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altitude sickness?

NYC
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altitude sickness?

I'm considering a week-long vacation in Colorado, and I'm wondering about altitude sickness. Is this something I should be concerned about, given the high elevation of cities in Colorado?

I read through a string of posts on another travel guide's forum on altitude sickness and how to avoid it in Colorado. The cities I'm looking into now are Breckenridge, Vail, and Aspen. Of the three, Breckenridge's elevation is the highest by far (9600).

I plan to do quite a bit of hiking. By the way, while I'm young and fit I am not accustomed to high elevation (I live in NYC). Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Grand Lake, Colorado
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1. Re: altitude sickness?

Nyc2,

i just returned from nyc 3 weeks ago, and loved it!

Anyway, drink lot's of water, and honestly, try not to think about it that much! Swallow a lot on the plane, and eat before ya go!

You will love it there!

Springfield, MO
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2. Re: altitude sickness?

Drink lots of water, avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, breathe deeply, and get plenty of sleep. Take your first day or two a little easy - you will get a feel for what you are or aren't ready for. I always get a little headache the first day or two, so I take an aspirin or ibuprofen. Since you're healthy, you should assimilate quickly.

Colorado, USA
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3. Re: altitude sickness?

The altitude sneaks up on you. You'll feel great during a hike and feel you've been hit by a Mack truck afterwards! The water advice is vital, not only is the altitude a factor but it is very dry here. Breckenridge is beautiful with a lot of options, including canoeing, horses, lots of hikes and some of the resorts will take you and a mountain bike up the mountain and allow you to go biking down. (Keystone does this for sure, but I'm not positive about Breck. -- Keystone is right nextdoor, though).

This is my 'back yard'--if you have any further questions please don't hesitate to ask.

Colorado Western...
Destination Expert
for Ouray, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Montrose
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4. Re: altitude sickness?

If you can manage it, try spending your first night at a lower elevation (such as in Denver) before heading up to the mountain towns. Get out and walk around. When you do head up to the mountains, plan a shorter, easier hike first to see how your body is adjusting to the elevation.

You'll probably do just fine if you give yourself a little time to adjust. If you start feeling a bit ill, back off on the level of exercise and go down to a lower elevation if possible.

Littleton, Colorado
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5. Re: altitude sickness?

I certainly wouldn't let the risk of altitude sickness stop you from visiting Colorado, especially if you're young and fit. The advice about acclimating yourself is good advice. Lots of water and don't kill yourself the first few days and that's all you need. Hey, I live here and got it once, camping at over 11,000 feet - felt like my worst tequila hangover. All I had to do was go down lower a bit for awhile, and I was able to go back to finish the camping trip. I know Colorado natives who've had it too, but it's a very random thing. Just come out and enjoy it!

Alexandria, Virginia
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6. Re: altitude sickness?

It usually takes me a few days to wear it off. I would also advice to hold off on anything streneous.....it does sneak up on you. Water is most important. I also agree about spending the night in Denver or at a lower elevation. It helps you get used to it more.

:)

South Louisiana
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7. Re: altitude sickness?

I'm from Louisiana which is at or below sea level, so it's a definite change when we go to Colorado. I was quite sick (like they say, a very bad hangover feeling: headachy, achy all over, almost like the flu) the first two times I went, but both were in Leadville which is extremely high. The last time I went, I researched online for some preventive medication and got my doctor to prescribe it. I took it about 3 days before I got there and the first day after we got to RMNP. Worked like a charm! I think if you make a change of more than 5-6000 feet higher in a day, you're okay, so make the changes a day at a time.

My mother-in-law who has high blood pressure wound up hospitalized for three days. She had to be taken down in an ambulance when they were staying at about 9000 feet. If you're healthy, I don't think there's a big problem, but do be aware. As they say, drink plenty water and aspirin did help. We're going back this summer and I plan to take the meds again. I just can't remember what it is, so I'll have to look it up again. Enjoy the trip! It's worth it!

South Louisiana
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8. Re: altitude sickness?

In my last reply, I meant NO more than 5-6000 feet higher per day. Sorry for the confusion.