Can you get altitude sickness in Switzerland? 9 more tips to avoid it | travel to switzerland (2023)

you can getVertigowhen you go up fast, especially when it's more than2.400 Metro.The oxygen content remains the same at altitude. However, the higher you go, the lower the atmospheric pressure, so you breathe less oxygen. It will take you some time to get used to the high altitude if you are not used to it.

Happily,Below 2,400 meters, most people do not suffer from altitude sickness.. More specifically, up to around 1,500 meters above sea level, most people won't notice any difference. If you are not used to the altitude, you will find it more difficult to breathe between 5,000 and 8,000 feet.

In general, people who live at sea level (think New York or London) are more prone to altitude sickness than people who live at high altitudes (think Colorado, Mexico City, Johannesburg). Because people who live at high altitudes are already used to the pressure.

There are a few steps you should take before venturing to high altitudes if you have never been there, to ensure your safety and enjoyment.knowledge and preparationit can mean the difference between a safe and enjoyable walk (or trek) at altitude or a complete headache that can lead to a medical evacuation.

In this article we will examine whetherVertigois possible in theSwissYWhat can you do to avoid it?

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1 Can you get altitude sickness in Switzerland?

1.1 Altitude and dehydration

1.2 Altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness

1.3 High altitude cerebral edema

1.4 High altitude pulmonary edema

1.5 Altitude sickness in Switzerland

(Video) JUNGFRAUJOCH, SWITZERLAND: Complete Guide to the Top of Europe | Highest Railway Station in Europe

1.6 Prevalence study of acute mountain sickness

1.7 9 tips to prevent altitude sickness

(Video) 🔴 How to Avoid Altitude Sickness - LIVE

Two final words: altitude sickness in Switzerland

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Can you get altitude sickness in Switzerland?

Can you get altitude sickness in Switzerland? 9 more tips to avoid it | travel to switzerland (1)

Most of the world's top destinations are almost at sea level. Paris is 28 meters above sea level, New York 10 meters and Lisbon 2 meters, practically at sea level.

Switzerland is generally mountainous, but not everywhere it exceeds 2,000 meters. Zurich is only 408 meters high, Geneva 370 meters high and Basel 244 meters high. However, the Swiss Alps are higher. Zermatt, for its part, is located at 1,608 meters above sea level and St. Moritz at 1,822 meters.

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Altitude sickness can occur above 8,000 feet (2,400 meters), although most people will not experience it.

All non-acclimatized travelers, including children, are potentially susceptible to altitude sickness, which is affected by level of training, rate of ascent, altitude reached, humidity, oxygen and atmospheric pressure, air and individual sensitivity.

HayNOspecific factors such as age, gender or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness. Some people get it and some don't, and some people are more susceptible than others.

Rick Curtis, Director, Outdoor Action Program

height and dehydration

Can you get altitude sickness in Switzerland? 9 more tips to avoid it | travel to switzerland (2)

Altitude, dry air, cold, and not drinking enough fluids can lead to dehydration, which can worsen altitude disorders. Dehydration itself is more common at high altitudes and can worsen altitude sickness symptoms.

When traveling at high altitudes, be alert for symptoms and allow adequate time to acclimatize. As you ascend to higher altitudes, your body needs time to adjust.

Altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness

When we say altitude sickness, we meanAcute mountain sickness (AMS).
Acute mountain sickness (AMS) causes the following problems:

  • Headache
  • fatigue
  • Appetitverlust
  • nausea
  • To vomit
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • sleep disorders

Acute mountain sickness can start two hours after reaching the maximum height. This usually happens six to twelve hours after the ascent.

Travelers who don't rest and insist on hiking or skiing at the first sign of altitude sickness are at the highest risk of developing HACE or HAPE.

high altitude cerebral edema

DOES (Höhenhirnödem)is when thethe brain swellsof the physiological effects of travel to high altitudes. It usually occurs in patients with acute mountain sickness and involves nausea, disorientation, and lethargy. If you go to high altitudes and your body doesn't acclimatize, you can get it.

The symptoms of HACE are similar to altitude sickness; However, patients will also experience extreme lethargy, confusion, drowsiness, and ataxia.

HACE occurs in 0.5% to 1% of people who climb or walk between 4,000 and 5,000 meters. It doesn't usually happen until a person spends 48 hours at an altitude of 4,000 meters. Some expeditions had up to 30% of their members achieving it. In rare cases it has developed up to 2,500 meters.


