January 23rd, 2015 Posted in Recent News
With winter in full swing, many are seeking alternative ways to exercise. Skiing can be a great way to work out and enjoy the outdoors, but as with all types of outdoor activities, the appropriate precautions should always be taken. Often, it’s the most unexpected hazards that present a problem. For example, a little known skiing risk is the possibility of altitude sickness – also known as acute mountain sickness.
Altitude sickness is caused by exposure to the low pressure of oxygen at a high altitude. It commonly occurs above 8,000 feet, causing symptoms that resemble the flu or a migraine. If unaddressed, altitude sickness can progress to a high altitude pulmonary edema or high altitude cerebral edema, both of which can be fatal.
Primary Symptoms Severe Symptoms
• Shortness of breath during exertion
• Decreased appetite
• Swelling of the extremities
• Social withdrawal
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema
• Shortness of breathe at rest
• Gurgling respirations
• Wet cough
• Respiratory failure
High Altitude Cerebral Edema
• Impaired balance
To avoid problems, those unaccustomed to higher elevations should allow time to gradually get used to altitude by taking frequent breaks. Do not over exert yourself and remember to always drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcoholic beverages before hitting the slopes. One of the most common symptoms of altitude sickness is a headache, which is also one of the most common symptoms of dehydration.
If traveling by air to a destination above 8,250 feet, take steps prior to arriving. Incorporate a layover of one to two days at an intermediate altitude. Avoid physical exertion for the first 24 hours after you arrive and consume a high-carbohydrate diet. Additionally, talk to your doctor about the preventative medication; Acetazolamide (Diamox) this medication actually speeds acclimatization to prevent altitude sickness.
Hitting the slopes should never end in sickness. Staying aware of your surroundings and taking the proper precautions during the winter months can make all the difference. Our doctors and staff at OAZ are always looking for great ways to keep our patients safe, whether it’s on the slopes or off. And though we can’t guarantee we’ll get you off the bunny slope, we can guarantee we will do our best to keep you safe while you’re on it!
, acute mountain sickness
, Altitude sickness
, Orthopaedic Associates of Zanesville
, safe skiing
, winter safety
, winter sports