The high altitude air in Keystone, Colorado was thin but also very dry – great for my wild, curly hair.
But that same air that's so great for hair takes its toll on the rest of the body. I felt it a bit when I went to Park City, Utah in 2010 but at 11,000 feet in Keystone, Colorado, I couldn't move without feeling some effect of the altitude.
Altitude Sickness is Not Fun.
Altitude sickness can involves severe headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, nose bleeds, feeling tired or nauseated and loss of appetite. For those starting at sea level, these symptoms can be felt at just a couple of thousand feet. Most people will feel some effect at 5,000 feet and higher.
Advice on Coping with High Altitudes.
- Go up slowly. If you can, arrive at your high altitude destination in stages so that your body has a chance to adjust before you get there.
- Plan light activities at the beginning, again, to give your body a chance to adjust.
- Humidify your hotel room. Use a humidifier or fill a bath with steaming hot water. Do anything to get some humidity in the air.
- Eat light meals. Digestion takes energy which takes oxygen. If the oxygen is going to your stomach to aid digestion, your brain will miss it.
- Avoid alcohol. Your blood, deprived of oxygen, will respond to alcohol much more quickly than at sea level.
- Get a can of oxygen (usually available in tourist places that are at a high altitude) to give yourself a shot if necessary.
High altitudes offer wonderful views, great hiking, fabulous skiing and more. Learning how to cope with high altitudes is well worth it.