Neben DOES,HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema)it is a life-threatening condition that needs to be treated immediately as it can be fatal if left untreated. As its name suggests, high-altitude pulmonary edema is alife threatening mannerVonnoncardiogenic pulmonary edemathis typically occurs at elevations above 2,500 meters (8,200 ft). However, cases have also been reported between 1,500 and 2,500 meters.

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Altitude sickness in Switzerland

Ski areas in Switzerland are usually at an altitude of 2,000 to 3,000 meters. At 3,000 meters, the partial pressure of oxygen is approximately 70% of that at sea level. At higher altitudes, the contraction of oxygen causes the body's capillaries to expand and fluid to leak out before acclimatization. The high altitude can be so severe for some people that they end up in the emergency room if they are not careful.

You can definitely get altitude sickness in Switzerland. But altitude sickness can usually be avoided with gradual climbing or walking and frequent rest days.

If you're staying in high altitude places like St Moritz and Zermatt and your body isn't used to it, why not take a rest day somewhere at a lower altitude on the days before? It is a good rule not to sleep above 300 meters per night and not to climb more than 1,000 meters per day.

If you develop headache, confusion, disorientation, loss of consciousness, or nausea, especially at high altitudes, you should descend. If you catch symptoms early, you can lower the level until you feel fine.

Acute mountain sickness prevalence study

Can you get altitude sickness in Switzerland? 9 more tips to avoid it | travel to switzerland (3)

There was a study that was published in thebritish medical journaljustifiedPrevalence of acute mountain sickness in the Swiss Alps.This study examined how common acute mountain sickness is in people sleeping in different mountain huts at different altitudes. Severe headaches, vomiting, dizziness, and tachypnoea were some of the symptoms and signs associated with acute mountain sickness.

The study found that men and women seemed to be equally affected. It really can happen to anyone.

The study makes it quite clear that acute mountain sickness is more common the higher the altitude.

HeightPrevalence of acute mountain sickness
2.850 metros9%
3.050 metros13%
3.650 metros34%
4.559 metros53%

In fact, more than half of the group at more than 4,000 meters suffered from acute mountain sickness. At 4,559 m, 11 climbers developed high-altitude pulmonary edema or cerebral edema or both.

At medium altitudes, that is, above 3,500 to 4,000 meters, acute mountain sickness is not uncommon. Patients experiencing severe headache, vomiting, dizziness, and/or tachypnea should descend to lower altitudes immediately.

9 tips to prevent altitude sickness

  1. When traveling in the mountains, the rule of thumb is to treat headache, dizziness or vomiting as altitude sickness until proven otherwise. As soon as you suspect you have it, take steps to make sure it doesn't get worse.
  2. Make sure you understand what altitude sickness is before you embark on a mountain hike, especially in Valais where the mountains are high. You can also hire an experienced guide.
  3. Do not drive directly from the airport to the Swiss Alps. Let your body get used to the new surroundings by spending the night in one of the nearby towns.
  4. Previous maladaptation and rapid ascent to high altitudes can cause altitude sickness. You can reduce your risk of illness at high altitudes by giving your body time to adjust to the lack of oxygen.
  5. Anyone at risk of altitude sickness should not climb more than 1,000 meters in altitude per day.
  6. If you feel bad at the height, don't go any higher. If it does not improve, descend to a lower altitude of at least 300 meters.
  7. Do not drink alcohol or take tranquilizers for the first few days. Also, be sure to drink enough fluids.
  8. HACE and HAPE, although extremely rare, can be fatal. Although the prevalence is statistically up to 1% in climbers between 4,000 and 5,000 meters, it can still occur. Descend quickly if you suspect someone in the group has developed HACE or HAPE at high altitude.
  9. Diamox (acetazolamide) is the only altitude sickness remedy proven to prevent altitude sickness and help your body adapt to high altitudes. You should take it if you expect to climb more than 3,000 meters quickly.

Last word: altitude sickness in Switzerland

If you wonder if you can get itVertigoin switzerland is my answerProbably notUnless you drive high in the Alps. If you are staying in one of the Swiss cities or low-lying towns, you should be fine. You can also try higher mountains after reaching 2,000-3,000 meters for a few days and you will be fine.

if you go to onehigh altitudedistance, especially one over 3,500 to 4,000 meters, so yes,Could get altitude sickness without proper acclimatization. There is a possibility that you may experience headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty sleeping.

You won't hurt yourself if you don't go higher. The chance of contracting HACE or HAPE is very low (1% or less), but it can be fatal. So be careful when you go to the mountains.

