Altitude Sickness Prevention Tips

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 28, 2011

Altitude sickness prevention tipsEvery year millions of people pack their bags and set straight to the mountains for skiing, mountain climbing, trekking and other related activities. And if you’re planning a trip to the mountains, you must know a few facts.

 

Causes of altitude sickness

 

As a geography lesson, you must have learnt that the higher you mount, lesser the oxygen in the air. Usually people living in plains aren’t used to such low levels of oxygen in the air and causes altitude sickness.

 

To add to it, lower air pressure can result in fluid leak from the capillaries, both in the brain and lungs. This can lead to a fluid build-up. It is therefore advisable that you properly acclimatise yourself and save yourself from potential life-threatening altitude sickness.

 

Symptoms

  • Headaches

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Drowsiness

  • Insomnia

  • Nosebleed

  • Lack of appetite

  • Fatigue or weakness

  • Dizziness or light-headedness

  • Shortness of breath upon exertion

  • Persistent rapid pulse

  • General malaise

  • Swollen face, hands and feet.

  • Diarrhoea

 

Importance of Acclimatisation

 

It becomes important that you are comfortable in a particular environmental condition. Give your body enough time to adapt to the decrease in oxygen in the air. You can avail following benefits if you listen to your body —

  • Body will produce more RBCs to carry oxygen.

  • Depth of respiration would increase.

  • Blood would be forced in those parts of the lungs due to pressure in pulmonary capillaries.

  • More enzyme would be secreted which will release oxygen from the haemoglobin to body tissues.

 

Types of High-altitude sickness

 

1.    Acute Mountain Sickness (above 8,000feet)

 

Symptoms

  • Dizziness.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Fatigue.

  • Headache.

  • Nausea.

  • Disturbed sleep.

2.    High-Altitude Cerebral Edema (affects lungs)

 

Symptoms

  • Dry cough.

  • Fever.

  • Shortness of breath even when inactive.

  • Symptoms similar to someone suffering from bronchitis

3.    High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema

 

Symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness.

  • Irrational behaviour.

  • Increased nausea.

  • Recurrent headaches not relieved by medications.

Getting rid of Altitude sickness

 

Take time to travel

 

Don’t cover more than 1,000 feet a day. Your body needs time to adjust to climatic variations. Descend, if need be and don’t go higher until the symptoms disappear.

 

Don’t ignore symptoms mentioned above.

 

Make sure you don’t compromise on your health even if you’re traveling to the most beautiful place on earth!

 

Sleep time

 

At night, sleep at an altitude lower than the altitude you were at during day time.

 

See a doctor

 

Descend and immediately see a doctor if you cannot cope up with weather change.

 

Once you maintain the above points in your mind, you will never be bothered by altitude sickness.

 

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