Altitude/Mountain Sickness Treatment
Mild altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness:
Symptoms may include:
Recommended Related to First Aid
Is unconscious or not breathing
Is gasping for breath
Can't cry or talk because of breathing trouble
Grunts when breathing
Has blue lips
May have a small object caught in her throat
Is breathing very fast (this is also a symptom of fever)
Looks very sick
Read the Coughs article > >
Severe altitude sickness, high-altitude pulmonary
edema (HAPE) or high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE):
Symptoms may also include:
Shortness of breath at rest, fast
heart beat, dry cough, pink frothy phlegm or sputum, or crackling sound in lungs (HAPE) Severe
headache, altered vision, disorientation, hallucinations, seizures, and coma (HACE)
1. Descend to Lower Altitude
For mild symptoms, the person may be able to stay at current altitude to see if his or her body adjusts. If symptoms get worse, the person should go down to a lower altitude.
For severe symptoms, the person should immediately be taken down 1,500 to 2,000 feet with as little exertion as possible. Keep going down until symptoms go away.
Even if symptoms are mild, the person should not go any higher in altitude until symptoms are completely gone.
2. Treat Symptoms
Give oxygen, if available.
Keep the person warm and have him or her rest.
3. See a Health Care Provider
If mild symptoms don't get better after several days at lower altitude or if the person still has symptoms after descent, call a
health care provider.
For severe symptoms, the person should see a doctor as soon as possible, even if symptoms go away after descent.