Alpine Risks and Altitude Sickness


Icy, slippery conditions may exist everywhere you go! Even when streets and driveways are plowed and sidewalks shoveled, ice may still exist making slips and falls all too easy.

Perhaps even more dangerous is the potential for roof slides!  Before sitting, standing or walking under roof eaves, please check roof tops for snow and ice collecting on them indicating potential for slide off. This can be extremely dangerous!

In addition, the cold weather itself can be dangerous.  Sunny “blue bird” sky days can be deceiving so always be prepared for the cold!

To Prevent Cold Injury:

  • Dress in Layers
  • Bring Extra Clothes for Sudden Temperature Changes
  • Wear Properly Fitting Boots and Gloves
  • Avoid Wet Clothing
  • Drink and Eat Frequently
  • Stop to Warm Up Often
  • Watch Each Other For Warning Signs

Altitude Sickness

altitude sickness

At 9600 feet, it’s impossible to not feel some effect of high altitude.  Symptoms can be as minor as breathing faster and/or deeper, and feeling short of breath especially when exercising. Your heart is also likely to beat faster and you may develop nausea, unusual tiredness, headache, or have difficulty sleeping. Visitors with these symptoms may have acute mountain sickness (AMS). This form of altitude sickness usually resolves in a day or two. If the symptoms become worse, or if you are concerned, be sure to consult a doctor.

There are ways to decrease the symptoms of altitude sickness, however.  Before you arrive in Breckenridge, it is recommended that you double your water intake starting two days prior to your arrival in Breck.  Whether you typically drink a lot of water or very little, your goal is to double it!  You’ll want to continue the increased water intake during your entire stay.

Other things to do to avoid altitude sickness while you’re here are:

  • Decrease Salt Intake
  • Moderate Your Physical Activity
  • Eat High-Carbohydrate, Low-Fat Meals
  • Reduce Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
  • Get oxygen

If after these steps, you are still feeling the effects of altitude sickness, we recommend stopping by a local oxygen bar on Main Street. At Vida-Flo, they specialize in quick evaluations and treatments for altitude sickness so you can avoid delays in your vacation. By offering both oxygen and IV drips, “A spoonful of prevention is worth a cup of cure” –  under the guidance of their Medical Director, Dr. Steven Kane, MD. All therapies are administered by Colorado Medical Board certified nurses.

If your symptoms still do not subside or if they grow worse after a day or two, or if you develop a wet cough, or the feeling of fluid collecting in your lungs, this may signal a more serious condition called High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). HAPE requires immediate medical attention!