Being afraid of height (whether during a plane trip or escalading a mountain) is a serious problem that affects many persons and can have severe if not fatal repercussions on the respective person. The sickness is provoked by the lack of oxygen.
The easiest manifestation of height sickness can appear at altitudes of 2000 meters and it will manifest itself through headaches, dizziness, and incapability of movement. These symptoms will disappear in a few days if you continue staying at that height.
The most severe sensations of height sickness appear at extremely high altitudes usually over 3000 meters in altitude. Next to the symptoms already mentioned, others can appear like: loosing appetite, sleep disorders and waking up frequently in the middle of the night. The difficulty that can be encountered when breathing, stomach sickness, temporary losses of memory, encountering difficulty when trying to concentrate are amongst the most common and severe symptoms that solicit an immediate change of altitude.
Who are the ones most likely to be afraid of heights?
There is no way to predict who is going to be height sick. Surprisingly, older people, people with low physical activity and poor health are not more affected by the height sickness than other persons. This also means that if you never encountered this problem until now you can’t be sure that you won’t feel sick next time you take a trip by plane or climb a mountain.
How can this be avoided?
The best solution to avoid this sensation in the mountains is to climb slowly until you get to the destination, and to climb in such a way that the whole process is going to take at least a few days. In case of a plane flight, ask the advice of the physician about the medication you can take to stop the alternative of being plane sick.
It is extremely important to drink as much water as you can possibly drink to avoid deshidratation, a factor that can make the sensation of sick worse. A big quantity of water is lost when you are at low temperatures, but also when you are involved in activities that require a great effort, like winter sports.