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Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness occurs when people go to a higher altitude too quickly and do not get enough oxygen in the air they breathe. Common symptoms include having a headache and not feeling like eating.

Altitude sickness most often occurs at altitudes above 8000 ft (2438 m). In mild cases, the symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medicine, but the best way to treat altitude sickness is to go to a lower altitude quickly.

Altitude sickness can be deadly. People with symptoms should not go to a higher altitude until the symptoms are gone. Symptoms of confusion, feeling faint, or not being able to walk in a straight line mean the condition is life-threatening.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Last Revised March 29, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.