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How can I prevent altitude sickness in Switzerland? ›

Acclimatizing to high altitudes:

A gradual ascent to high altitude over a few days is ideal. If this is not possible, make sure to allow extra time to acclimatize: 1 day for every 1,000m / 3,280ft. Avoid strenuous exercise for the first two days and avoid all alcoholic beverages for the first few days.

Is altitude sickness a problem in Switzerland? ›

Since an estimated 150,000 people are active in the Swiss Alps in high-altitude mountaineering each year, numerous alpinists there should be at risk of developing the severest forms of high-altitude sickness including high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) and high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) [1,2,3,4,5].

What can I take to prevent altitude sickness? ›

Treating altitude sickness
  1. stop and rest where you are.
  2. do not go any higher for at least 24 to 48 hours.
  3. if you have a headache, take ibuprofen or paracetamol.
  4. if you feel sick, take an anti-sickness medicine, such as promethazine.
  5. make sure you're drinking enough water.
  6. do not smoke, drink alcohol, or exercise.

Is Switzerland considered high altitude? ›

Switzerland lies at an average elevation of 1350 m above sea level and is therefore one of the highest countries in the world. The highest mountain peak (Dufourspitze) is at 4,634 meters. There is no access to the open sea.

What is the fastest way to cure altitude sickness? ›

High-altitude areas have low humidity which keeps the air dry, so you should drink twice as much water as you're used to, Dr. Choi says. Also, eat more carbohydrates. Carbs can reduce acute mountain sickness because they require less oxygen than fats for digestion.

Can you take Advil to prevent altitude sickness? ›

They add: “We suggest that availability alone makes ibuprofen an appealing drug for individuals who travel to high altitudes. In addition, ibuprofen was effective when taken six hours before ascent, in contrast to acetazolamide, whose recommendations include that it be started the day before travel to high altitude.”

What adaptor do I need for Switzerland? ›

Switzerland uses type C (2-pin) and Type J (3-pin) plugs. (Type C 2-pin plugs also fit J sockets.) Most power sockets are designed for three pin round plugs. The standard continental type plug with two round pins, applied for many electrical travel products, may be used without problem.

Who suffers most in altitude sickness? ›

Ascending to heights greater than 2,500 m can trigger a range of symptoms including headache and vomiting. Men are at greater risk of altitude sickness than women, for reasons unknown.

How worried should I be about altitude sickness? ›

In rare cases, altitude sickness can be life-threatening. If you develop HAPE or HACE, you are at risk for complications such as coma or even death. Get treatment as soon as possible to reduce your risk.

What foods help with altitude sickness? ›

Carbohydrate is also your body's preferred energy source, especially at high altitudes. Researchers recommend at least 60% of your intake be from carbohydrates. This can be done by eating foods and drinking fluids that contain carbs.
Sources of carbohydrates:
  • Bread.
  • Pasta.
  • Fruit.
  • Potatoes.
  • Milk.
  • Rice.
  • Quinoa.
  • Tortillas.

What is the best medication for altitude sickness? ›

Your doctor may recommend dexamethasone to treat altitude sickness. Take it as directed. Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve).

What is the fastest way to adjust to high altitude? ›

  1. Drink Lots of Water. As you gain altitude, your body tends to lose water and salt faster than you're used to. ...
  2. Reduce Your Exercise. ...
  3. Get Enough Sleep. ...
  4. Limit Your Alcohol Intake. ...
  5. Increase Your Potassium Levels. ...
  6. Protect Yourself From the Sun. ...
  7. Consume More Calories. ...
  8. Consider Taking Acetazolamide.
Mar 21, 2017

When is the best time to travel to Switzerland? ›

Generally, the best time to visit Switzerland is in the spring/early summer and in the early fall, April through June or September and October. This is when you're unlikely to battle thick tourist crowds and enjoy some of the most pleasant weather.

What town in Switzerland has the highest elevation? ›

highest citySt. Moritz1822 m
highest villageJuf2126 m
highest train stationJungfraujoch3454 m
highest airportSamedan Airport1707 m
6 more rows

What towns in Switzerland have the highest elevation? ›

Juf (Romansh pronunciation: [ˈjuf]) is a village in the municipality of Avers in the canton of Grisons, Switzerland. At 2,126 metres (6,975 ft) above sea level, it is historically the highest village with permanent residents in Europe, as well as one of its coldest localities.

