Utah’s gorgeous scenery attracts people from all over the world.
If you’re coming from a place that has a high altitude, you’re probably already acclimated to its conditions and effects. But if you’re one of the many who comes from lower altitudes and areas near sea level, you may want to know a bit about how altitude affects your body and maybe why you’re not feeling so good.
What’s happening to me?
Altitude affects air pressure. The pressure of the air that surrounds you is called barometric pressure. When you go to higher altitudes, this pressure drops and there is less oxygen available. In general, around 7,000 feet above sea level, the amount of saturation of oxygen begins to decline rapidly. Depending on where you are in Southern Utah, the altitude can range from lows in Saint George at 2,800 feet above sea level, to Cedar Breaks National Monument in Bryce Canyon at 10,000 feet above sea level! Our own Western Star Vacation Rental in Kanab sits near 5,000 feet.
So what does this mean? Well, going from a low altitude to a high altitude can have some negative effects on your body. Altitude sickness symptoms can include
- difficulty sleeping
- dizziness or light-headedness
- loss of appetite
- nausea or vomiting
- rapid pulse (heart rate)
- shortness of breath with exertion
Altitude sickness can affect you whether you’re skiing in Park City, hiking at the Grand Canyon, or lounging in Cedar City.
What can be done?
Well for mild or medium altitude sickness, some medications include, Acetazolamide (Diamox), Altitude RX, and good old acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for headaches. If medication isn’t readily available then some general tips would have him or her rest, give plenty of liquids and avoid alcohol or sleeping medication.
If you start to have serious trouble you should not try going higher for at least 24 hours. If your health doesn’t improve or worsens during that time, you should descend immediately! I have only seen some of these symptoms in a couple of guests, but it just helps to be aware if you are susceptible to these things.
Please be safe and attentive during your exploration of Utah. A quick search of any area can give you insight to the terrain and altitude you may be dealing with.