You’re all ready for your Jackson Hole vacation—your hotel is booked, your itinerary is set, and you’ve packed everything you need for an epic getaway. You might be certain that you’ve thought of everything, until you arrive in Wyoming and feel absolutely miserable. Is it the flu? A stomach bug? It’s likely altitude sickness, but there are some steps you can take to limit its effects so you can still enjoy your trip.
What Causes Altitude Sickness in Jackson Hole
The altitude on the valley floor in the Jackson Hole area is 6,300 feet above sea level, which most people have no trouble adapting to. That said, if you have pre-existing conditions involving your heart or lungs, you may experience altitude sickness. Where most people have trouble is in areas with higher altitudes—visiting mountains for climbing or skiing or even Yellowstone National Park, which is on a plateau that is higher than the elevation in Jackson Hole.
Altitude sickness occurs when you have trouble adjusting to the lower oxygen pressure at higher altitudes. For most people, altitude sickness develops anywhere from 6 to 24 hours after reaching a higher altitude than they’re used to and it typically subsides within 3 days.
Symptoms of Altitude Sickness
When you have altitude sickness, you might feel as if you have a hangover. You’ll experience nausea, fatigue, and headaches. Because of the lower levels of oxygen available at higher altitudes, you may also have some shortness of breath. These symptoms are worse the higher your elevation and the more you exert yourself.
If you’ve suffered altitude sickness in the past or you’ve never been to a higher altitude area and aren’t sure how your body will react, don’t plan on going to the mountains until at least a day after you’ve landed in Jackson Hole. This will give your body some time to adjust. During this time, plan on some activities in the valley, like a Snake River scenic float trip.
How to Prevent and Treat Altitude Sickness
For most visitors, altitude sickness isn’t serious and doesn’t have any negative impact on their Jackson Hole vacation, but it does have the potential to be serious. Here are some precautions to take to protect yourself:
- Stay hydrated. Bring a bottle of water with you wherever you go and sip from it throughout the day.
- Don’t drink alcohol until you’ve adapted to the altitude. Alcohol can exacerbate your altitude sickness symptoms, making you feel worse.
- Allow your body to acclimate to higher elevations. Don’t climb a mountain the day you arrive in Jackson Hole. Let your body slowly adapt; avoid too much physical activity and high elevations for the first day or two of your vacation.
If you follow these steps and your altitude sickness doesn’t go away after a few days or if your symptoms are severe, don’t hesitate to see a doctor. The symptoms of altitude sickness are symptoms you can experience with a number of other health issues, so it’s a good idea to get checked out to make sure nothing more serious is going on.
Learn More About Jackson Hole Vacations
If you’d like to book a whitewater rafting trip or scenic float trip in Jackson Hole, contact us today at 307-733-1000.