In addition to what the CDC recommends for preparedness — stocking up on food, hydrating drinks and both prescription and over the counter meds — the medical center is promoting additional considerations for those living at altitude.

The Telluride Regional Medical Center advises every household in our community to own a thermometer and a pulse oximeter.

An oximeter attaches to a finger to measure oxygen saturation levels, or the oxygen levels in blood. These devices are inexpensive but can be instrumental in determining someone’s pulmonary health at elevation. 

At altitudes like that of Telluride’s, normal oxygen saturation levels stay between 90 and 93 percent, when oxygen levels drop below 88 we know it’s time to see the patient possibly for a chest x-ray or to be monitored.

Dr. Sharon Grundy, director of primary care recommends stocking up on ibuprofen or tylenol (at least a half a bottle for every adult in the home); cough suppressants and your prescriptions. 

Ultimately, it’s conventional wisdom at any altitude we want to drive home

  • If you are sick, stay home; don’t go to work or school. 

  • Stay away from others that are sick or coughing.

  • Wash your hands

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, but with your elbow, not your hands.

Two great resources from the CDC: Get Your Household Ready for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and this older Home Care Guide that the CDC released during a previous pandemic flu season.