Sunday, January 28, 2007

Altitude Sickness

The weekend was lovely -- although I don't think my company is going to be holding any more all-company meetings at altitude. Quite a few of the Chicago folks were affected by altitude sickness, a few serious enough to make them very, very sick. A couple of people left early, and some didn't come to the dinner because they were ill.

It's a big enough issue for those of us from the foothills -- going from 5K to 10K makes most of us suck wind when we have to do anything remotely physical. Coming from sea level can be a serious problem if you don't have time to acclimate. It can also lead to very serious (even fatal) complications in a small percentage of people (1-2%). We think of it as something that affects climbers of Everest, but it can hit people at altitudes as low as 6000 feet. I remember it took weeks to get acclimated to Denver (5280ft) after living in Georgia (~ 0 ft).

We sent out a couple of email messages about how to deal with altitude sickness (drink lots of water, avoid alcohol and caffeine, take it easy) - but the sales group was here a day early and -- as sales groups are wont to do -- they apparently had a bit too much fun at the bar after the meetings, and most of them were quite ill. Alcohol hits you hard when you're at near 10K, you should drink less, and for every alcoholic drink make sure you also drink water. Otherwise, the hangover is super-bad. They sent out a reminder about altitude sickness after that.

No comments: