Altitude sickness is usually only a minor problem for most people, and most European resorts are too low for it to be a serious issue. However, if you are unfit or suffer from low blood pressure, you may experience some of the common symptoms related to staying at altitude including:
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms generally wear off within 48 hours. If not, you should see a doctor. The problem is more common when visiting American resorts. Some are much higher than those in Europe (approaching 3000m, whereas few resorts in Europe are over 2000m) which means that the risk of altitude sickness is much greater. The air pressure at 2900m is 70% of that at sea level - effectively starving your body of a significant amount of oxygen.
Ideally, you should avoid travelling directly to super-high resorts - if visiting Colorado, a night or two in Denver (1600m) might help - but this is not always possible, so it is important to take certain precautions:
- Don't over-exert yourself on your first few days
- Drink more water than usual and avoid too much salt intake
- Reduce alcohol intake - this has a greater effect at altitude
- Eat food that is high in carbohydrates: grains, pasta, fruit and vegetables