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Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
#53262 05/29/18 11:02 AM
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Kimmy Offline OP
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I'd like some input on using cans of oxygen in case of altitude sickness hiking Mt Whitney...referring to those portable cans such as Boost Oxygen.

Last edited by Kimmy; 05/29/18 11:04 AM.
Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
Kimmy #53264 05/29/18 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted By: Kimmy
I'd like some input on using cans of oxygen in case of altitude sickness hiking Mt Whitney...referring to those portable cans such as Boost Oxygen.


I bought one when climbing Mt Fuji (they have them at all the shops around the base and 5th station).

Used it a few times and it seemed to give me a kick (don't know if it was physical or psychological).

I think I had a can in my pack on my first Whitney climb and never used it.

Never carried it any other times.

If you're having a real serious reaction to the altitude it probably won't do much good (best solution is to descend as fast as you can), but it could give you a very short burst of energy.

Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
Kimmy #53265 05/29/18 12:43 PM
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Save your money.

The reviews for those things are an amazing demonstration of the power of the placebo effect.

Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
Kimmy #53266 05/29/18 03:17 PM
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I used Oxygen Plus on Mt. Whitney and the results were inconclusive. I didn't notice anything different. There was no evidence that I even inhaled pure oxygen. Maybe if they had a different nozzle the oxygen would transfer better?

They don't claim that their product is useful for dealing with thin air at altitude, which I think they would if it was effective.

The cans weigh almost nothing. I just consider this a one-time experiment that I may or may not try again.

Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
Kimmy #53267 05/29/18 04:02 PM
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Supplementary Oxygen is usually used at very high altitude, like above 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) in the Himalayas. It will do nothing for you on Mt. Whitney except waste your money.

The fastest cure for altitude sickness is to quickly go to a much lower altitude. Even 1,000 lower will make you feel better, but you must continue going down in order to prevent additional complications.

There is a lot of information here about altitude sickness prevention: read it.

Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
Bob West #53268 05/29/18 06:28 PM
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if a person's blood becomes desaturated (lower oxygen) because of high altitude or extreme exertion or both, then supplemental oxygen can begin to boost it back up literally in 10-15 seconds. However, you cannot store oxygen, so when the can runs out, you are rapidly back to where you were.

If you see NFL players using O2 masks on the sidelines, that is because they, with extreme exertion, have dropped their O2 saturation, perhaps as much as 20 points. It will come back up with rest and hyperventilation. Supplemental O2 may aid the resting /recovery from simple overexertion (but only if actually desaturated.) I wonder why you do not see NBA players use it? If that few minutes of speedier recovery was real, why wouldn't they use it to help them get back in the game?

Supplemental continuous O2 in the high altitude medical station will rapidly (in a minute) restore O2 saturation towards normal and turn a blue climber pink. However it must be continued, or the climber must descend to higher pressure either on foot, or with assistance, or with supplemental pressure (Gamow bag). However, this response is acutely for the hypoxia and the pulmonary hypertension of high altitude. If HACE or HAPE have started, then recovery is far more complicated than just simple O2 saturation and takes more than a few minutes of canned O2 - more like days (or never).

If anyone legitimately needs supplemental O2 at a moderate Whitney altitude,then they are altitude sick and HACE or HAPE are suspected. As already stated , a few minutes of canned O2 is not enough.

Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
Harvey Lankford #53271 05/29/18 07:12 PM
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Like Wandering Jim, I first used O2 on Mt Fuji. It helps, no doubt about that. I've since used it on Shasta and Whitney and it was definitely beneficial each time. It's barely noticeable at low elevation, but its obviously helpful for the typical weekend warrior who hasn't had the days or week necessary to truly acclimate. O2 will provide temporary relief from mild AMS symptoms and give you a noticeable boost. It may only last for a minute or minutes, but doing this repeatedly over the course of a climb actually went a long way to make my hikes more enjoyable. There's no way to know if it prevented more serious symptoms, but it certainly helped my energy level and enjoyment. It's a little pricey, but it does help in a positive beneficial way, without any side effects like drugs can have. Just don't expect miracles or think this is a cure for serious altitude problems. As Harvey wrote, you shouldn't consider it as a treatment for serious HAPE or HACE, but that's just a matter of managing your expectations. If you're that sick, turn around fast, period.

Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
SierraNevada #53276 05/30/18 06:25 AM
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When I was out at Pikes Peak in 2015, they were selling Os at several stores and the cog train shop as well (included scented oxygen (strawberry, blueberry, etc.)). When my wife and I got to the top, the old fashioned way (hiking), we saw several people from the train and from cars using oxygen cans - some said it helped, others said it didn't seem to make a difference.

Scariest part of our trip was when one gentleman passed out in the store at the top and needed to be rushed down the mountain - AMS issues no less.

Last edited by MtMikeR; 05/30/18 06:26 AM.

Mike

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”
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Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
SierraNevada #53323 06/04/18 08:41 AM
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Kimmy Offline OP
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Thank you for all the responses! Very helpful!

Last edited by Kimmy; 06/04/18 08:42 AM.
Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
Kimmy #53380 06/09/18 05:00 AM
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Had a member of my group get severe AMS symptoms yesterday. I had two small cans, 50 use?, brand new. They helped her a lot. One can ran out quickly, after maybe 10 uses, so I was glad to have the second.

However, there is NO substitute for training and acclimitization!!

Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
Kimmy #53386 06/09/18 08:09 PM
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This is very low elevation for using of oxygen and if you will buy one I am not sure if it can help. Usually oxygen you can start using after 7000 meters maybe.... Just spend additional day in the base camp.

Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
Eugen #53395 06/10/18 07:59 PM
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7,000 meters is about 23,000 ft. I think humans can benefit from oxygen supplementation a lot lower elevation than 23,000 ft. Personally, I experience significant benefits from canned O2 starting around 10,000-12,000 ft, depending on how much time I've had to acclimate from sea level. If I use it, I typically wait as long as I can because the supply is limited. I learned to bring a backup can.

Re: Supplemental oxygen can for altitude sickess?
DavidK #53396 06/10/18 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted By: DavidK
Had a member of my group get severe AMS symptoms yesterday. I had two small cans, 50 use?, brand new. They helped her a lot. One can ran out quickly, after maybe 10 uses, so I was glad to have the second.

However, there is NO substitute for training and acclimitization!!

Interesting story, DavidK. Can you elaborate on the situation a little more. How bad was "severe AMS? HACE? HAPE? Specifically what improvement did she notice? How did she get off the mountain? Thanks.


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