Altitude is a very height level above the sea. If the sea level in a certain place is 100 feet and you are 250 feet above the ground, your altitude above sea level would be 350 feet, and your altitude above ground level would be 250 feet. We can enjoy that the tremendous view from any of the high summit, but also there are risks going to high altitude places for sea-level people, and it’s very important to understand these risks. Alpine Ramble has given some tips and principals at that time, your body can adapt to the decrease in oxygen molecules at a specific altitude. This process is known as acclimatization and generally takes 1-3 days at that altitude.
Altitude Sickness Information
Altitude sickness as known as acute mountain sickness (A.M.S.) in general may occur when people ascend too quickly normally at altitudes of over 2500 meters above sea level. Our company has been ensured the minimal risk of building in rest days into our trekking itineraries. When you are in high elevation place most people will feel some effect of altitude, sleepless, shortness of breath and possibly light-headed, which is fairly very common. Acute mountain sickness is very different and normally involves a severe headache, sickness and you can feel that loss of awareness. In almost every possible case there are enough warning signs to take appropriate action.
Our company only prefers well trained and experienced guides, in field guide will advise you about any health issues and also altitude sickness while you are on trekking if you have any of this then you should tell to your guide our combine, then they will be suggested you have to use medication for Altitude sickness. Before leaving for the trip also we suggest to any of our valuable clients to consult with your Medical Doctor and get advice. The following information gives you an idea about high altitude sickness and how to minimize the effects by yourself.
The stages of altitude sickness and symptoms.
1. Normal AMS Symptoms:
we have mentioned down below following are the normal altitude symptoms. Every trekker will experience some or all of these, no matter how slowly they ascend.
Periods of sleeplessness need more sleep than normal.
Occasional loss of appetite.
Vivid, wild dreams especially at around 2400-3500 meters.
Periodic breathing and running nose.
The need to have a rest and catch your breath frequently while trekking, especially above 3000 meters.
Increasing urination while moving to/at higher altitudes (a good sign).
Mild AMS Symptoms – NEVER GO HIGHER
you should check your oxygen level often while trekking at high altitude; many trekkers in the high valleys of the Himalaya get mild AMS, admit or acknowledge that you are having symptoms. The following symptoms are to be getting altitude sickness.
A mild headache
- A runny nose
- Dry Raspy coughs
- Loss of appetite
- Hard to breath
What we to do if a mild symptom doesn’t go away?
If this symptom doesn’t go away, even more, developing while walking, stop and relax (with your head out of the sun) and drink some fluids. Drink frequently and take 125-250mg Diamox. Diamox generally takes one to four hours to begin alleviating symptoms. Drink more water and consider staying close by.
If symptoms develop in the evening, take 125-250mg Diamox and drink plenty of fluids again.
If symptoms partially go away but are still annoying it is safe to take another 250mg Diamox 6-8 hours later.
If mild symptoms continue getting worse than try descending, descending is better than ascending in the high place, basically staying at the same altitude or going higher will definitely make it worse. You’re here to enjoy trekking not to feel sick. Please make sure and share with us whatever you really feel on the mountain. Our guide will always ready to help you.
Serious AMS Symptoms – IMMEDIATE DESCENT
Persistent, severe headache
Ataxia (loss of coordination, an inability to walk in a straight line, making the sufferer look drunk)
Losing consciousness (inability to stay awake or understand instructions)
Mental confusion or hallucinations
Liquid sounds in the lungs
Very persistent, sometimes watery, cough
Rapid breathing or feeling breathless at rest
Coughing clear fluid, pink phlegm or blood (a very bad sign)
The marked blueness of face and lips
High resting heartbeat (over 130 beats per minute)
Mild symptoms rapidly getting worse
Dangerous cases of AMS
High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)
This is a build-up of fluid around the brain. It is most cases the first five symptoms on the mild and severe lists previously. Coma from HACE can lead to unconsciousness is death within 12 hours from the onset of symptoms, but normally takes 1-2 days to develop. At the first sign of ataxia begin treatment with medication, oxygen, and descent. Usually, 4 to 8mg of dexamethasone is given as a first dose, then 4mg every six hours, Diamox every 12 hours and 2-4 liters /minute oxygen. Descent is necessary but a PAC (portable altitude chamber) bag will often be used first if available.
