Medical minute

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

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In follow up to our discussion of asthma, our medical team added the following comments in response to a reader question about the implications of  Half Dome’s 8,842 foot altitude.

     Higher altitudes may cause faster breathing of usually cooler air. The rapid movement of cold air through the airways can cause bronchospasm, or asthma symptoms. This may or may not be a problem, depending on how severe the person’s asthma is. The use of a “cold air” mask or scarf over the face allows you to re-breathe some of the warm air you exhale with the cooler air and this usually causes less problems. Make sure to stay on the baseline asthma medications and take a rescue inhaler. Check with your doctor about your condition before you go if you want to be on the safe side.

     I am writing from the lounge of the Crystal Symphony as we sail towards Sitka. I plan to lace up my Vasque Breeze boots and head up the hills with my trekking poles. Today I gave a Nordic Walking presentation and am teaching the fitness activity at 7 am and 5 pm every day. The northern chill is still in the air and sunset is near 10 pm.  A guest lecturer is Joel Harper. He is TV’s Dr. Oz’s personal trainer and writes the Fitness sections of Oz’s books. I hope to connect with him and get his take on Nordic Walking. Be nice to get a slot on the boob tube.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Walks. The body advances, while the mind flutters around it like a bird.” – Jules Renard

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – http://www.HikeHalfDome.com

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