Does drinking water prevent altitude sickness? ›

Many people who go to high places might not know the importance of drinking water at high altitude. As a medical oxygen supplier, we know that high altitude hydration can be the difference between doing well in high altitude or feeling sick.

Is there preventative medicine for altitude sickness? ›

Dexamethasone. Dexamethasone is effective for preventing and treating AMS and HACE and prevents HAPE as well. Unlike acetazolamide, if the drug is discontinued at elevation before acclimatization, mild rebound can occur.

Is aspirin or ibuprofen better for altitude sickness? ›

Ibuprofen has been shown to be more effective than placebo in the treatment of high altitude headache (HAH), but nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents have been linked to increased incidence of gastrointestinal (GI) side effects and high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).

Does vitamin C help prevent altitude sickness? ›

Objective: Clinical studies have shown that oral vitamin C supplementation can reduce serum uric acid levels in multiple populations and may also improve acute mountain sickness.

Can you drink tap water in Switzerland? ›

In Switzerland, tap water can be safely consumed.

Can I use my phone charger in Switzerland? ›

Yes, you can connect any mobile phone to a Swiss power outlet.

How do I charge my iPhone in Switzerland? ›

Your iPhone comes standard with a USB charger and plug, you then plug that into your Going In Style travel adapter. Plug your travel adapter into the countries wall outlet and Voila!

Are older people more susceptible to altitude sickness? ›

Although altitude sickness can impact anyone regardless of health or age, the effects often become more pronounced with age because of an increase in underlying conditions.

Does age affect altitude sickness? ›

Older people are more likely to have pre-existing medical conditions that might decelerate or inhibit their acclimatization at high altitudes.

How do I prepare for a high-altitude vacation? ›

Tips to Avoid Altitude Illness

Ascend gradually. Avoid traveling from a low elevation to an elevation higher than 9,000 feet (2,750 m) above sea level in one day. If possible, spend a few days at 8,000–9,000 feet before traveling to a higher elevation. This gives your body time to adjust to the lower oxygen levels.

What are the 3 stages of altitude sickness? ›

There are three main types of altitude sickness, acute (mild) altitude or mountain sickness (AMS), high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), and high-altitude cerebral edema. The cause of altitude sickness is the decreasing amount of oxygen available as altitude increases.

What happens if you ignore altitude sickness? ›

If the signs of AMS are ignored and you continue to go higher, you are at risk of developing life threatening altitude sickness, High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE) and/or High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE). HACE is due to swelling of the brain. Symptoms include: severe headache.

What are 4 symptoms of altitude sickness? ›

What Are Altitude Sickness Symptoms?
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Fatigue and loss of energy.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Problems with sleep.
  • Loss of appetite.
Oct 30, 2021

What is the best electrolyte drink for high altitude? ›

Gatorade packets, Emergen---C, Nuun tablets are all electrolyte supplements that can be added to your water. Acclimate Slowly. Those driving in will have more opportunity for this, but this is especially important if you plan on doing any physical activity with or without elevation gain.

What is the best natural cure for altitude sickness? ›

Oxygenation. Since hypoxia and altitude sickness are both caused by low oxygen levels, increasing oxygen is clearly the most effective of the natural remedies for altitude sickness and hypoxia. Experts say that the best cure for altitude sickness is simply to descend to a lower place with more oxygen in the air.

What vitamins help altitude adjustment? ›


Magnesium is a mineral that is crucial for a number of functions in the body. It is naturally found in many foods. Supplementation of magnesium has often been suggested as an aid for altitude sickness.

How does Coca tea help with altitude sickness? ›

This could occur because the components of the coca leaves may stop an increase in red blood cell production that is caused by hypoxia, which decreases the symptoms of high altitude sickness and alters how the body adjusts to high altitudes.

Which month is most beautiful in Switzerland? ›

In the summer months of June and July, the mountain scenery is at its best. The weather is mild and temperatures are pleasant and rarely too hot. Days are generally dry and sunny, offering clear views across the mountain peaks and rolling countryside.

What clothes to wear in Switzerland in September? ›

As summer is just over the temperatures are still comfortable and warm, especially during the first half of the month of September. We would bring a mix of summer clothing and autumn clothing, so dresses, denim jackets, sweaters/turtlenecks, hoodies or blouses. No short trousers anymore but jeans are great.

How many days in Switzerland is enough? ›

A five to seven-day trip will let you see a broader mix of city and countryside attractions. And with 10 or 14 days, you will be able to get properly off the beaten track if you choose. Read on for itinerary options that will show you the very best of this small country.

