Altitude Sickness

Altitude Sickness

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is largely known as Altitude sickness. It is experienced while traveling to higher altitudes without proper acclimatization (the process of adjusting your body on thin air). Higher you go, the thinner the level of oxygen you get. This usually happens if you go to an elevation above 8000 feet (2400 meters). If you travel to high elevation without letting your body adjust to thin air, you might experience mild headaches and nausea. Altitude sickness can be fatal if proper attention is not given.

What is Altitude Sickness (Acute Mountain sickness)?

As the altitude increases the pressure of air decreases. In fact, the oxygen at all altitudes is the same i.e. 21%. The decrease in pressure also decreases the level of oxygen. This happens when you gain elevation fast without giving your body to adjust to the thinner air. Going higher than ten thousand feet, most people feel mild symptoms of Altitude Sickness.

Different forms of Altitude Sickness

There are two types of Acute Mountain Sickness. HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary edema) and HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema).

HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema): HAPE is a situation when excess fluids are produced in the patient’s lung. This causes breathlessness, fatigue, and feels like suffocation.

HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema): In High Altitude Cerebral Edema, AMS creates excess fluids in the patient’s brain causing brain swelling and causing confusion, and improper vision.

Is Altitude sickness Fatal?

Yes, if not taken properly and safety measures, AMS can be fatal. Normally climbing above ten thousand feet, most people somehow feel some symptoms of AMS. With proper planning, we could overcome AMS. However, we have described AMS in 3 different categories.

Mild AMS: Normally 75% of travelers traveling above 2400 meters will somehow experience the symptoms of Altitude sickness. Mild headaches and fatigue are normal. So don’t worry, listen to your guide.

Moderate AMS: If you ignore the previous symptoms of AMS you may suffer more. You may experience migraine-type ko headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Consult your guide and descend as much as possible. Drink plenty of hot liquid.

Severe AMS: If patients experience short breath, constant vomiting, and cannot walk or decide properly don’t waste time. Descend him as much as possible and as fast as possible and seek medical care.

What are the symptoms of Altitude Sickness:

The normal symptom includes mild headache and lightheaded. you will feel nauseous. Weakness, trouble sleeping, and upset stomach are also basic signs of AMS. More severe symptoms cause you difficulty breathing, coughing, confusion. Also severe headache, nausea, and vomiting.

What should I do In I get High Altitude Sickness?

Trek high, sleep low‘ is the most important safety measure in the Himalayas. If you experience any similar symptoms, don’t hesitate to go down to a lower altitude as fast as possible. Acclimatizing your body is compulsory. Take your time, don’t hurry, and make sure you are drinking plenty of hot drinks, garlic soup if possible.

If your symptoms are mild, you just take rest and drink a lot of hot water. However, if you realize your symptoms getting worse immediately decent minimum of 1,500-2,000 feet right away. Never ignore any symptoms, talk to your guide. Acute Mountain Sickness can be fatal if the correct decision cannot be made on time.

We recomend to carry Acetazolamide (Diamox). Consult with your doctor before traveling to Nepal and ask prescription for Diamox. Diamox is taken 2 times (125-250 mg) per day if you experience any AMS symptoms.

How to prevent Altitude Sickness?

Resting your body properly as you go above is the best way to avoid AMS. All of our Trekking and Climbing packages are well tried and tested for many years, and we emphasize taking proper acclimatization. All our packages going to High Altitude in Nepal, Tibet, or Bhutan, includes proper acclimatization days, where you can rest your body on high-altitude air pressure.

Don’t rush to complete the trekking rather than enjoy the moment, walk slowly, and take your time. Drink plentiful or hot water, soup especially garlic soup is best and tasty as well.

We recommend avoiding alcohol or tobacco or any sort of drugs or sleeping pills at higher altitudes.

Always remember “Trek High and Sleep low”.

Learn more about Acute Mountain Sickness.

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