Children & Altitude
Do Children get AMS?
A child with High Altitude Pulmonary EdemaChildren get the same symptoms of altitude illness as adults, and have the same incidence of AMS. Children are not more likely to develop acute mountain sickness or pulmonary edema than are adults. However, young children cannot communicate their symptoms well and there is some concern altitude illness may be under diagnosed in this group. AMS in young children may present as any of the following;
- fussiness and irritability
- increased crying
- food refusal
- lack of energy, or increased sleepiness
How do I prevent AMS in my child?
The same principles of prevention in adults apply to children.
- Slow ascent, such as spending a night in Denver or an intermediate altitude significantly reduces your child's chance of AMS.
- Restricting activity on the first day or two will aide in preventing symptoms
- Ibuprofen or Tylenol will prevent headache
- Children may also take Diamox® to prevent AMS. Special pediatric dosing of 3-5mg/kg per day applies for children.
How is AMS treated in children?
Mild symptoms can be treated with rest, Tylenol®, or ibuprofen. Children that seem sicker should be taken to a physician for medical care. Treatment is similar to adults and includes oxygen, Diamox®, dexamethasone, or mediations for nausea and vomiting.
What about HAPE in children?
Children can get HAPE, just as adults do., Children who live at high altitude seem to get reentry HAPE more easily than adults.
What is reentry HAPE?
Reentry HAPE occurs when residents of high altitude leave for a period of time and upon returning to their high altitude home get HAPE. It may occur within 24 hours after return to high altitude and is diagnosed and treated the same as regular HAPE.