How to Survive in High Altitude Cities

Traveling to high altitude cities can cause havoc on your body. High altitude is defined as 8,000 to 12,000 feet or 2,438 to 3,658m above sea level. The thinner air at high altitudes can make it more difficult to breathe, as well as cause headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, nose bleeds, lack of appetite, swelling of hands, face and feet and diarrhea. None of these symptoms should be ignored. Learning how to survive in high altitude cities can save your life.


    • 1

      Rest. Make sure to take it easy the day you arrive so that your body can get used to the higher altitude.

    • 2

      Ask your doctor or pharmacist for an altitude sickness medication like Diamox. Diamox helps you breathe faster so you can take in more air. Diamox takes a while to be effective. Start taking Diamox 24 hours before you go to a high altitude city and continue for at least five days at the higher altitude.

    • 3

      Drink water, not alcohol or caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate your system already depleted of fluids due to the acclimatization process. Drink lots of water to remain hydrated.

    • 4

      Do not eat unknown foods in great amounts upon your arrival or at the beginning of your trip.

    • 5

      Sleep in a semi-elevated position until your body gets accustomed to the altitude.

    • 6

      Get 70 percent or more of your calories from carbohydrates. Living and exercising at high altitude can lead to rapid weight and muscle loss. The longer you spend in an oxygen-reduced environment and the higher up you go will cause more dramatic loss. Carbohydrates help maintain weight and muscle by preventing proteins from being burned as energy. They also require less oxygen for metabolism.

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