Altitude sickness occurs when you cannot get enough oxygen from the air at high altitudes.
It happens most often when people who are not used to high altitudes go quickly from lower altitudes to 2,500 metres or higher. When you go too high too fast, your body cannot adjust.
Altitude sickness can range from mild to life-threatening. With good planning, such as ascending slowly or taking certain medicines, it is often preventable.
The symptoms of altitude sickness may be mild to severe. Symptoms may include:
When altitude sickness is severe, it may be deadly.
Your symptoms may not start until a day after you have been at a high altitude. Many people say altitude sickness feels like having a hangover.
You may be able to prevent altitude sickness by taking your time when you go to high altitudes and using medicine in advance.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: July 29, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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