Children may suffer mild altitude sickness

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Otherwise healthy older children and adolescents who visit high-altitude destinations may develop acute mountain sickness in the first few days after they arrive, results of a study indicate.

Their symptoms are apt to be relatively mild - mainly headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness and trouble sleeping - and will resolve rapidly, the study team reports in the journal Pediatrics.

Travel to high-altitude destinations has become increasingly popular, yet there is little information about acute mountain sickness in children and adolescents, Dr. Jonathan Bloch from University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland and colleagues point out.

To investigate, they followed 48 healthy Swiss children for several days after they arrived at the Jungfraujoch high-altitude research station. To get to the station, the 20 girls and 28 boys, whose average age was 14 years, ascended by train from 568 meters to 3450 meters, “an altitude at which major tourist destinations are located throughout the world,” the investigators note. None of the children had previous high-altitude experience.

Overall, 37.5 percent of the children came down with acute mountain sickness in the first 3 days at high altitude, Bloch and colleagues report. The rates were similar between boys and girls.

Two thirds of the children with acute mountain sickness developed symptoms during the first few hours at high-altitude. Symptoms decreased progressively during the next 2 days as the children became acclimatized.

The symptoms of acute mountain sickness were relatively mild, and most resolved without treatment. None of the children with acute mountain sickness had to be evacuated to a lower altitude.

These data, Bloch and colleagues say, indicate that, for children and adolescents with no previous high-altitude experience, symptoms of acute mountain sickness are self-limited and will last for only a short period of time.

Giving children drugs to prevent acute mountain sickness, which may have significant adverse effects, “is not needed,” they conclude. The use of drug therapy should be restricted to the treatment of symptoms (mainly headache) if they appear, the researchers advise.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, January 2009.


Related Posts:

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A brain swelling condition related to low oxygen levels in the air may have caused many of the deaths of people climbing Mount Everest, researchers said on Tuesday. An international team led by Paul Firth of Massachusetts General Hospital studied the 212 reported deaths from 1921 to 2006 on Mount Everest,

Full Post: Brain swelling blamed in many Mount Everest deaths

By Michael Kahn LONDON (Reuters) - A team of British doctors conducting experiments in the “Death Zone” of Mount Everest has recorded the lowest levels of blood oxygen in humans, far below those of critically ill patients. The findings published on Wednesday could one day lead to better care for patients with heart and lung ailments in

Full Post: Low blood oxygen on Everest offers treatment hope

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - School nurses can help older children and adolescents with poorly controlled type 1, or “insulin dependent,” diabetes better manage their blood sugar during the school day, research suggests. In a pilot study lasting 3 months, researchers found that nurse-supervised blood sugar monitoring, insulin injections at lunch and periodic insulin dose adjustment

Full Post: School nurses help kids control diabetes

By Joene Hendry NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Living in a stressful household may raise a child’s risk of becoming obese, according to findings from a study of Swedish families. Compared with 5- to 6-year-old children living in families with low stress levels, age-matched children from “high-stress” families had about twice the risk for obesity, the study

Full Post: Family stress may make kids fat: study

By Will Boggs, MD NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Protection against hepatitis B appears to drop off in adolescents who got the hepatitis B vaccine beginning at birth, according to a new report. Dr. Stephanie R. Bialek from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues evaluated the occurrence of breakthrough infections and

Full Post: Hepatitis B vaccine protection may wane in teens

Site Navigation

Most Read