The mountains offer stunning views and great recreational opportunities to enjoy, but if you're not used to the elevation, your dream vacation can quickly turn into a nightmare. The lack of oxygen at higher elevations can trigger unpleasant physiological responses in your body, which can make you feel like you have the flu. In severe cases, the effects may even turn deadly. This condition is known as altitude sickness, and learning how to prevent it is an important part of vacation planning.
Altitude sickness comes in several forms. The most common is known as acute mountain sickness, and it is generally fairly mild. It might ruin your hike or make you take a few days off, but you should recover quickly. However, if it progresses, it can turn into high-altitude cerebral edema, or HACE, where fluid accumulates around your brain. High-altitude pulmonary edema, or HAPE, is a similar condition that affects the lungs. Both HACE and HAPE require immediate medical attention.
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