High elevation combined with increased climate change can make Colorado weather hot, dry and a bit unpredictable. Here are five tips to help you stay healthy this fall.
1. Acclimate to the altitude
Colorado is known for its mountain landscapes. If you’re new to the state or coming from a region lower in elevation, it’s important to acclimate to the altitude over a couple of weeks. Symptoms of altitude sickness typically start to occur between 7,500 and 8,000 feet above sea level. While downtown Boulder sits at about 5,300 feet above sea level, it’s easy to travel much higher than that in a short amount of time. For instance, the maximum elevation along the Flatirons is over 7,000 feet. This is a good example of elevation change to keep in mind, especially if you plan to venture deeper into the mountains.
2. Wear sun protection
Colorado’s high elevation makes it the perfect place to catch a sunburn. This is because there is less atmosphere to protect against UV radiation. Follow these tips to best protect yourself from sun damage:
3. Beat the bugs
Common Colorado bugs include mosquitos, bees, wasps, ticks, ants, spiders and gnats. Luckily for us, this region is relatively safe in terms of bug-related illnesses like Lyme disease (from ticks) and West Nile (from mosquitos). However, stings and bites can still be itchy and annoying. If you’re looking to beat the bugs, here are some tips to follow:
4. Prepare for unpredictable weather
Check the forecast before heading outside, and remember that Colorado weather can change in an instant. The best way to prepare for abrupt weather changes is to wear or pack layers with you when venturing outside, especially during the late afternoon. Be prepared for unexpected wind, rain or hail by bringing a windbreaker or rain jacket. If you think you may get wet, opt for synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, which dry more quickly. Cotton-based clothing can retain moisture and leave you sopping wet by the end of the day.
5. Stay hydrated
High elevation can leave you feeling more dehydrated than usual. Be sure to drink one liter (32 oz.) of water every two hours while doing physical activity outside. It’s also important to bring extra water if you plan to be outdoors with pets or other people. Avoiding caffeine (a diuretic) can also help you stay hydrated for longer.
The Apothecary Pharmacy at Wardenburg Health Center carries a variety of over-the-counter products, including sunscreen, allergy medication, lip balm, aloe vera, anti-itch cream and more.
The Adventure Resource Center is a free and open resource to help you plan your next trip into the outdoors. They provide route recommendations, backcountry meal planning tips, equipment recommendations and mapping services.
Outdoor Pursuits offers outdoor gear rentals to students, staff and faculty. Rental equipment includes hiking, camping, climbing, tubing, water sports and winter equipment options.