Altitude Sickness

ALTITUDE Sickness:

Altitude Sickness is a common concern while trekking into the high Himalayan region. Usually, the effect of the altitude can be seen after 3000m with lack of oxygen from low air pressure. The Rapid Ascend, dehydration and Hypothermia will also help to get sickness. We have rated three different level of the Altitude Sickness;

1). AMS - Acute Mountain Sickness: The initial symptoms of Acute mountain sickness will manifest itself in headache, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue/tiredness, Lost of appetite, Disturbance in sleeping which is mild symptoms that will make like hangover/not feeling well.  You don’t need to worry much into this symptom, this can be avoided after slow ascend or resting into the same elevation.

2. HAPE - High Altitude Pulmonary Edema:

This second level of the sickness may get water in the lungs with the symptoms of increasing Headche, wish to vomiting or vomiting, diarrhea, Dizziness’, Breathing hard, severe cough (dry or Productive), increasing tiredness/weakness, high pulse, Fatigue while walking, Blueness of the face, Lips, Fingers nails which means inability to circulate the Oxygen into the blood. If these symptoms occur, you shouldn’t ascend into the higher, you better to take medicine & rest/stay into the same altitude for extra night. You need to listen the sickness & if it is not improving or feeling same, you need to descend into the lower.

3. Hace - High Altitude Cerebral Edema 

The final level is a extreme stage of altitude sickness with the symptoms of worsening headache & Vomiting, mental confusion, swelling hand & face, walking like drunk, irritable, unconsciousness or coma. If these serious symptoms appear, you need to get into the hospital as soon as possible either by heli-copter or by other possible arrangements.

DECISION MAKING

1. Find out the main problem i.e. at altitude. Assume all problems are Altitude Sickness unless proven otherwise.
2. If it is an altitude problem with mild symptoms, stay at the same altitude until the symptoms are completely gone. Take an Aspirin tablet, try to go up but listen to your body. If symptoms are worsening, descend into the lower.

PREVENTION
a. Acclimatization: - After a 1000m. ascent, stay one more night for acclimatization.
b. Do not make RAPID ASCENT; don't go too fast too high.
c. Listen your body & Let them more comfortable & rest more than usual.
d. Don’t take alcohol, Narcotic Drugs, sleeping pills and smoking.
e. Drink more fluid 3-4ltrs a day… clean, boiled or treated water/tea/coffee/soup/juice etc.
f. Do not carry heavy packs, 10 - 12 Kilograms is ok.
g. Climb higher sleep lower.
h. Over 3000m, 300m. Ascent a day.
i. Do not travel alone.

TREATMENT

Medicine: DESCENT is the best medicine however there are few medicine which is helpful when suffering; Oxygen, Diamox…for AMS 125mg. Before dinner, for sleeping problem if feeling suffocated, Nafedipine for HAPE, Steroids/Dexamethasone for HACE, Hyperbolic Bag - Gamow Bag

IMPORTANT: Go up slowly with taking your own pace, Don’t let your body in the cold, Do not leave your team member behind unattended, either trekker or porter, Drink plenty of fluids (at least 3 liters per day), Get all information about Altitude Sickness before your trekking tour that will make you confident to make your tour successful.

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