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Sometimes called “mountain sickness,” altitude sickness is in a group of symptoms that can affect you if you reach a higher elevation, or altitude, too quickly. That usually happens around 8,000 feet or higher.
Anyone can develop altitude sickness, no matter how fit, young or healthy you are. In fact, if you’re physically active while at a high elevation, you’re more likely to develop it.
Chances to get altitude sickness depends on a few things: how quickly you move to a higher elevation, how high up you’re going, the altitude where you sleep/rest, etc.
Your risk also depends on where you live, the altitude you’re accustomed to, your age (young people are more likely to get it) and whether you’ve had altitude sickness before.
Some research suggests our genes can play a role in the body’s ability to handle higher elevations.
Symptoms usually come on within 12 to 24 hours of reaching an elevation higher than 8,000 feet and then get better within a day or two as your body adjusts to the change in altitude. Usually worse at night, you might feel:
Remember to hydrate and, if things become really bad, descend to a lower altitude. If you’re climbing a mountain or expect to reach incredible heights, it may help to bring oxygen and a Gamow bag.
Acetazolamide is a more affordable, generic form of Diamox that is just as effective.
Acetazolamide (generic Diamox) is a prescription medication that is commonly used as a preventive treatment for altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS).
When taken preventively, acetazolamide (generic Diamox) hastens acclimatization to high-elevation hypoxia, thereby reducing occurrence and severity of altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS. It also enhances recovery if taken after symptoms have developed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the medication works primarily by inducing a bicarbonate diuresis and metabolic acidosis, which stimulates ventilation and increases alveolar and arterial oxygenation. By using acetazolamide (generic Diamox), high-elevation ventilatory acclimatization that normally takes 3–5 days takes only 1 day. This medication also eliminates central sleep apnea, or periodic breathing, which is common at high elevations, even in those without a history of sleep disorder breathing.
Although the exact dosing instructions will be provided by your healthcare provider, in general, it is generally recommended to start taking acetazolamide (generic Diamox) one to two days before ascending to high altitudes. This allows the medication to take effect and help your body acclimate to the change in altitude.
Although the exact dosing instructions will be provided by your healthcare provider, typically, it is recommended to begin the day before ascent and continue the first 2 days at elevation, and longer if ascent continues. Your healthcare provider will provide specific guidance based on your individual circumstances.
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Select your medications and fill out a quick, online questionnaire. Your physician will evaluate if medication is appropriate for your trip.
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Once your prescriptions are approved, we’ll send medications directly to you with fast and free shipping.
Have questions along the way? Your physician is available for chat based care before, during and after your travels.
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Hiking over 10,000 ft elevation in Colorado. Prescription from MD said to take acetazolamide prophylactically and during hike. I didn’t seem to be adversely affected during the hike and made it to the summit!
Jesse C. traveled to
Took altitude sickness medication after having terrible headaches and throwing up. Shortly after starting the medication, all my symptoms went away.
Grace M. traveled to
Taking malaria medication before going to South Africa provided my wife and me with a level of comfort that really enabled us to enjoy our 5-day safari. We felt protected the entire time we were out exploring the amazing Sabi Sands Game Reserve!
Matt S. traveled to
I took malaria medication during my trip to the Amazon Rainforest. No issues with malaria!
Sarkis A. traveled to
The motion sickness patches were very helpful since we were staying on a small sailboat; I don’t think my brother would have been able to keep a meal down if not for them.
Scott R. traveled to
Motion sickness medicine didn’t work for me until I discovered the patch!
Nadav B. traveled to
I was having the best time in Mexico until I got an awful stomach bug. Thankfully, I had brought my own medication with me so I didn’t have to deal with language barriers and a local pharmacy. After a quick recovery day, I was still able to enjoy the rest of my trip.
Carly R. traveled to
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