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Mountain Sickness (cont.)

Altitude Sickness Treatment

Altitude Sickness Self-Care at Home

  • Delay further ascent until symptoms improve.
  • Rest and stay warm.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headache.
  • Do not use sleeping pills or other central nervous system depressants to treat insomnia because they can suppress breathing.
  • If symptoms continue, do not travel any higher.
  • If symptoms worsen, descend approximately 1,000-2,000 feet (300-600 meters) immediately.
  • If descent is not possible, a portable hyperbaric chamber (Gamow bag) can be used to simulate a lower altitude.
    • The higher the altitude at which a hyperbaric chamber is used, the greater the apparent descent can be simulated. (This is because portable hyperbaric chambers can increase atmospheric pressure by 2 pounds per square inch.)
    • For example, a hyperbaric chamber at 9,800 feet (3,000 meters) can simulate a descent of 4,800 feet (1,500 meters), but the same hyperbaric chamber used at 24,600 feet (7,500 meters) can simulate a descent of 7,800 feet (2,400 meters).
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