How to Enjoy Good Health in the Mountains

Weather: The weather can be unpredictable in the Rockies. Afternoon showers are likely so bring a poncho or umbrella. Nights and early mornings can be very cool – it could snow!! Be prepared by bringing a warm jacket and long pants. Days could be in the 70-degree range.This area’s mountainous, high-altitude, dry climate can affect your health in many ways.

Altitude: Altitude syndrome results from not as much oxygen in each breath as the body is used to having. Symptoms include headache, restlessness, fatigue, insomnia, breathlessness, and sometimes nausea. Some cases produce severe shortness of breath and cough, requiring medical treatment.

Remember theses important do’s and don’ts:

  • Open wide at least one window every night to allow fresh air to replenish oxygen in the air you breathe. The cold won’t hurt you. The lack of oxygen will.
  • Hyperventilate (take fast and deep breaths) before each exertion. This gives your body more oxygen to work with.
  • Do not overexert the first day or two at altitude.
  • Avoid heavy meals and heavy alcohol consumption the first day or two.

Sunburn: At high altitude sunburn is more likely. Remember these things:

  • Apply total sun block preparation with at least a 15 rating to all exposed areas several times each day. Not just once.
  • Apply to the lips the same sun block.
  • Wear extra dark glasses or goggles when the sun is bright to protect your corneas.

Allergy: Symptoms of allergy are common in the mountains. This is partly related to the absence of air conditioning and filtered air causing 24-hour exposure to the pollen and house dust. If these symptoms are severe there is a shot that can be given to give dramatic relief of symptoms.

Giardia: This is an amoeba infection in the gastrointestinal tract causing severe diarrhea and cramping. It comes from the mountain streams, almost all of which are contaminated. It can be caught from drinking the water or washing hands or utensils in the water or even from pets that wade or swim in the water. Be sure to learn proper methods of preparing the water before drinking it. This condition requires medical treatment.

Rivers and Streams: Even slow moving streams and rivers can be dangerous for young children. Please stay away out of rivers and streams!