Flu is on everyone's mind this autumn. So for hunters who start feeling lousy upon arrival in elk camp, the diagnosis may seem obvious. But, like skiers and mountain climbers, elk hunters at high elevations also are prone to altitude sickness with symptoms that look and feel like the flu-headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath and trouble sleeping.
Ways to prevent the flu are well publicized, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is offering the following tips for avoiding altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness is caused by thin air at high elevations. Your body must work harder to maintain normal oxygen levels in the blood. Breathing and pulse rates increase. Still, the lack of oxygen can knock a hunter down especially if they go too hard too soon.
"Most of us live at a much lower elevation than elk do. That alone puts many hunters at a disadvantage even before they begin their first stalk," said Cameron Hanes, a fitness and bowhunting authority as well as TV show host and columnist for RMEF.
Hanes says most sufferers adapt to high altitude by the fourth day. The following tips can help you make better use of your first three days in elk country.
If these tips don't work, and if your symptoms persist even at lower altitudes, you may indeed have the flu.
Hanes serves RMEF as host of "Elk Chronicles" on Outdoor Channel and as a columnist for "Bugle" magazine. His second book, "Backcountry Bowhunting, A Guide to the Wild Side," is currently in its fifth printing and is available at www.cameronhanes.com .