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Nausea / Motion Sickness / Altitude Sickness ?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've been riding for a long time but in the last couple of years I've stared to get nauseous at random times while on the mountain, it's hard to describe but the symptoms range from "sore face", a feeling of pain/pressure around the cheeks, to pain / pressure around the neck/throat area. Maybe it's dehydration, maybe it's altitude related (although I doubt it as i have no problems on planes), or maybe it's related to being on the lifts, maybe it's the cold, maybe it's the sun / light, or maybe a combination of all.

Yesterday I had it, the previous 2 days i was fine...

Has anyone experienced something similar?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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You're not the only one - there have been threads about this before. I used to get this more a couple of years ago but having since learned how to manage it better I've been able to avoid it recently. I don't recognise the symptoms you describe of pain around the face and neck, but have had nausea and motion sickness while skiing particularly on days when the visibility is not good. The things that work for me are:
- carefully managing how much I eat, particularly in the morning. I find the symptoms are less if I'm on the hungry side.
- taking breaks if I start to feel the need rather than just ploughing on.
- coffee helps.
- not getting dehydrated (as you suggest) also helps.
- staying cool, particularly on lifts, and I find enclosed lifts like bubbles more of a problem than chairs or drags.

It wouldn't surprise me if too much sun could cause those sorts of symptoms too. Are you using goggles/sunglasses?
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Yeah I always wear goggles, but they are on the cheap side, I'm wondering if some goggles with better lenses might help. But that wouldn't explain why I seem to get it randomly....
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@mrvinegar, does it happen mostly in poor vis? I get nauseous when I can't tell up from down.
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I take itinerol b6, an anti travel sick tablet, on days I know its going to be low viz as I suffer pretty badly from motion sickness. Has made a huge difference to me.
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It might be worth carrying some ginger sweets for the nausea. I always have some with me. I used to get them from Holland & Barratt but i'm not sure they do them any more. You could try online. They are in a yellow box or packet. x
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@mrvinegar, not that I have any expertise on the subject, but I believe feeling fine on a plane has very little relation to altitude-sickness. Remember that air-pressure and oxygen-levels are more or less entirely artificial in planes.

A couple of obvious points: alcohol doesn't help. Even a slight hangover can turn into a quite nasty dizzyness. A good night's sleep is good to have. Dehydration makes it worse. In short: easy on the apres. (Not that I'm suggesting this is the issue.)

As others have mentioned, poor visibility can definitely cause (or worsen) the nausea and disorientation. If it's foggy and I can't tell up from down or see the contours of the terrain, I usually get dizzy. You could look into better goggles. It seems lenses of certain colours can enhance the contours
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mrvinegar, with regard to your point about altitude, you have to realise that the plane is pressurised and therefore you will not feel the affects of altitude sickness on a plane even if it flies far higher than you are used to. Altitude sickness comes from the low oxygen pressure from high places, and can kick in from 1,500m plus, especially on the first day or so, until your body has had time to acclimatise if you have moved up from sea level.

The most common your symptoms at lower levels are usually limited to headaches, fatigue, dizziness, but these can also come from dehydration too, and that is most likely what you are experiencing.

At higher altitudes the lower air pressure means that water evaporates more easily, so your body loses water more rapidly from your lungs and mouth than it normally would, and when combined with an activity that will make you sweat or at least work harder, you body needs more water than you would normally drink at home, but as you are away from home, you might find water is not readily available when you need it, hence the weird feelings.

That's my take on it anyway Very Happy
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Good point re the pressured cabins on planes!

No it doesn't seem to happen in low visibility, yesterday the conditions were some cloud and sun and it occurred, the previous days the conditions were about the same and I felt fine, wasn't hungover any of the days in question, although I had eaten less yesterday...
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Does it kick in at a certain altitude?

My Sister really suffers above 3000m, but is fine below that. She also suffers when it is snows large flakes, as the effect caused by the snow moving fast through her peripheral vision causes dizziness.
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Sack the Juggler wrote:
Altitude sickness comes from the low oxygen pressure from high places, and can kick in from 1,500m plus, especially on the first day or so, until your body has had time to acclimatise if you have moved up from sea level.


