lightly, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid alcohol. Alcohol aggravates high altitude symptoms. Because you are prone to dehydration and constipation at altitude, drink lots of water and don’t overeat.
- Get plenty of sleep. Overexertion and lack of sleep can result in more severe and persistent altitude symptoms.
- Listen to your body. The symptoms noted above are a warning to decrease your activity and protect yourself. If your symptoms persist or worry you, visit Aspen Valley Hospital
Keep in mind that several of the symptoms listed may also be caused by heart disease or underlying infection. If you are unsure what may be causing your symptoms, seek the advice of a physician. More serious symptoms of altitude sickness – such as worsening shortness of breath, increased cough and fluid in the lungs – can also occur and require medical attention.