Importance of Drinking at a High Altitude

Adding an extra liter to the regular liter and a half of water each day at high altitude can help you.

When you travel to a high altitude, you are at risk of having some difficulties with breathing and other surprises. Altitude sickness is one of the problems that you might experience. Many people who go to high places might not know the importance of drinking water at high altitude. As a medical oxygen supplier, we know that high altitude hydration can be the difference between doing well in high altitude or feeling sick.


In higher elevations, especially those that are more than 5,000 feet above sea level, your body needs to work harder to maintain balance, particularly with regards to blood oxygen levels. This is because there is not as much oxygen at this high level. You will feel your respiration rate going up and your body will lose water much faster than it would at sea level – even if you are not physically active. This is why drinking water at high altitude is so important. 


When your body is working harder, and you are breathing harder, your body will also use up more water. According to the Wilderness Medical Society, high altitudes cause your body to lose water twice as fast as at sea level. When you are doing physical activities such as running, hiking, biking, and backpacking, you may need to urinate more often. This means that at high altitude, hydrating will be more important when you are physically active in these places. 


Your risk of dehydration is increased if you are not drinking enough water at high altitudes. Places at higher elevations also usually have lower humidity. These areas are also more exposed to wind and sun, so you can expect water to evaporate from your body faster as well.

How Much Water Should You Drink at High Altitude?

Now that you know the importance of drinking water, you might be wondering how much water to drink at high altitude. The IAM recommends that you drink an additional liter to liter and a half each day. This would be a total of three to four liters of high altitude water.

It would be good if these liters of high altitude water had about 2-300 grams of carbohydrates in each one. Any high-energy activity requires you to have more electrolytes in your body, but this is especially true in higher elevations. If you are going to areas with extreme temperatures, you should also consider drinking more water.

What Is the Normal Hydration Level at a High Altitude?

You might not spend much time thinking about your normal hydration level, but in areas with a high altitude, this is extremely important. You should determine your normal hydration level while at home or another familiar environment. The best way to know is through your urine. When you are hydrated, look at your urine color and how often you need to urinate. The color should be light yellow, and you should be urinating about five to eight times each day. You can also see how much you sweat after exercise or other physical activity.


When it comes to drinking water at high altitude, you should be drinking enough to bring you to a normal hydration level. However, this is only part of staying healthy at high altitude levels. Oxygen plays another vital role, and it is not always easy to get at high elevations. You might be wondering how to increase your blood oxygen level while at higher altitudes. The good news is that there are tools to help you with this.

How Drinking Water Help With Altitude Sickness

You are probably wondering, “Why does drinking water help with altitude sickness?” Drinking enough water to hydrate can help you relieve symptoms such as headaches. This can be mitigated by slowly drinking a liter of fluid and taking acetaminophen. If the problem goes away, then you were most likely dehydrated. If it does not, you may be feeling the effects of altitude sickness.


No matter what the cause of your sickness, then having both water and oxygen can help relieve headaches and other symptoms. Carrying a water bottle is a simple fix. However, it can be more challenging to get enough oxygen. The good news is that portable oxygen concentrators can help you replenish your blood oxygen levels. We hope you have learned enough information from this article to prepare you for traveling to areas that are at a higher elevation.