Traveling in and of itself can cause or expose you to all kinds of health issues. The dry, recirculated air of most airlines can leave you seriously dehydrated or even exposed to any number of germs and viruses. Time zone changes can make it nearly impossible to get adequate sleep as well, which can, in turn, lower your immune system, making it harder to fight off all the additional germs and viruses you may be exposed to.
Another complication that can hit you while traveling is altitude sickness. Many people don’t realize the dramatic impact that traveling at a high-altitude locale can have on your body and your health. Here are three ways to combat altitude sickness when traveling.
- Stay hydrated
Dehydration is one of the most critical issues for many travelers, but even more so for those traveling to a high altitude. It is important for your body to maintain a critical balance of fluids and electrolytes (salts). The thinner oxygen at higher altitudes can make it more difficult to do this. It is recommended that when traveling at a high altitude, you drink between 17 to 24 cups (four to six liters) of plain water per day until you become acclimated to the altitude.
- Iron supplements
Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the entire body. Increasing the iron content in your blood can also help facilitate this process. This is not a quick fix, however, so a few weeks before your trip, you’ll want to start eating a diet high in iron in addition to taking iron mineral supplements. Remember, they are called supplements for a reason, so your primary source of iron should be from food that you can then back up with the iron supplements themselves.
- Portable oxygen canisters
At sea level, the air you breathe contains roughly 20.9% oxygen. In Aspen, CO, which is around 8,000 feet above sea level, the oxygen concentration drops to about 15.4% oxygen. The higher you climb, the lower the concentration of oxygen. You can supplement this with canisters of pure 95% concentration of oxygen. Once again, the point is to be able to oxygenate your red blood cells until they acclimate to the lower oxygen levels. Portable oxygen canisters can help give you a quick, supercharged boost of oxygen to help ease that transition process.