Keystone Colorado, base elevation 9,280 feet

High Altitude Living.

This document will provide tips, advice, and precautionary measures for artists and their clients who are not accustomed to high altitude. It’s the artist’s responsibility to make the out-of-area client aware of high altitude living so that everyone can have a fun, successful tattoo session and visit.
Breathing- When you’re in high altitude and your body is not accustomed to the lack of oxygen, it takes time to adjust. The average healthy person may find themselves slightly out of breath more easily, and have a greater than usual tendency to feel fatigue at an altitude higher then 6000 feet. Therefore it’s important to listen to your body, and go slowly if needed. You will have a much greater appreciation for your natural process of breathing when simply doing normal daily activities makes you breath heavier. If you have any asthma, allergies, or sleep apnea, take precautionary measures because high altitude can produce a more noticeable effect.

Altitude Sickness-  Between 6000-8000 feet it is not very common, between 8000-12000 feet  there is a small percentage of people who may be effected, and at over 12,000 feet the chances of feeling sick increase greatly. Altitude sickness usually consists of dizziness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath. In severe cases this can leave you bed ridden. If you are not accustomed to high altitude, then consider the following tips:

-Go slow to help your body compensate as successfully as possible.
-Bring plenty of fluids and drink often.
-Eat frequent carbs to provide easily accessible energy.
-Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other substances in order to allow your body to intake as much oxygen as possible.
-Don't forget about your medications for breathing and circulatory issues. Check with your doctor.
-Help regulate your body’s temperature by layering your clothing properly.

Water and Dehydration- Higher altitude means lower air pressure. Most high altitudes are very low in humidity, making the body use and perspire water faster. For example, in altitudes over 6000 feet the body will use and perspire twice as much water as it would at lower altitudes.  Remind yourself to drink more water, adding an extra quart per day. Bring a bottle whereever you go. Dehydration can cause side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, and headache. Don't mistake this for altitude sickness--just relax and sip on water. 

Dietary- A higher caloric intake is also necessary, and can help the body adjust by giving it the appropriate energy. It is proven that a higher carbohydrate diet is effective in the body's use of energy and for fighting fatigue at high altitudes.  If your diet does not consist of carbohydrates and you are not sure how your body will react to high altitude living, it is best to start taking in carbs 3-4 days ahead of your travels and during your trip. Play it safe in order to have the energy your body needs, rather than suffering from lack of energy and its resulting domino effects. 

Alcohol Intake- The effects of alcohol on the body are magnified in altitudes over 5,280 feet, or one mile. The blood absorbs alcohol quickly, interfering with the absorption of oxygen, therefore effecting the amount of oxygen that gets to your brain. It’s estimated that 1 drink at high altitude is like 3 drinks at sea level. Symptoms of high altitude sickness are increased by alcohol. People who drink should refrain from alcohol at least 48 hours before they arrive. After arrival, for every single drink of alcohol, follow it up with a pint of water. Take it slow. 

Weather- High altitude weather changes often. A drastic temperature change from day to night is common, so be prepared for the weather.  The average high for Keystone Colorado during the month of September is 64 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average low is 31 degrees.  The sun’s rays are much stronger at high altitude, so if you plan on outdoor activities remember to have sunblock handy.