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Here’s How You Can Prevent Altitude Sickness with Essential Oils

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If you’re like me, you love spending time in the great outdoors. Hiking, camping, and exploring new terrain are some of my favorite things to do. But if you’re not used to high altitudes, it’s important to be prepared for potential altitude sickness. Here are a few essential oils that can help you prevent altitude sickness before your next outdoor adventure!

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What is Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness is a condition that can occur when people ascend to high altitudes too quickly. The lack of oxygen at high altitudes can cause symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. In severe cases, altitude sickness can lead to pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) or cerebral edema (fluid on the brain).

You can get altitude sickness many ways. You can get it when you are in a place that’s high up where the air is thin, like Denver. You can also get altitude sickness if you ascend to rapidly to altitudes higher than 2500 to 3000 meters.

Sometimes you can experience altitude sickness on planes! Symptoms tend to be very mild on planes though, as they are pressurized.

Altitude sickness is treated by returning to lower altitudes until symptoms improve. If you think you have altitude sickness or someone close to you has these symptoms while traveling, talk with your doctor before going on another trip.

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A picture of a dictionary page with the definition of altitude sickness

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness is a condition that can occur when someone travels to a high altitude too quickly. Be on the lookout for these symptoms if you are travelling or ascending into high altitudes:

  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increasing heart rate
  • Skin discoloration (think blue, pale, or gray)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Coughing up bloody mucus
  • Chest tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid Accumulation in the lungs
  • Fluid Accumulation in the Brain

Related Post: How to Heal the Adrenals with Essential Oils

Types of Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness is a condition that affects people who are at higher elevations. It can be very dangerous and can lead to death, so it’s important for you to know how to look out for symptoms and how to prevent it.

There are four main types of altitude sickness!

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

AMS, or Acute Mountain Sickness, generally occurs between 2500 – 3000 meters above sea level. As the body is struggling to adjust to less permissive conditions at high altitude, it starts experiencing symptoms like headache, nausea, and extreme tiredness.

Things you can do to prevent acute mountain sickness?

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Don’t over exhort yourself. Limit the duration and intensity for the first several days.
  • Use essential oils listed in the blog post

High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)

High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) is a more severe form of altitude dickness that can potentially develop from acute mountain sickness. It occurs when the brain swells with fluid, and it can be fatal.

HACE typically starts at night and is a litter harder to detect than AMS. It affects the brain and thought process. Someone with these injuries may not realize how bad he or she has become until traveling companion notice unusual behavior due to lack oxygen at higher elevations.

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)

High Altitude Pulmonary Edemas (HAPE) is also a severe form of altitude that can be potentially life threatening. It also develops after acute mountain sickness. It occurs with the lungs swell with fluid.

Chronic Mountain Sickness (CMS)

Chronic Mountain Sickness (CMS) is a condition that can occur in people who live at high altitudes for extended periods of time. Symptoms include headaches, lack of appetite, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment may include drinking plenty of fluids to reduce the risk of dehydration and breathing in steam (which increases humidity) to help moisten your airway passages.

Preventing Altitude Sickness with Essential Oils

Essential oils have many therapeutic properties that can ease the symptoms of altitude sickness and even prevent them! They can help you breathe easier, help aid in nausea, relive headaches and migraines, and improve blood circulation.

A photo showing different types of essential oils

Preventing Altitude Sickness with Essential Oils that Improve Blood Circulation

The higher you are altitude wise, the less blood flow through the body. Some essential oils help promote better blood circulation. Look for rubefacient essential oils. When applied topically, these essential oils help prevent altitude sickness by increasing circulation in the skin and muscle tissue, as well as reducing inflammation.

  • Rosemary
  • Black Pepper
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Clary Sage
  • Eucalyptus
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Clove Bud

When applying oils topically, you’ll need to blend the essential oil with a carrier oil. Essential oils are extremely potent and can cause irritation. For every 1 oz of carrier oil, use 8 drops of an essential oil.

My top carrier oils to use are

  • Coconut Oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Avocado Oil

Related Post: How to Use Essential Oils to Relieve Stress

Preventing Altitude Sickness with Essential Oils that Aid Nausea

Nausea is one of the first symptoms of altitude sickness. Use these essential oils if you are experiencing this symptom.

  • Lavender
  • Ginger
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Cardamom
  • Fennel

Preventing Altitude Sickness with Essential Oils that Improve Lung Capacity

Believe it or not, some essential oils actually help improve lung capacity.

  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Cinnamon
  • Eucalyptus
  • Thyme
  • Chamomile
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Frankincense

How to Use:

If you live in higher altitudes, use a diffuser like this one!

FAQ

How do you stop altitude sickness naturally?

Other than using essential oils to prevent altitude sickness, make sure you’re staying hydrated by drinking water, eating healthy foods and getting enough rest.

What vitamins can help with altitude sickness?

Vitamin C can help with altitude sickness because it is a powerful antioxidant. It protects the cells of the body against damage caused by free radicals. It also regenerates antioxidants like vitamin E, which can help your body adjust to thin mountain air.

Does Ginkgo Biloba help with altitude sickness?

There is some evidence that suggests Ginkgo biloba can help prevent altitude sickness. One study found that people who took Ginkgo biloba were less likely to experience altitude sickness symptoms than those who did not take the herb. Another study found that Ginkgo biloba may help improve blood circulation and oxygen supply to the brain. This could help prevent altitude sickness from occurring.

Does magnesium help with altitude sickness?

The mineral magnesium is important for a variety of bodily functions, including regulating blood pressure, sustaining normal heart rhythm, and preventing the occurrence of altitude sickness. When traveling to high altitudes, it’s important to have a sufficient intake of magnesium to offset the negative effects that can occur, such as headache, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.

Magnesium helps the body to better absorb oxygen, which is essential at high altitudes. By taking a magnesium supplement or using an aromatherapy blend with high levels of magnesium, you can help your body adjust more easily to changes in altitude and prevent the unpleasant symptoms associated with altitude sickness.

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