Crested Butte Altitude Sickness and Oxygen Rentals – Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Risk Factors for Altitude Sickness?
- Living below 3,300feet
- Fast rate of ascent to altitude
- Past History of Altitude Sickness
- Physical Exertion at Altitude
- Pre-existing respiratory condition
What Percent of Visitors are Affected by Altitude Sickness in Crested Butte?
Believe it or not 40% of visitors will have some symptoms of Altitude Sickness when visiting Crested Butte.
How Soon will Altitude Sickness Affect Someone After Arriving?
Typically symptoms for Altitude Sickness will begin to appear 6 hours or so after arrival at altitude – however, in some instances symptoms can appear up to 1-2 days after arrival.
My parents/grandparents or friends are visiting Crested Butte and had some trouble with altitude the last time they were here. Should I get them oxygen?
Absolutely! Altitude Sickness can set in quickly and can take days to recover from, even with supplemental oxygen. It is always best to use oxygen as soon as they arrive.
I have been coming to Crested Butte for years, and have never had a problem with Altitude Sickness until last time; does that mean I will get it again?
There is no way of knowing. Altitude Sickness, or Acute Mountain Sickness, can affect anyone at anytime regardless of age or physical condition. Better safe than sick!
Is oxygen addictive?
Yes and no. “You can’t live without oxygen!” Using supplemental oxygen is not going to force you to want to be on it all the time, unless you have a medical condition that requires it.
How long should you use the oxygen concentrator?
It is best to use supplemental oxygen as soon as you arrive at your high altitude destination for 20 minutes or more, when you sleep, and as symptoms dictate. In other words, “If you are feeling bad, use the oxygen.” In most cases patients sleep with oxygen, then go skiing or hiking the next day and after a while may start to feel the effects of high altitude again. They just go back and use the oxygen until they feel better, repeating this process until the end of their visit and they descend. Sometimes 20 minutes is all they need. High Altitude Sickness can return even after a couple of days use. It is not wise to use supplemental oxygen for a while, and then hope for the best.
Can you get too much oxygen?
Not at high altitude. Oxygen poisoning or toxicity is unheard of when using concentrators; they only produce “at the most 95% oxygen”, and have never been known to harm anyone with normal use. Concentrators are the safest way to receive supplemental oxygen.
Will Alpine Oxygen pick up and deliver oxygen concentrators?
Yes, and in most cases without any additional charge.
Does Coffee Make Altitude Sickness Worse?
If you drink a cup of coffee every day at home then you should continue drinking coffee at altitude. Caffeine is proven to prevent headaches if you use it regularly. Stopping your caffeine intake at altitude will most-likely result in Caffeine withdrawal and can aggravate altitude sickness. If you are not a coffee drinker – DO NOT START at altitude.
What is the difference between a non-rebreathing mask and a nasal cannula?
A non-rebreathing mask is a mask that goes over your nose and mouth and has a bag attached. The concentrator fills the bag with oxygen and you breathe it in. When you exhale, you do so through two valves on top of the mask while another valve closes and the concentrator refills the bag. The purpose is to receive a high dose of oxygen without rebreathing the exhaled carbon dioxide. This method is the preferred for most Emergency Medical Personnel, and with performers that just want a “quick hit” before going on stage.
Nasal cannulas are small nasal prongs with a hose that fit in your nose and wrap around your ears. They are lighter than masks and allow for more comfort and better mobility for longer periods of oxygen therapy, such as when you are sleeping. Until recently, delivering high concentrations of oxygen through nasal cannulas was not possible. We now offer high-flow nasal cannulas in lengths up to 50 feet, so the patient can get the oxygen they need and be mobile.
We will give you both a mask a cannula in seven foot lengths with your rental. Longer lengths can be purchased separately.
Can you oxygenate my house or apartment like they do in the Las Vegas casinos so I don’t have to use a mask or a cannula?
That is a myth; the only way the oxygen percentage in the air can be raised is in a hyperbaric setting.
Can Alpine Oxygen accommodate children?
Yes. We carry pediatric masks and nasal cannulas.
How might I use Oxygen with my sleep apnea machine?
Sleep Apnea is becoming more and more diagnosed and requires a CPAP machine that helps individuals to breathe better when they sleep. Since there is a mask for the nose or mouth, or both, we found a way to attach our concentrators to the machines with a pressure line adapter. This gives you the best of both worlds.
Can I Try a Concentrator before Buying One?
Yes, if you rent a unit for a week and decide you want to purchase one, we will apply the rental cost to the purchase price.