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Hiking when sick

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Hiking when sick

Postby Castlereagh » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:01 am

thoughts on hiking when you're down the cold or a mild flu...some sniffles, sore throat etc? do people around here power through it or take a weekend or a few days to rest? if you do end up climbing something, do you ever find that it sets back your illness?
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby Scott » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:23 am

As long as you aren't at extreme altitudes, outdoor activity will actually do you good when sick with a cold. If it's the stomach flu, it makes the going difficult.

If I have a cold, it slows me down much, but I usually go anyway, but usually not overnight or close to people because I don't want to get them sick.
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby Castlereagh » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:38 am

Scott wrote:As long as you aren't at extreme altitudes, outdoor activity will actually do you good when sick with a cold. If it's the stomach flu, it makes the going difficult.

If I have a cold, it slows me down much, but I usually go anyway, but usually not overnight or close to people because I don't want to get them sick.


Thanks for the advice. I have a few places in mind. The colder fall temps are a concern (I think it was at least partially the 50 mph winds from this past weekend that made me sick)...just have to bundle up more i guess.
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby awilsondc » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:05 am

It can work both ways. If you have a mild illness getting some exercise will help stimulate blood flow and move lymph which can help your body process the by products of fighting the illness and circulate fresh nutrients to help with healing.

Fighting an illness does require energy though, and if you expend too much energy doing strenuous activity your body will have to devote some resources to repair and recovery from your strenuous activity, which can detract from optimum immune system function.

Generally your body will tell you when you're doing too much. You get tired, sluggish, symptoms get worse etc. If I'm sick (which doesn't happen too often anymore) I personally stick to easier hikes with not too much steep elevation gain if I do decide to go. If I had a long or difficult hike or an overnighter planned I'd probably cancel or change to something easier if I were under the weather, especially if I had a high fever.
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby npsimons » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:18 pm

If you're so sick you can't make it out, obviously no. But I've found that a bit of exercise can go a long ways towards recovery, especially for respiratory things (which I tend to get a lot). Something about sitting around "healing", where I stop getting better and getting up and at least stretching the legs really helps. Don't know about less aerobic things like climbing as I've never tried it while sick, but I would guess that having my sense of balance be off would make it even more dangerous, not to mention you can't just scurry off into the bushes and drop trow when your indigestive system demands it.
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby JHH60 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:03 pm

If I have a fever and GI symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) then I stay home - I've had that for several days on a backcountry trip and it's miserable. But if symptoms are mild and limited to the upper respiratory tract I wouldn't hesitate to go. Aerobic exercise, especially running or vigorous hiking, seems to help keep my lungs, nose and sinus clear when I have a cold, and being outdoors makes me feel better. If you feel better when you're outdoors, you'll probably feel better when you're hiking slightly sick. Some years ago, when she was undergoing chemo for cancer, I took my SO backpacking, hiking, climbing, and scuba diving regularly throughout her treatment. Aside from having to wear extra layers because she lost weight and hair during the chemo, she enjoyed it and it helped keep her spirits up - but she's always been an outdoor girl.
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby MoapaPk » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:22 pm

Try some "other" shorter cardiovascular exercise, and judge if you feel uncomfortably degraded doing that. For example, I have a 2-story home with a staircase. I have a routine where I jog up and down the stairs 120 times with 20 lbs of weights. Sometimes when I have a respiratory illness, I can still do that exercise with no apparent extra difficulty. Other times, by 20 flights, I can tell that I'm not meant to do anything difficult for a week.
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby Josh Lewis » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:09 pm

In the past I've hiked when sick. Even though I'm in much better shape than when I used to do it, I usually don't anymore. I guess it really depends on the sickness.
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby lcarreau » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:48 am

What kind of "SICK" are you talking about ?

Are you talking "Comfortably Numb" sick .....?

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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby CSUMarmot » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:19 pm

I usually push through when I'm a bit sick, but I'm usually a good bit slower. I wouldnt want to mess with the flu in the mountains though.
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby mconnell » Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:34 pm

How about this: If you are enjoying hiking while sick, do it. If you're not having a good time, go home.
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby Castlereagh » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:45 pm

figured better to work Saturday a bit and get an extra vaca day out of it while sick, and still managed to get a few easy Uinta summits for the weekend while recovering...not too shabby for a bedridden weekend. normally i would've been balls to the wall regardless or not...but had to play it conservative this weekend so i can (hopefully) be healthy in time for Vegas next weekend (no outdoors unless you count poolside time)
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby climberslacker » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:06 am

Got a mild stomach flu while thru-hiking the PCT.

Had to do a 22 miles through 90* heat and a few 2000+ foot climbs. That was a shitty day.

Its manageable though, just gotta make it happen.
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby John Duffield » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:43 pm

In 2009, I took a month off to go climbing and hiking.

Picked up a cough swimming in a high mountain lake in the Canadian Rockies. Carried it to India. Became a huge bump on the side of my jaw, I ended up not summiting a 6000 meter peak. I was coughing all the time.

The oral surgeon cut it and released the pus when I got back to NYC. I needed three tubes of rootcanal to get at it under one of the teeth. A real mess.

Guess it depends how long you're out for.
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Re: Hiking when sick

Postby Diego Sahagún » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:16 am

Not hiking but I've been skiing having more than 38.5°C 30 hours before... Flu
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