Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a medical condition that can occur when a person quickly ascends to high altitudes, typically above 8,000 feet (2,438 meters). At higher altitudes, the air pressure and oxygen levels are lower, which can cause various symptoms as the body adjusts to the new environment.
Symptoms of altitude sickness can include headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and difficulty sleeping. In severe cases, altitude sickness can lead to High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), which can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
To prevent altitude sickness, it's important to acclimate gradually by spending a few days at intermediate elevations before going to higher elevations. It's also recommended to stay well hydrated, avoid alcohol and sleeping pills, and to avoid overexertion. Treatment for altitude sickness may include oxygen therapy, descent to lower altitude, or medication such as acetazolamide.
If you plan to travel to high altitudes, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional and be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness.
Altitude Sickness occurs at high altitude. The decrease in atmospheric pressure makes difficult to breathe due to less oxygen. Mainly, it happen above 3300m(10,000ft). This is the most dangerous hazard that threatens trekkers. Every year, more trekkers are victims of altitude sickness because they do not take care of themselves properly when in the mountains.
Signs and symptoms.
- tiredness/fatigue and Delirious.
- Sleepy but can’t sleep.
- Drunken Gait.
- Loss of Appetite.
- Slight soiling of hands and face.
- Reduce urine output.
Trekkers must be prepared and understand the symptoms. Also, there are things you can do to help prevent altitude sickness. They are the following.
- Acclimatize properly.
- Do not make a rapid ascent.
- Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills and smoking.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Do not carry more than 10 kg.
- Climb higher sleep lower.
- Over 3000m ascend 330m a day.
- Never travel alone.
- Provide oxygen canisters.
- Gamow bags.
- Diamox pills (125g) before dinner.
Four Golden Rules.
These are the rules to prevent altitude sickness.
- Be aware of altitude sickness symptoms. If you start to have symptoms, try a prevention method.
- If you have mild symptoms do not proceed higher.
- If symptoms worsen descend immediately.
- Do not leave your team member behind unattended.