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1 September 2009 Awareness of Altitude Sickness Among Visitors to a North American Ski Resort
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Objective.—To quantify awareness of acute mountain sickness (AMS) in a sample of visitors to a North American ski resort and to identify strategies and interest for increasing knowledge of AMS in that population.

Methods.—One hundred and thirty visitors to Big Sky Ski Resort, Montana, were surveyed. Demographic data were obtained. Respondents were asked about their current knowledge of AMS and then answered questions designed to quantify their depth of knowledge of the subject. Correct answers were correlated with demographic data. Respondents also answered questions indicating their interest in further education about altitude illness and their preferred modality for obtaining this information.

Results.—In general, most respondents were young, 18 to 30 years (62.3%), and male (62.5%). Seventy-six percent had at least some college education and more than 5 years of skiing/snowboarding experience. Only 55% of respondents had some knowledge of AMS, but only 30% had knowledge of AMS symptoms using the Lake Louise Scoring System. About 30% knew the lowest altitude this illness can occur. There was a correlation between educational background and improved knowledge of altitude illness. Half of the respondents desired further information about AMS, and the Internet was the preferred source of information.

Conclusions.—This study suggests that a large population of skiers in North America may be relatively naive to the dangers of AMS. The majority of the respondents were interested in learning more about altitude illness, and the Internet was the most attractive source of information.

John Hatzenbuehler, James Glazer, and Celine Kuhn "Awareness of Altitude Sickness Among Visitors to a North American Ski Resort," Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 20(3), 257-260, (1 September 2009).
Published: 1 September 2009

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