The best way to avoid or lessen the effects of mountain sickness is to increase altitude slowly. Climbers and hikers can take two days to reach 8,000 feet, and then another day for each 1,000 to 2,000 higher feet. This may not be an option for people who travel to a destination at high altitude. Most people can adjust or “acclimatize” to the high altitude within a few days. Here are some tips:
- Avoid strenuous activity for the first day or two
- Be careful of drinking alcohol. Its effect is magnified at high altitude
- Drink extra fluid
- Your doctor may prescribe medication to help prevent or treat altitude sickness
Consult Your Physician
If you have a heart or lung condition, consult your physician before going to high altitude. He or she can tell you whether your condition will let your body adjust to the lower oxygen in the atmosphere.