news_iconWorking at High Altitude

The onset of mountain sickness can be sudden or gradual. Everyone who ascends to the summit of Mauna Kea feels it in the form of mild headaches, shortage of breath, nausea, fatigue, loss of memory, lack of concentration, lack of appetite and inablility to get to sleep. While these symptoms never go away they will become lighter as the body adjusts itself to the lower levels of oxygen present in the air at high altitudes. If a person is unlucky they can experience some of the more severe symptoms, some of which include death from fluid buildup in the lungs and brain. The only cure for mountain sickness an immediate descent to sea level.

To prevent loss of life due to altitude sickness, telescope personal have been trained to spot the more severe symptoms and have the athority to remove an observer from the summit. While they may catch some cases of mountain sickness before they result in death they cannot catch them all and it is the observer's job to be well informed of the symptoms and safe ways of alleviating them so they can stay through their run. Also the observer should be aware of the symptoms which may signal a turn for the worse so they can inform somebody and get off the summit safely.

The articles below should answer most of the queries you may have about mountain sickness and how to avoid some of the more severe symptoms. If you have questions or suggestions email Liz Bryson.

The Keck observatory too has put together some information about mountain sickness. They bring up hypoxia, the deficience of oxygen in the air, and explain how the symptoms of hypoxia can lead to AMS. Again this information is very relevent to the observers seeking to use CFH's telescope. A collection of information about Diamox and other drugs used to control high altitude symptoms. This is a collection of letters and posts to newsgroups and is a little difficult to look through if you are trying to find one thing. But it does contain information on how drugs like Diamox work to prevent mountain sickness, in addition to discussions on ohter drug options. Provides information on prevention, recognition, and treatment of altitude illness, and other health issues affecting travelers to high mountainous regions of the world.
An altitude tutorial : Normal Acclimatization, Acute Mountain Sickness, High Altitude Cerebral Edema, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, Treating AMS, Prevention, The Golden Rules.