Rocky Mountain High, Dry and Uncomfortable

 

mountains, sinusitis, saline rinse, saline spray, eucalyptol oil, high altitude, altitude sickness

Our family has just returned from a fabulous vacation to Colorado where we spent a few days in the Rocky Mountains.  The scenery was absolutely breathtaking and we certainly took advantage of all the area has to offer.

I’ve visited that region before but this vacation was noticeably better because I was better prepared on this trip.

Living in Florida year-round means that I’m especially susceptible to the symptoms that come with being at a high altitude.  It takes a day or so to acclimate to the seemingly lack of oxygen once you’re there. It was unnerving our first day there because it seemed as though I was always gasping for air.

The other condition that comes with the territory is the potential for sinus problems because of the high, dry environment. These include sinus pressure, congestion and bloody noses and are caused by the combination of elevation, colder weather and low humidity. Overall, your body loses water in the high elevations and you become easily dehydrated.

Knowing all of that, I packed appropriately on this trip and definitely noticed a difference:

1)      We packed reusable, plastic (BPA free) water bottles that we refilled every day and took with us wherever we went so we could always hydrate.

2)      I brought my bottle of herbal-enhanced nasal cleansing spray which rinsed out pollutants while moisturizing my nasal passages.  My spray has natural essential oils which help soothe my irritated sinus passages.  It’s not medicated so I didn’t have to worry about the side effects that come with using a decongestant and it’s easier and more convenient to use than a Neti Pot or sinus rinse

3)      Two or three times a day, after rinsing with the saline spray, I applied eucalyptol oil inside my nostrils. Our ENT had given us the bottle to try. That provided extra moisture for my nose.

I still experienced some sinus comfort, ironically, on the day we headed back to Denver (a lower elevation).  My nose was congested, itchy and bloody. I had to rinse and blow my nose a few times before feeling better. Again, the eucalyptol oil helped a lot to keep my nose moist for longer periods.

This trip was a good reminder to try to think ahead when traveling and do your research so you know what to pack. Being as prepared as we were helped ensure that we stayed healthy and could maximize enjoyment.

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