Internal Medicine Specialists Offers Top 10 Tips For Avoiding Altitude Sickness on Summer Vacations

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Santa Fe medical group offers top 10 tips to help travelers adjust to higher altitudes and avoid common symptoms of altitude sickness this summer.

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“High altitudes can be stressful on the body as the decrease in oxygen levels can produce debilitating effects and ruin your vacation."

Internal Medicine Specialists (IMS) is excited to offer easy tips to help vacationers traveling to high altitude destinations this summer. Moving from a low elevation to a much higher one can cause mild altitude sickness in even the healthiest of travelers. Familiarizing yourself with altitude sickness and preparing for common symptoms can mean the difference between a healthful trip and a miserable one. Additionally, those with heart or lung problems should be aware that high altitudes could lead to additional complications and become a real cause for concern.

According to Dr. Josh Brown of Santa Fe’s Internal Medicine Specialists, “High altitudes can be stressful on the body as the decrease in oxygen levels can produce debilitating effects and ruin your vacation. Symptoms of mild altitude sickness include headache, dizziness, nausea, dehydration and difficulty sleeping,” he added.

With a little planning, it is easy to ensure a fun, healthful visit to popular high-altitude summer destinations. Dr. Brown encourages travelers to follow these easy tips:

1.    Start Exercising Now: If your trip includes strenuous physical activity, start an exercise plan that includes extra cardio activity for the month or so prior to your visit.

2.    Stay Hydrated: Begin drinking extra water a day or two before arriving at your destination and continue to stay well hydrated throughout your trip.

3.    Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Try to avoid or limit beverages that contribute to dehydration.

4.    Eat Foods High In Potassium: Foods such as broccoli, bananas, avocado, cantaloupe, celery, greens, bran, chocolate, granola, dates, dried fruit, potatoes and tomatoes will help you replenish electrolytes by balancing salt intake.

5.    Take Ibuprofen: Recent studies show that altitude sickness can be effectively prevented with this common and inexpensive over-the-counter medicine.

6.    Plan for Trouble Sleeping: It is safe to assume that you will have difficulty sleeping, particularly during the first night in a higher altitude. Take it easy and allow for extra time to rest.

7.    Climb High, Sleep Low: This mantra is especially important if you are hiking or camping at elevations above 10,000 feet. If you can, arrange the itinerary so that there are gradual increases in elevation spread throughout your trip.

8.    Wear Sunscreen: Remember that higher altitude means less atmosphere to filter the sun so there is a much higher chance of sunburn compared to sea level. Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 or more even in the winter.

9.    Know the Symptoms: Altitude sickness can cause loss of appetite; fatigue or weakness; dizziness or light-headedness; pins and needles; shortness of breath upon exertion; persistent rapid pulse; drowsiness; and peripheral edema (swelling of hands, feet, and face). Contact your doctor if your symptoms are severe or don’t clear up after a couple days.

10.    Consult With Your Doctor: People who have had serious bouts of altitude sickness in the past should check with their doctor about prescription medications, like Diamox, that can help alleviate symptoms. Those who have significant heart problems should also check with their doctor before traveling as higher altitudes can cause an increase in blood pressure for a few days. Be aware that those who wear oxygen, have lung problems or have difficulty breathing may experience additional complications at high altitude.

For press inquiries, contact:
Lisa Neal
JLH Media
575 635 5658


Founded in the 1970s by prominent Santa Fe physician leaders, Internal Medicine Specialists (IMS) is the longest running continuous independent practice in Santa Fe. A multi-disciplinary healthcare practice, IMS provides superior medical care from its renowned group of more than 20 medical professionals. Located at 1650 Hospital Drive Suite 800, the medical practice offers comprehensive, whole-patient care with an emphasis on availability and ease of access. In addition to 24-hour on-call services, the office accepts walk-in visits for existing patients and is able to see new patients within 48 hours. For more information please visit

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Lisa Neal
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IMS Practice Management Group
since: 11/2013
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