High-Altitude Illness | Treatment

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What should I do if I get high-altitude illness?

The best treatment for any of the 3 high-altitude illnesses is to go down to a lower altitude right away. But if you only have mild symptoms, you may be able to stay at that altitude and let your body adjust. If you do this, don't exercise at all--just rest until you feel better.

If you have severe symptoms, go down 1,500 to 2,000 feet right away to see if your symptoms get better. Keep going down until your symptoms go away completely.

Medicines that may be used to prevent or treat the symptoms of severe high-altitude illness include acetazolamide and nifedipine.

Don't ignore signs of high-altitude illness. People can die of this if they don't recognize the signs or if they don't believe their illness is caused by the high altitude. When you have signs of high-altitude illness, don't go higher until you feel better and your symptoms have gone away completely.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/00

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