How to prevent Altitude Sickness

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 28, 2011

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Why travel to high altitudes and later regret because you couldn’t combat altitude sickness? We would ask you to be informed about what altitude sickness is and what can be done to cope up with an altitude sickness aftermath.


Why it happens?


Pressure of the air around you decreases with increase in height. Since there is lesser oxygen in the air people generally find it difficult to adjust to changed weather conditions. You are likely to develop altitude sickness symptoms once you’ve mounted to 8,000 feet above sea level.


Ways to prevent Altitude Sickness


Remember that although symptoms from acute mountain sickness is the least life threatening but the symptoms of both, High-altitude cerebral edema and High-altitude pulmonary edema can be risky for your health.


So implement ways to cope and prevent Altitude sickness from worsening –


1.    Recognize early symptoms


The sooner the better. Use this mantra and prevent yourself from potential risks. If it is minor headache then halt for some time and take a pain reliever. Once the headache subsides you can resume your journey. Do not ignore minor symptoms because they might be dangerous in an aggravated form much later.


2.    Lots of fluids

  • At higher altitudes there is an increased percentage loss of water vapour from lungs. So, drink a lot of water as it will prevent dehydration.
  • Avoid any alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
  • If losing a lot of water through perspiration or in form of sweat rehydrate your body by drinking sports drinks which help you maintain electrolyte balance.


3.    Descend

One of major symptoms of high-altitude cerebral edema is that you’ll find difficult to walk in a straight line, unexplainable changes in personality and hallucinations. If you or your traveling companions report such symptoms, we advise that you immediately descend and seek medical help.


To recognise symptoms of high-altitude pulmonary edema is certainly quite difficult. You must, however, watch out for dry cough, shortness of breath even while resting, difficulty exercising and sudden and rapid increase in heart rate.


4.    Ascend slowly

  • Do not exert yourself on the first day of travel you might be raring to go because you feel fresh but it is better if you refrain impulsive ascend.
  • Do not mound any higher than 1,000 feet per night.
  • If you travel more than 3,000 feet then try spending a night at the same elevation before going any further. If you keep traveling at such a pace altitude illness symptoms will only worsen.


5.    Past experiences

If you have reported altitude sickness during any of your past travel trips, the best way to deal with it in the next trip is to consult a doctor. They would be able to prescribe medicines depending upon your medical condition.


6.    Do not panic


Symptoms of altitude sickness disappear in a few days time but do not be complacent. If the symptoms do not disappear consult a doctor.


Having read the tips above, we wish you a happy altitude sickness free travel to the mountains!


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