Germs at 6,000 Feet

By Beacon Staff

There were guests from all over at our house the other night for dinner. Twenty-eight in all, and the following afternoon we had our regular Open House Tea in the afternoon. That was probably another 50 people or so.

The guests came from Florida, Venezuela, China, Texas, Boston, Alaska, California, Seattle, the heat of Palm Springs, and Mexico, too. If I thought that the guests were all having a grand old time, imagine how the microbes were doing. Those infectious germs met all kinds of new friends and instantly started propagating just for the fun of it and leaving all manner of breathing problems behind them.

Everyone who lives full time at 7,000 or more feet above sea level is wide open for these bugs. Remember that when the site for Sun Valley, Idaho, was selected in 1935, Von Gottschalk said, “You should not have to sleep above 6,000 feet because of potential respitory and pulmonary problems.”

A lot of people complain when they first try to sleep above that magic altitude. They have trouble breathing. That’s because of the lack of oxygen. It can be avoided if you take two aspirin a day for three days before you go to that altitude and for three days after you get there. This is enough to thin your blood so that it can get more oxygen from your lungs. This is something I have been doing for years and have been able to get a lot of sleep the first night at altitude. I think it also helped fight off those different bugs floating around in our living room for those evenings. Unfortunately, my wife was not so lucky because she never stops working to sit down and rest like I do.

If you cannot handle aspirin for any reason there is an even better way to get used to the altitude and you have a couple of options. Have your doctor give you a prescription for Diamox. That is what I used to take because I am taking Coumadin and aspirin has a very negative effect with it. If you take Diamox for three days before and three days after you go to a ski resort you will not have any problem breathing. That first morning when the sun is out and the snow is perfect you will have had a good night’s sleep.

All of these microbes, germs and stuff I talked about earlier seem to really thrive in the warmth of a mountain house and they would sure rather jump from the person who carried them all of the way from Australia to you than to go outside tomorrow and have to hunker down while being carried around by someone skiing.

Imagine for a moment if you were an Australian germ who had traveled half way around the world to Montana. The best way to prove your strength is to infect as many people as you can in as short a time as possible. I don’t know whether my wife was ravaged by Australian, Japanese, Chinese, French or Czechoslovakian germs, but she has been flat on her back for the last week.

The only way I have been able to fight the germ invasion is after every evening with people and lots of hand shaking, I wash my hands thoroughly and then take a cup of hot water with a product called Airborne dissolved in it. So far this winter I have been able to dodge the many germs that have some my way. If it is a potentially bad night with lots of people in a crowded room I drink the Airborne followed by a glass of water with a dose of Alka-Seltzer in it. It is almost February and so far it has worked for me. What works for you?