High Altitude Health Concerns
The U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Area is approximately 7,300 feet above sea level. At this altitude, it is possible to contract an illness known as acute mountain or high altitude sickness. Symptoms may include headache, malaise, nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath. Most cases are mild but the altitude may exacerbate other existing medical conditions. High altitude sickness usually resolves within a few days once an individual has adapted to the increased elevation. The best way to avoid illness is to allow yourself to acclimatize; try not to over-exert yourself in the first days after your arrival; make sure to drink sufficient fluids to avoid dehydration; don’t go sightseeing at higher elevations (i.e., up in the mountains) until after you have been in Colorado Springs for a few days; alcohol or drug consumption may worsen these symptoms. Throughout your visit, please be prepared with comfortable walking shoes and water, since bus wait times may be long during peak periods. Note the local weather reports and dress accordingly. Although H/C and bus transportation will be available, there may be extensive walking required from bus stops to your final destination. Please make sure to consider this when bringing elderly or infirm guests to the Academy. Because of the high altitude and possibility of extreme (hot, cold and/or wet) weather, guests with serious medical conditions such as anemia, heart disease, or pulmonary disease should consult their doctor about the need for portable oxygen or preventive medication and the advisability of traveling to the Academy.
Transportation for disabled guests
During Parents’ Weekend, specially equipped shuttle vans will transport guests with disabilities from the disabled parking area (north of the parade field) to the cadet area and Stillman Field for the parade. These shuttles will attempt to get you as close to your desired location as possible. For events in the Cadet Area, shuttle buses that pick up guests from the disabled lot just north of Stillman Parade Field will have special hydraulic lifts for wheelchairs. We recommend that guests bring (or rent) foldable or portable wheelchairs for convenience with the shuttles. Please arrive early to account for loading, unloading, and wait times. Guests should bring their own state persons with disabilities placards so the attendants know to direct you to the correct lot.
If you have any concerns about handicapped support during Parents’ Weekend, please email USAFA.Parent.Liaison@afacademy.af.edu