The air pressure is lower, the amount of oxygen per unit volume of air will be lower. That means it's a lower partial pressure of oxygen which isn't quite the same thing.

You're not really going to get altitude sickness at 1500m. Realistically that would start around 2400m or so which is generally taken as the height at which high altitude starts.

Most self-diagnosed altitude sickness in ski stations is really just related to travel, dehydration, unaccustomed exercise and so on.
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PowderAdict wrote:
Does it kick in at a certain altitude?

My Sister really suffers above 3000m, but is fine below that. She also suffers when it is snows large flakes, as the effect caused by the snow moving fast through her peripheral vision causes dizziness.


That's two different things. Altitude and a motion induced vertigo.
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mrvinegar wrote:
I've stared to get nauseous .... symptoms range from "sore face", a feeling of pain/pressure around the cheeks, to pain / pressure around the neck/throat area.


Probably being dumb here, but those symptoms don't equate to nausea in my understanding of things. Do you actually get or feel sick or have dizziness, or is it more a collection of 'weird' feelings?
Could be altitude related, dehydration, lack of food or overexertion, low blood sugar or 1000 other things.
If worried, seek a medical opinion.
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@Grizzler, yeah sounded weird to me too
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Quote:
Most self-diagnosed altitude sickness in ski stations is really just related to travel, dehydration, unaccustomed exercise and so on.


This is very true. Most resorts are just not that high in the grand scheme of things. Especially when you consider how little time is spent at the uppermost parts of resorts. Most people will be sleeping below 2000m which would be extremely low risk of altitude sickness in healthy people. I'm yet to see anyone self diagnosed with altitude sickness skip lunch, when loss of appetite is one of the more common symptoms of altitude in my experience.

In the OPs case altitude is even more unlikely as symptoms usually come at random times (altitude sickness would be constant).
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Not sure what is causing your ailments. But don't confuse flying where the cabin pressure if 4-4500 feet normally. Not many ski resorts below that. And altitude sickness is not constant, you acclimatise and it can be affected by many individual factors, for instance, its one of the few areas that smoking helps!
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It canít really be altitude sickness, but I confess to feeling a touch peculiar on the glacier above La Plagne. I felt very wobbly and lightheaded. I think itís as just my imagination but I did briefly wonder if the altitude made a difference. .... unlikely.
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I get it big time in low vis too. Horrible sensation.
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[quote="foxtrotzulu"]It canít really be altitude sickness, but I confess to feeling a touch peculiar on the glacier above La Plagne. I felt very wobbly and lightheaded. I think itís as just my imagination but I did briefly wonder if the altitude made a difference. .... unlikely.[/quote

There's every reason why rocketing up a few hundred metres to 3000m would leave you lightheaded. It does me. That's not altitude sickness really, take a few minutes, descend and it will pass.
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Grizzler wrote:
mrvinegar wrote:
I've stared to get nauseous .... symptoms range from "sore face", a feeling of pain/pressure around the cheeks, to pain / pressure around the neck/throat area.


Probably being dumb here, but those symptoms don't equate to nausea in my understanding of things. Do you actually get or feel sick or have dizziness, or is it more a collection of 'weird' feelings?
Could be altitude related, dehydration, lack of food or overexertion, low blood sugar or 1000 other things.
If worried, seek a medical opinion.


No dizziness or light headedness no, but you could class it as "feeling unwell/weird" when I get an extreme bout of it, could well be dehydration, but I don't get it when dehydrated in other situations, running in heat etc, the physical aspect , sore face etc, are unique to when I'm skiing
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@mrvinegar, just occurred to me that I get the sore face thing if I am out cycling in the cold.
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@mrvinegar,

It occurred to me that the symptoms you describe:

Quote:

"sore face", a feeling of pain/pressure around the cheeks


seem similar to that of sinusitis. Changes in pressure can trigger something in your sinuses. My son's holiday in Saalbach was destroyed because of sinusitis last year. He was forbidden from skiing precisely because of the issues that changes in pressure can cause. Of course, he had high fever too, but the symptoms are definitely similar.

Perhaps you should see a doctor about your sinuses? Seeing a doctor might be a good idea anyway.
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under a new name wrote:
@mrvinegar, just occurred to me that I get the sore face thing if I am out cycling in the cold.


