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Have you had altitude sickness in the Alps?

Have you had altitude sickness in the Alps?

Old Jul 26th, 2013, 04:33 AM
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Have you had altitude sickness in the Alps?

Have not read much on this Forum on altitude sickness. Had a bad chronic headache in the higher Rockies some years ago (+10,000 ft.) and wondering if I should bring/take preventative remedy beforehand: Diamox (actually a glaucoma drug) was prescribed for me at Vail and is effective. Now, we are not hikers, but hope to be at the summits of Pilatus, Jungfrau and Schilthorn. Yes, stay hydrated, do not consume too much alcohol are the expected guidelines, but any other tips would be much appreciated.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 04:44 AM
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The Alps are no where near the altitude of the Rockies As the Rockies rise out of a high plain, i.e., Denver is the Mile High City. I have never had any problems in the Alps while I once had altitude sickness in Colorado.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 05:29 AM
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Actually, Jungfrau is 13,642 feet, so this one could be a problem.
Titlis is 9084 feet
Pilatus is 'only' 6384 ft and
Schilthorn is 8910 feet....
Move slowly when you first ascend.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 05:31 AM
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While visiting Switzerland, I did not have any problems at the places you mentioned. When I am going to be at a high elevation, I usually take aspirin for a day or two before and the day of, and it has worked in the Rockies as well as other places. I hope that you are able to enjoy your time in Switzerland headache free!
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 05:36 AM
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I didn't have any problems at the Jungfrau which is at a high elevation.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 05:37 AM
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Even though the station is at 11,332 ft (not the summit), there is little time to acclimate because the train zips up there quickly. It could be a problem.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 05:50 AM
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Yes.

Be very careful of the Schilthorn. The gondola ascends too fast in my opinion.

Would not go up if have history of vertigo.

Take meclizine with you.

The train to the Jungfrau goes up at a slow pace so less likely to get vertigo.

Thin
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 06:00 AM
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Jungfrau was the fist place where I've learned what altitude sickness is. Headache, dizziness, feeling weak, lightheaded, don't remember nausea, but it can be one of the symptoms. And the heart rate went up, couldn't even count how fast it was beating.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 06:07 AM
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Once you get altitude sickness the first time, it tends to become worse w/every subsequent exposure to high altitude, which is what my husband was told when he first got it in his 40s. It is most prominent when sleeping at higher altitudes and people are advised to sleep at the lowest altitude possible. Talk to your doc. This is too important of a concern to handle on your own.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 07:46 AM
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No, not at all, and we used lots of gondolas (which ascend fast) and went all the way to Jungfrau, which is high...
My husband had major altitude sickness at Bryce, but nothing in Switzerland. You will probably be fine, but talk to your doctor. Don't rely on our experiences...
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 08:08 AM
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Look: this is a personal issue. If you have had altitude sickness in the past or even just more than average difficulty adjusting to higher altitudes, you should consider precautionary measures. Don't act based on anecdotal evidence of "everything's fine" or "everything's fouled up."
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 11:26 AM
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Thin, is Meclizine a prescription or OTC? Yes, perhaps I'll get some. I am a woman of a certain age who has been on baby aspirin daily anyway. But zooming up from valley floor gives no time for acclimation. Yes, Jungfraujoch much higher than Breckinridge. Thank you all.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 06:30 PM
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You can buy meclizine aka Bonine tablets at the pharmacy.

But I am sure your Dr. would give you a prescription for Antivert.

Thin
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 08:41 PM
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My son had problems at 11,000 ft during our backpacking trip years ago when he lived at home at 4000' elevation, and we had to descend to alleviate them. We all had 'sausage' fingers but no headache like my son.

When we all went to the Jungfrau last year I was concerned about him and kept asking him how he felt, ready to hop on the train and descend immediately if necessary. He had no issues whatsoever with that trip, and he lives at sea level.

If you begin to have any issues it is not like you are trapped on the mountain and it will take you days to descend. Just hop the next train and descend if you begin to feel uncomfortable. The symptoms should begin to lessen as you descend.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 09:17 PM
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You don't have to go to the peaks to have wonderful views.
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Old Jul 26th, 2013, 09:38 PM
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My husband has had a lot of problems with altitude sickness in the Rockies, mainly because he has had to stay overnight at higher elevations. He had no problems in Switzerland. Our visits to the Schilthorn and Jungfrauroch were quick enough.
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Old Jul 27th, 2013, 09:31 AM
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Maybe the staying overnight is the real culprit. Didn't think about that. We had been at the 11,000 ft level for a couple days before son started to have issues. You will be at Jungfrau for probably 4 hrs or so, so that might make a huge difference. I hope you are able to go to these altitudes as they are phenomenal.
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Old Jul 27th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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I agree you don't have to go to the peaks for great views and be aware that if you do get sick at the Jungfrau summit you are NOT going to "zip right back down again" since you will have to wait for the next train down and that does not happen in just a few minutes.
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Old Jul 27th, 2013, 10:53 AM
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Sorry - but the height of all mountains is measured above sea level - not the surrounding area. So 10,000 ft is the same - no matter where you are coming from. It's true if you are used to living at 6K ft, versus 500 - you may not feel it so much - but the height of the mountain is the same.

We ha no problem at the top of Pilatus - although we weren;t running around. However, when we took the train up the Jungfrau we were both a little lightheaded when we got off the train. We went to the rest, got a light lunch and a bunch of water, felt better and were able to tour around the various sights before going back down. However, an older couple on the train with us were so dizzy they couldn;t even get out at the viewing station - I think about 8K - and took the train right back down from the Jungfrau - never even trying to get out.

Obviously different people react differently - and anyone with any sort of lung problem or who has smoked is more likely to have problems. If you had problems previously I would assume you will again and be prepared. Also, do be prepared for the cool/cold temps and the snow. A young couple came up with us wearing tee, shorts and sandals and were freezing at the top - and couldn;t go outside at all.
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Old Jul 27th, 2013, 11:46 AM
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I had some problems first time I went skiing. We weren't even staying particularly high, but were spending the days considerably higher. By the evening of the second day I felt like sh*t, and it continued for the rest of the week.

Next time we went we were staying at an even higher altitude, which worried me. I took a homeopathic preparation called Coca, which is derived from the coca plant from South America, where they chew the leaf to avoid altitude sickness.

Whatever you think of homeopathy, it worked for me that time and I had absolutely no problems.

I have since been skiing 7 or 8 more times, and stay at a lower altitude. However I have found that if I spend the day up on the mountain I can get quite dizzy in the evenings, and it is much worse after I have been lying down; waking up in the night for example, and then getting up to go to the bathroom I find myself bouncing off the walls! (And it's NOT too much apres ski before you accuse me of over-indulging!)

So I continue to take either Coca and/or Cocculus (which is prescribed for dizziness with nausea - and it's also great for travel sickness, particularly in children, incidentally).

I am usually pretty much all right, and I find some years are better than others, even in the same resort. Maybe hormonal?

Anyway, I take the Coca twice daily as a preventative, and the Cocculus as and when I get that strange dizzying lurching feeling.

It is not pleasant at all, having that feeling, but I feel I am able to control it, and it doesn't stop me going skiing again next year!

(Note to self - need to order more Coca!)
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