How to Combat Altitude Sickness
Sometimes high altitudes can put a damper on your vacation. Here are a few ways to prevent it.
Most people think altitude sickness is only caused by being on a plane. Not true.
This past weekend my friends and I tried to take a roadtrip to North Carolina. Keyword: TRIED. It turns out I get really REALLY bad altitude sickness. (As we found out going through the mountains of Tennessee...)
The average altitude of Evansville is about 387 feet above sea level
The altitude we hit in Cookesville, TN was about 1,096 feet above.
I was fine in the car, but as soon as we stopped for a bite to eat it hit me all at once. Dizziness, fatigue, nausea, low blood pressure. My muscles started slightly spasming. I was finding it difficult to breathe. It was not fun.
So what do you do in a situation like this?
1. Find a local drug store and stock up.
Get motion sickness and anti-nausea medication. If you can't find anti-nausea medication (because most of the time it's prescription only) don't worry. Most motion sickness medicine treats nausea, dizziness, and vomiting and are sold over the counter.
2. CARB LOAD.
I know the last thing you want to do when you feel nauseous is to eat, but you have to. CARB. IT. UP. And continue eating and snacking throughout the trip. Don't eat until you feel sick again. Just make sure your stomach is always full. Because if you get the slightest bit hungry, that nausea is going to flare up again.
*Side note: Sprite, 7UP, and Ginger Ale are great to drink too. I also managed to find some ginger cookies to snack on and they seemed to help.
3. Motion Sickness Arm Bands.
They sell these at CVS and Walgreens. They're like sweat bands for your wrists but they have a little white plastic bead that goes on your pulse point and helps with motion sickness.
Once you get to a place of lower altitude, or your intended destination: SLEEP.
It takes 24-48 hours to get over altitude sickness. Whether you are coming back to our 387 elevation, or your body is acclimatizing to a new elevation, it takes about that amount of time for your body to adjust.
If you already know you get altitude sickness, do all of this BEFORE HAND. It will work better. Especially the motion sickness medication. You're supposed to take it an hour before a trip. But if worse comes to worse, you can take it after symptoms appear, it will just take a while to kick in.
So happy travels this summer, and don't let high places stop you from a good time!