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Altitude can be a breathtaking experience, quite literally. Whether you're a mountain enthusiast, an avid hiker, or simply someone who enjoys a scenic getaway to high-altitude destinations, the reduced oxygen levels at higher elevations can present a challenge to your body. Big Sky is one such destination, with elevations reaching over 11,000 feet above mean sea level (amsl). 

Lodging in Big Sky ranges from 6,000 feet amsl (Canyon Village), to over 8,000 feet amsl (Moonlight Basin)! Thankfully, oxygen therapy offers a solution that allows you to enjoy these places while minimizing the effects of altitude sickness. Below, we'll dive into the science behind altitude-related challenges and the benefits of oxygen therapy in overcoming them.

Understanding Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a condition that can affect individuals when they ascend to higher altitudes too quickly. The primary cause of AMS is the decrease in oxygen pressure and partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) at higher elevations. This reduction in oxygen availability can lead to various symptoms, including:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disturbances

AMS can range from mild discomfort to severe, life-threatening conditions such as high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE). These conditions demand immediate medical attention and, in some cases, a rapid descent to lower altitudes.

Be safe! If you experience symptoms including: disorientation, loss of balance, difficulty breathing even while resting please seek medical attention.

The Role of Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy involves inhaling supplemental oxygen to compensate for the reduced oxygen levels at higher altitudes. It can significantly alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness and enhance your comfort and safety when exploring high-altitude regions. Here's how oxygen therapy can benefit you at high elevations:

  • Relieves Hypoxia: Hypoxia is a condition characterized by insufficient oxygen supply to the body's cells and tissues. Oxygen therapy combats hypoxia by increasing the oxygen concentration in the bloodstream, providing relief from symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

  • Alleviates Headaches: Headaches are a common symptom of AMS, often caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the brain due to decreased oxygen levels. Oxygen therapy helps constrict these vessels, reducing headache severity.

  • Enhances Physical Performance: Higher oxygen levels improve physical endurance and stamina, making activities such as hiking, mountaineering, and skiing, more enjoyable and less taxing on the body.  

  • Speeds Up Acclimatization: Oxygen therapy can accelerate the acclimatization process, allowing your body to adjust to the lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes more quickly and comfortably.

  • Minimizes the Risk of Severe Complications: By preventing AMS from progressing into HAPE or HACE, oxygen therapy can save lives in extreme cases.

Oxygen Concentrators: Reset is Here to Help You Take Advantage of Your Big Sky Experience

Reset Big Sky offers oxygen therapy via portable oxygen concentrators. We offer on-site use, or the option to have a concentrator delivered to the comfort of your home, rental, or other lodging.

An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that is used to deliver a steady and concentrated supply of oxygen. It works by taking in the surrounding air and removing nitrogen from it, leaving behind a higher concentration of oxygen, which can then be delivered to the individual.

If you opt for an in-home delivery, we supply all the materials required as well as step-by-step instructions for setup. A video tutorial is also available on our website.

Altitude should never deter you from exploring the wonders of Big Sky. Oxygen therapy serves as a valuable tool in mitigating the effects of altitude sickness, allowing you to enjoy your mountain.