Alcohol and altitude sickness don't go hand in hand. At least not in the way you think. While most people believe alcohol can help with altitude sickness, that isn't the case. In fact, it actually makes it worse.
It's something many don't consider until they're well into the experience, but altitude and liquor don't mix well. In fact, it actually makes it worse.
We'll discuss the effect of alcohol and altitude sickness, and 4 tips how to deal with it so you can avoid altitude sickness when drinking alcohol.
Altitude sickness is a temporary but often debilitating condition caused by low oxygen levels at high altitudes. It most commonly affects people who travel to higher altitudes too fast and is also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS).
These symptoms usually start 12 to 24 hours after reaching a high altitude. The risk of getting altitude sickness increases as you get closer to 8,000 feet above sea level. The higher you go, the more likely you’ll be affected. As a result, many people visiting mountainous destinations (or even just flying cross-country) will experience some form of altitude sickness.
More serious symptoms include shortness of breath upon exertion progressing to shortness of breath at rest (inability to walk more than a few steps without becoming breathless), cough (often with blood-tinged sputum), worsening headache and loss of coordination.
Being at altitude, or altitudes that are much higher than what you're used to means a lack of oxygen. This puts additional stress on your body because it needs additional oxygen to do the same things it typically does.
Add alcohol to that equation and you have a recipe for disaster! Altitude sickness is worsened in people who are dehydrated or have been drinking alcohol.
There is a strong link between drinking alcohol and altitude sickness. Ironcially, hangovers from alcohol cause similar symptoms to the body than altitude sickness, including headache, nausea and fatigue. You don't want a hangover and altitude sickness at the same time!
The body needs time to adjust to higher altitudes and sometimes this does not happen if you ascend too quickly. This can result in a shortage of oxygen at higher altitudes which can lead to altitude sickness. Alcohol can make the symptoms of altitude sickness worse because it reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood and increases the risk of dehydration.
Alcohol and altitude don't mix, but that doesn't mean you have to ditch your favorite drink altogether.
Here's our 3 tips on how to deal with alcohol and altitude sickness:
If you're going to mix alcohol and altitude, be smart as hangovers and altitude sickness can be a disastrous result! Follow our tips -- acclimate first, know your limits, and hydrate well so you can feel great during your high altitude trip.
Want to supplement to help you have drinks on your high altitude trip? Try Zaca's hydration + liver aid chewables today.
1. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione