When to use oxygen when arriving at altitude in Colorado
For visitors and vacationers to the mountains of Colorado and the western U.S., many ask us “how often should I use the oxygen”. It is totally up to you, but here are some suggestions.
We recommend each person use 2 liters per minute. If you have one person on a machine, the setting should be “2”. If you have two people on a machine, the setting should be “4”, so each person is receiving 2 liters per minute. At that setting with our altitude it would be like you are at sea level on the beach in Florida. You can go a bit higher setting but unless you are working out on a treadmill, you’ll likely not take all the oxygen in and will just dry out your nose.
Next, it is very helpful to use oxygen within the first 6 hours of arrival for 40-50 minutes, particularly if you have been travelling all day and didn’t sleep much the night before travel. When you are using oxygen you can easily check e-mails, watch TV or sit on the balcony reading a book. You should be proactive. You don’t want to wait until the next morning when you have altitude sickness symptoms, feel awful or have a headache. Please note, if you use oxygen for just 2-5 minutes (such as what is in the disposable cans), your body won’t get saturated enough for long enough to give your body a break in “adjusting” to altitude.
Then, use oxygen again for 30-50 minutes before going to bed and then when getting up in the morning. Keep in mind, the BEST time to use oxygen is while you sleep, through the night. It is convenient and will help you sleep better and recover from your trip and daily activities, while on vacation.
Finally, after a heavy day of skiing/biking/hiking and if you are feeling run down in the afternoon, a quick 30 minute session will do wonders.