Interesting, for me the sore face is the most consistent symptom, it's a pain / pressure around my cheeks/cheekbones, hard to describe
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SkiingDad wrote:
@mrvinegar,

Perhaps you should see a doctor about your sinuses? Seeing a doctor might be a good idea anyway.


Sinusitis, yeah it could well be that, guess I should see a doctor !
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@mrvinegar, like a dull (and cold) ache? Mine tends to centre around my forehead, but cheekbones also suffer. I think it's been a long time since I noticed it and these days I do ski with helmet and quite big goggles.
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under a new name wrote:
@mrvinegar, like a dull (and cold) ache? .


Yes!

Wouldn't I notice sinusitis away from the mountain though?
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@mrvinegar,

Quote:
Wouldn't I notice sinusitis away from the mountain though?


I guess you would. (*guess*, as I'm not a doctor) But I'm not saying you're having sinusitis, but there might be something causing pressure in your sinuses.

My logic is that in the valley you may not suffer from the pressure, because it's in equilibrium with the air pressure there. When you move higher, the air pressure outside your head is less, which means a higher (relative) pressure in your sinuses, causing the pain. Let me emphasise and reiterate that I'm no doctor. Very Happy
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I did also wonder about irritated sinuses, irritated nose membranes and the like - sitting here at the moment chez moi with painful teeth, cheeks, nose etc (chronically normal for me it sadly seems) - but I tend not to get anything whilst outdoors or at altitude. However, we're all different and bodies are weird and oft-annoying things. Many things react to cold air as well as changes in pressure.
If it's bothering you then try to keep a good detailed diary, not just for a few days but over a period of months, and see if you can link symptoms to anything at all: location, altitude, activity, post activity (delayed onset), food, drink, alcohol, weather, temperature, bugs....
The pressure in the throat area doesn't neccessarily tie in with sinuses, however (unless post nasal drip irritation). I wonder if there's some kind of muscle tension (clenching, tension headache, temporomandiblar joint), even a kind of migraine or something coming up from the upper back/arms/shoudlers. Could even be something odd like irritation from acid reflux. Or inhaling cold air could be irritating something, maybe?
See your GP: they might have better ideas than us lot. Hope that you sort it out.
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Thanks for all the replies, helps narrowing down the possibilities! Once I talk to a doctor I'll update with his opinion!
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More detail, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold-stimulus_headache

I get similar symptoms, of I did when a kid, cycling into cold head winds.
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My sinuses always play up on the first few days of a ski holiday. Not sure if the cause is altitude, cold air, or even the typically very dry atmosphere in accommodation. But once inflamed they can be a pain (literally) the whole day, both out on the slopes and back indoors - they don't instantly recover with lower altitude.

Mrs E suffers from vertigo occasionally, and low visibility on a ski slope is highly likely to bring it on - I guess something to do with it being more difficult for the body to decide which way is up.
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@ise,
Quote:

There's every reason why rocketing up a few hundred metres to 3000m would leave you lightheaded. It does me. That's not altitude sickness really, take a few minutes, descend and it will pass.

If you know the Bellecote bubble and the Glacier chairlift then I'm not sure you would have used the word 'rocketing'. You have more time to acclimatise on those lifts than most people spend at Everest Base Camp. Very Happy Very Happy
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I know them. It's considerably quicker than walking. Your body isn't bad at adapting to the height gain at walking pace. Sitting down isn't great either.

The train on the jungfrau is about the worse in my experience.
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@mrvinegar, Do you wear a helmet? Poorly fitting helmet and goggles can produce similar symptoms. Sometimes it'a just a case of loosening the goggles strap, but you may want to check that the shape and size of both helmet and goggles suit your head and face.
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Another vote for possible sinus/inflammation due to minor virus issues from someone who has them a lot. Try some ibuprofen and see if that helps.
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Chamcham wrote:
@mrvinegar, Do you wear a helmet? Poorly fitting helmet and goggles can produce similar symptoms. Sometimes it'a just a case of loosening the goggles strap, but you may want to check that the shape and size of both helmet and goggles suit your head and face.


Yup I wear a helmet and goggles, I usually have them pretty loose but I have the goggles attached to the helmet, maybe i should try changing that
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