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Altitiude sickness: Medicine

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Unread 11-20-2012, 07:33 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: PA
Posts: 326
Re: Altitiude sickness: Medicine

I was concerned about the effects of gaining 10,000 ft from here to Colorado last year. I did the Ginko and Grape seed for 8 weeks before leaving and figured that would be enough. We were walking around Wal Mart in Gunnison when a nice lady came up to me and asked. Where re you from? I told her and she said she could see right off I was from out of town. I guess I looked pretty bad. Driving straight through likely didn't help,lol. She then asked where we would be camped and I told her right at 9,000 ft. She told me to get on the water hard,and if i got too bad to get back down to town and get some MD attention. She was an O.R. nurse in town for 12 years and had seen A LOT of altitude sickness. Talk about shaking me up! I'm asthmatic and was living in fear of that as well.

So,off to the pharmacy I go for more Ginko and Grape seed. I down a couple of each and have a water in hand most of the time the first 2 days. Suppliments twice a day all week. Thankfully I suffered no ill effects from the altitude. Shortness of breath for sure,but no illness. Funny,I'd be jerked awake every night running out of air. I'd catch up a few breaths and go right back to sleep. I'm told at rest when your body slows down,this is quite common. One of the big mistakes us flatlanders make is lying around the first day at altitude. Being sedentary slowes your oxygen up take and worsens the effects of altitude. Light exercise and LOTS of water is much better. Worked for me. We camped @ 9,000 and hunted to 12,000. Aside from being impared with the asthma things went well. I'll be on the Ginko and grape for sure next summer/fall, and hydrated from the time we leave home!
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Unread 11-21-2012, 09:20 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Windsor, VA (but heading for the Rockies)
Posts: 427
Re: Altitiude sickness: Medicine

Originally Posted by 436 View Post
A Dr. Pepper and yogurt enema... The Doctor; (Pepper) says it never fails from a medical view point.
OK I have no idea..
Thanks Guys! This has been a very entertaining thread, albiet at the discomfort of others.

I'm presently at just below 10,000ft in Afghanistan, came here from the nice lowlands of Iraq last year. So the altitude change was significant. I had all the symptoms, headache, runny bloody nose, increased urination, disorientation..
Well, having been home (Virginia) and back a few times I've gotten the hang of not suffering from the abrupt change in altitude.

Here's the drill: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate... seriously the lack of humidity and thinner air at altitude sucks you dry thru your skin, breath, kidneys.. yep, kidneys cause they work overtime from your energy consumption trying to just stay hydrated and oxygenated, that's 9 tenths of the headache, your little brain is shriveling up! Start hydrating early, no later than a week out, preferably 2 weeks out and if you drink ANY alcoholic beverages, well, enjoy the headache cause it displaces plasma glucose in your blood and brain.. headache!

The other part is simple also, and is advice I got from a equine vet in Colorado... increase your red blood cell count to increase your oxygen capacity in your blood. Anyone who has horses has learned this when changing altitudes, we use 'Red Cell' or something along those lines, as do athletes who train at lower altitudes. When you start hydrating, start taking good old geratol with iron. Iron supplements will increase your red blood cell count but it won't happen all at once. Start two weeks out at least. I start taking it just as soon as I get back home to VA. Of course along with increased iron comes other discomforts of the bowel type. The added benefit of the increased hydration will help out here considerably!

Standard disclaimer: always consult with YOUR physician before you take any supplements for any reason!

I've been here now a year and no longer get headaches or other symptoms other than incresed urination when coming back, but I do admit to a Jack and Pepsi or two while home, so I have to boost the hydration before heading back. Now.. I'm not saying this will help you for sure but it's working for me at 8900 feet. Ya'll take care!


"History does not long trust the care of freedom to the weak or timid" Dwight David Eisenhower
Sic Semper Tyrannis...Veritas et Aequitas

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