What Colorado town is like the Swiss Alps? ›

Surrounded by 13,000-foot peaks in the San Juan mountain range, Ouray, Colorado, is known as the “Switzerland of America.” This Victorian-era mining town is as authentic as it gets, so you'll only find locally-owned restaurants and boutiques. Here are our favorite things to do in Ouray.

Which Swiss city is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe visited by world tourists every year? ›

Bern, Switzerland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the political center of Switzerland. It is also the capital city of Switzerland.

What is the most beautiful and frequented city in Switzerland? ›

Lucerne (or “Luzern”) is the most beautiful city in Switzerland, and one of the most beautiful places to visit in all of Europe! This striking medieval town sits on the edge of scenic Lake Lucerne and looks up at some of the most impressive mountain peaks in the country. When visiting Lucerne, it's nice to slow down.

What is the highest walkable mountain in Switzerland? ›

Climb to the top of Barrhorn (3610m): the highest “hiking” summit in the Alps. I take you to the summit of Barrhorn (Valais, Switzerland) which is officially the highest summit in the Alps you can hike without mountaineering equipment.

What is the most expensive region in Switzerland? ›

Zurich. Zurich is the capital of its canton with the same name and is the largest city in the country. But why is Zurich so expensive? Well, it is considered a financial and cultural center in Switzerland and is deemed to be one of the most exciting cities in Europe.

How can I improve my altitude tolerance? ›

To get the most out of altitude training, follow these training techniques:
  1. Reduce exercise intensity. ...
  2. Return to sea level training slowly. ...
  3. Increase elevation gradually. ...
  4. Try interval hill training. ...
  5. Practice breathing exercises.
Dec 2, 2020

Should I take Diamox to prevent altitude sickness? ›

Diamox (Acetazolamide) is used for the prevention or lessening of symptoms related to mountain sickness in climbers attempting rapid ascent and in those experiencing mountain sickness despite gradual ascent.

Can you get altitude sickness in Alps? ›

Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), can be encountered by anyone reaching heights of 2,500m and above, so it's even possible for skiers in the Alps to experience it, particularly in higher resorts such as Zermatt (Switzerland) and Val Thorens (France).

What are the best vitamins for altitude sickness? ›

A double-blind trial of 18 mountaineers climbing to the Mt. Everest base camp found that use of an antioxidant vitamin supplement (providing 1,000 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, and 600 mg of lipoic acid daily) significantly improved symptoms of altitude sickness as compared to placebo.

What medication should you take before going to high altitude? ›

Acetazolamide is used to prevent and reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness. This medication can decrease headache, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath that can occur when you climb quickly to high altitudes (generally above 10,000 feet/3,048 meters).

Does drinking water help with altitude? ›

Remaining hydrated at elevation is a serious task. The Institute for Altitude Medicinerecommends drinking extra water daily when at high altitudes, and if going above 10,000 feet to also increase your intake of carbohydrates.

Does coca leaves help with altitude sickness? ›

Coca leaves are sacred to the Andean people and have been used to relieve the symptoms of mild altitude sickness, headaches, sore throats, and upset stomach aches. Among the ways people have traditionally relieved the symptoms of mild altitude sickness is by chewing or making tea with coca leaves.

Who should not use Diamox? ›

You should not use Diamox if you have cirrhosis, severe liver or kidney disease, an electrolyte imbalance, adrenal gland failure, or an allergy to Diamox or sulfa drugs.

Is Diamox sold over the counter? ›

It is also used to treat open-angle glaucoma, secondary glaucoma, and acute angle-closure glaucoma before surgery to lower pressure inside the eye. This medicine is also used to prevent or make the symptoms of mountain sickness better in climbers. This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

What should I avoid while taking Diamox? ›

This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert. Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Acetazolamide can make you sunburn more easily.

Who is most at risk of altitude sickness? ›

Acute altitude sickness arises after at least four hours spent at an altitude above 2,000 m. Ascending to heights greater than 2,500 m can trigger a range of symptoms including headache and vomiting. Men are at greater risk of altitude sickness than women, for reasons unknown.

What is the altitude in the Swiss Alps? ›

Be Prepared For Altitude Sickness

Switzerland lies at an average elevation of 4,429 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest countries in the world. Switzerland's highest mountain peak — Dufourspitze — is 15,203 feet.

Are some people immune to altitude sickness? ›

While the main cause of altitude sickness is poor pre-acclimatization and rapid ascent to high altitudes, there is little to suggest that any particular demographic is significantly more susceptible than the other.


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