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High Altitude Problems And Tips
Dealing with high altitudes

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Most hunters choosing to hunt the Rocky Mountain west do not suffer any medical problems while hunting the high altitudes. The following information is to help prevent any problems. If any problems do occure, please seek out medical advice.The reduced amount of oxygen at high altitudes may have adverse effects on pre-existing medical problems. New or increased symtons suc as shortness of breath and a rapid pulse may occure with heart and lung problems. Blood pressure may increase and you may develop swelling in the feet and ankles. Dehydration occures much more frequently in high elevations than sea level locations since the relative humidity is very low. Dehydration can sap one's energy, cause headaches and affect performance. As a rule of thumb, drink enough fluid to cause urination at least every three hours. Take frequent water and fluid breaks during vigorous activities such as hiking.

Acute Mountain Sickness is a syndrome which can range from mild headaches to incapacitating illness. Although it generally occures when one sleeps above 8,000 feet, many may develop some symtoms. Frequent symptoms are headaches, nausea, insomnia, fatigue, lack of appitite, and lightheadedness. Generlly, symptoms will improve with rest and fluids over 24 - 48 hours. Alcohol, tranquilizers, sleep medication, and antihistimines may make Acute Mountain Sickness worse. Consult a doctor before using using these or any drugs while having AMS. Acute Mountain Sickness can progress into a more serious illness called HACE. This medical emergency is heralded by an incapacitating headache, neurological symtons such as a drunken gait, and may proceed to a coma. Prompt emergency help is critical with HACE.

Frostbite is the actual freezing of the skin and underlying tissue. The most frequent areas affected are the fingers, toes, nose, and cheeks. Frostbitten area initially look white and then turn red. A purple hue to the skin usually means a more severe freezing problem. Most frostbitten extrimities tingle or feel nunb initially and hurt with rewarming. Seek medical attention if you suspect frostbite.

High altitude predisposes one to sunburn and snow blindness because there is less atmosphere to filter out ultrviolet rays. Sunblock is mandatory for those with sensitive skin and helps prevent discomfort and aging for all. A wide-brimmed hat will help protect sensitive ears and scalps. Snow blindness is prevented by wearing UV filtering sunglasses.

Nose bleeds will occure more frequently due to the dry air, particulary in the early mornings. If a bleed occures, pinching the nose for 5 to 10 minutes will usually stop the bleeding. If it does not stop, seek medical help.

The affects of alcohol and other drugs are dramatically increased at high altitude. Also hanovers will be worse.

These symtons may not affect the high altitude hunter, but this is just to let the hunters know that it can affect them. If coming from a low elevation, or are on medication, consult your Doctor first.

This writing is from the "High Altitude Medical Tips For Your Jackson Hole Visit"
and is on this page as an awareness and aide only. Any medical problems need to be consulted with a medical doctor.

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