How do you prevent altitude sickness?

switchback7

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Being from MN, I never have had to deal with the mountains before. Ill be heading out west in Sept to hunt elk, and ill be pre-scouting some areas at the end of June. Any tips on how to get ready for the elevation difference? Any ways to fight it off
 

ramsdude47

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Feb 20, 2020
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There is really not much you can do besides spending a night or 2 at a lower elevation (like 7500 +/- 500). With that said it takes close to 2 weeks to acclimate, so the 1-2 nights is only going to make a marginal difference.

Staying well hydrated and eating carb heavy meals are also in your best interest.
 

Indian Summer

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What elevations will you be at?


I helps to get there a few days early and do some mild hiking, split fire wood etc. Drink water until it’s coming out your ears. Also it makes a big difference if you are camped low. Even if you hunt much higher returning to lower elevations to sleep each night is way different than being at extreme elevations 24/7.
 

Laelkhunter

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Stay hydrated (Wilderness Athlete makes Hydrate & Recover, and Altitude Adjustment capsules, I take both). Get to the higher elevation as soon as you can before your hunt to slowly acclimate. Take it easy the first day or two. If possible sleep at a lower altitude than where you hunt or do your strenuous activities, then head back up to altitude the next day. And as said before drink plenty of water (avoid caffeine, and alcohol), if your pee is dark yellow you are not drinking enough water. Drink water even if you are not thirsty.
 
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ramsdude47

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I will add the only time I have had symptoms of minor AMS was backpacking at ~11,000 feet after living/sleeping all summer (15 weeks) at 9,975 ft. You can't get much more acclimated than that in the CONUS.

The takeaway is it's pretty much a crapshoot.
 

ramsdude47

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If you want an (overpriced) magic fix go for these:

 

LaHunter

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The podcast that Exo Mtn Gear does had an episode on altitude sickness that was informative too. They had an expert on this episode that was one of the leading researchers on the subject.
 

jmo3663

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Like most have said, hydration and acclimation. Stay the first night at 7k-9k feet before moving up.

One year, because of limited time, I went from sea level to the next night 11k feet. Big mistake, there was a noticeable difference, I wasted that first day due to headaches and fatigue anyways.
 

mwebs

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Water, lots of water and if you plan to celebrate a kill with some beer and whiskey be prepared to be laid out for a day. When my friends visit from the Midwest and we get after the drinks, they definitely feel it due to the elevation.
 

zion zig zag

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You can get a scrip for Diamox from your doc as a "just in case" solution. Just realize that there are some side effects from taking it. Also, fitness won't prevent altitude sickness, but it can make dealing with the effects a little easier.

If you need something to help you sleep (I sleep terrible above 10k), don't take diphenhydramine (common sleep aid in Tylenol Pm, Advil PM, Benadryl), it works by slowing your respiration's, which will lead to waking up dozens of times to gasp for air, even if you don't realize it. Ambien works by a different mechanism and will work at altitude.
 

Mosby

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I got altitude sickness a few years ago on a scouting trips. It was awful. Never had it before and never got into the woods.

I now get a script for Diamox and start taking a few days before l leave. I also take Advil a few times a day while traveling and drink a ton of fluids. One of the fluids I drink is Body Armor. During the first few days at altitude, I sometimes feel a little shaky and found that drinking Body Armor makes me feel better. Not sure if its the vitamins or electrolytes but it does help. You can get it at Walmart.
 

txhunter581

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I would bet my entire gun collection that product does not make a statistically significant difference compared to a placebo. Save your money and buy a couple vitamin waters.
What do you have in your collection?? Altitude adjustment absolutely helps me and my wife. No placebo effect just good observation over many years. From my 20s to my 60s

EVERY time if I went to altitude without taking something I have very bothersome symptoms: headaches, general lerhargy, pounding heart, insomnia. As well as a few others.

First I went to the doctor and took Diamox, which does away with most of those but has wicked side effects: tingling in fingers, pee a LOT, and makes any soft drinks taste nasty!

Someone told me to try Altitude Adjustment and for about the first 5 years I took the Diamox along just in case But I never needed It and somewhere along the way stopped taking it with me.


$5 per 3 day package and I get 2 packages per trip. Start taking it the day I leave and then 4-5 days after I get there. Still have to take it easy the first few days but no headaches, no pounding heart, and sleep well
It does have both Ginko and Ginsing but all I know is that it works for both of us

Bottom line is that you don’t know if you will even have a problem until you go there. Many people don’t have any problems.

As a disclaimer, what I experience is not raeally the severe form of altitude sickness. If you have worse symptoms than I have you HAVE to go to a lower altitude.
 

Roughwater

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Aug 10, 2018
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Location
Oxford NC
Just avoid high altitude! But seriously one of the best things to do is to not attack the mountain. Initially take your time, stop to rest often, if just for a few seconds. If you can hang out at 7500 ft for a day or two it would help. Bring some chap stick as the air just seems extra dry and can chap your lips in a few days. Foods and or drinks to give you a little extra energy aren't a bad idea as you'll need all the energy you can get. One reason in my older age I avoid hunting in Colorado is that it has higher hunting altitudes than most other states. I can deal so much better with 9500 and down than I can dealing with 8500 ft and up to 12K or so ft.
 
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