August 10th, 2010
Most folks who travel high are rightly concerned about altitude illness. Here are some new resources for you. You can download the Wilderness Medical Society Consensus Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Acute Altitude Illness for free. This contains the latest medical recommendations (though in real life one might vary from some of these recommended approaches, but I’m not a doctor and can’t give medical advice). Anyway, lots of good info here.
So you’re at altitude and you feel lousy–do you have altitude illness? To help diagnose acute mountain sickness (AMS), physicians and researchers have developed numerical scoring systems which use your symptoms and the observations of others. These are known as the Lake Louise Consensus Scoring Systems (the name will help you to search for more info). I included a version for both adults and children in the book, and have finally formatted them for easier use in real life. You can download the adult version and the child version from my home page.
Keep in mind that there are two other important types of altitude illness: high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). These scoring systems don’t diagnose these serious illnesses, so make sure you read Chapter 5 to become familiar with them.