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High Altitude Health in Breckenridge Colorado - Altitude Sickness

Breckenridge Altitude Sickness

The town of Breckenridge enjoys a high alpine environment, situated 9,600 feet (2,900 meters) above sea level.  At this elevation, it is possible that visitors from lower altitudes will experience some form of altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness.    

It should be noted that there are no specific factors such as age, sex or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness when visiting Breckenridge.  Simply put: some people get it, some do not and some are more susceptible than others.

Most people find the effects of Breckenridge's altitude to be relatively mild, initially noticing a slight shortness of breath or finding it difficult to sleep soundly for the first night or two after their arrival.  These symptoms are often naturally resolved as the body acclimates to its new surroundings, though they should be monitored to ensure symptoms do not worsen.  Fortunately, the majority of travelers can avoid altitude sickness when visiting Breckenridge by following a few simple, precautionary measures.

How to Minimize the Effects of Altitude in Breckenridge

Staying well hydrated is the most effective way to minimize the symptoms of high altitude.   Visitors should drink at least 100 ounces (3 liters) of water per day, as the body loses fluids much more rapidly in Breckenridge’s than it does at lower elevations.  Avoiding tobacco, alcohol and caffeine during the first days of your stay will also help to prevent dehydration. 

Getting plenty of rest is highly recommended, although travelers are advised to avoid remaining in bed at their Breckenridge Lodging property during the day, even if they do not feel well.  Light activity is more effective than attempting to sleep off the effects of altitude.  Respiration and heart rate decrease during sleep, which can actually worsen symptoms.

A diet high in carbohydrates can reduce both the onset and severity of altitude sickness.  Because carbohydrates require less oxygen to metabolize, they are the preferred energy source at Breckenridge’s elevation.  Travelers consuming 70% or more of their calories from carbs have shown to acclimate more readily than those who do not.    

Finally, visitors may want to consult their physician about a prescription known as Diamox (Acetazolamide) prior to departing for Breckenridge.  Diamox increases the acidity of the blood, which increases ventilation.  See your doctor a few weeks prior to traveling to Breckenridge to discuss whether Diamox is appropriate for you.

 

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