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)
This is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs and is very serious. It is responsible for all the other mild and serious symptoms and it is often accompanied by a mild fever. By far the treatment is oxygen at 4 liters a minute but using PAC (portable altitude chamber) bag treatment is a good substitute. If there is no PAC bag or oxygen then descent will be life-saving. HAPE can lead to unconsciousness is death very quick.
Prevention of Altitude Illnesses
Prevention of altitude illnesses falls into two categories, proper acclimatization, and preventive medications. Below are a few basic guidelines for proper acclimatization. If possible, don’t fly or drive to high altitude. Start below 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) and walk up.
If you do fly or drive, do not over-exert yourself or move higher for the first 24 hours.
If you go above 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), only increase your altitude by 1,640 feet (500 meters) per day and for every 3,280 feet (1000 meters) of elevation gained, take a rest day.
“Climb high and sleep low.” This is the maxim used by climbers. You can climb more than 1,640 feet (500 meters) in a day as long as you come back down and sleep at a lower altitude.
If you begin to show symptoms of moderate altitude illness, don’t go higher until symptoms decrease.
If symptoms increase, go down, down, down!
Keep in mind that different people will acclimatize at different rates. Make sure all of your party is properly acclimatized before going higher.
Stay properly hydrated and acclimatization is often accompanied by fluid loss, so you need to drink lots of fluids to remain properly hydrated (at least 3-4 quarts per day). Urine output should be copious and clear.
Take it easy; don’t over-exert yourself when you first get up to altitude. Light activity during the day is better than sleeping because respiration decreases during sleep, exacerbating the symptoms. Avoid tobacco and alcohol and other depressant drugs including, barbiturates, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills. These depressants further decrease the respiratory drive during sleep resulting in a worsening of the symptoms. Eat a high carbohydrate diet (more than 70% of your calories from carbohydrates) while at altitude.
The acclimatization process is inhibited by dehydration, over-exertion, and alcohol and other depressant drugs.
Diamox (Acetazolamide) allows you to breathe faster so that you metabolize more oxygen, thereby minimizing the symptoms caused by poor oxygenation. This is especially helpful at night when respiratory drive is decreased. Since it takes a while for Diamox to have an effect, it is advisable to start taking it 24 hours before you go to altitude and continue for at least five days at higher altitude. The recommendation of the Himalayan Rescue Association Medical Clinic is 125 mg. twice a day (morning and night). (The standard dose was 250 mg., but their research showed no difference for most people with the lower dose, although some individuals may need 250 mg.) Possible side effects include tingling of the lips and fingertips, blurring of vision, and alteration of taste. These side effects may be reduced with the 125 mg. dose. Side effects subside when the drug is stopped. Contact your physician for a prescription. Since Diamox is a sulfonamide drug, people who are allergic to sulfa drugs should not take Diamox. Diamox has also been known to cause severe allergic reactions to people with no previous history of Diamox or sulfa allergies. Frank Hubbell of SOLO recommends a trial course of the drug before going to a remote location where a severe allergic reaction could prove difficult to treat.
Dexamethasone (a steroid) is a prescription drug that decreases brain and other swelling reversing the effects of AMS. Dosage is typically 4 mg twice a day for a few days starting with the ascent. This prevents most symptoms of altitude illness. It should be used with caution and only on the advice of a physician because of possible serious side effects. It may be combined with Diamox. No other medications have been proven valuable for preventing AMS.
First Aid Kit
This is the basic list to cover the more common ailments that affect trekkers. Climbing groups, expeditions, and trekkers going to isolated areas will need a more comprehensive kit.
- Bandage for sprains
- Iodine or water filter (optional)
- Moleskin/Second skin – for blisters
- Antiseptic ointment for cuts
- Anti-bacterial throat lozenges (with antiseptic)
- Aspirin/Paracetamol – general painkiller
- Oral rehydration salts
- The broad-spectrum antibiotic (norfloxacin or ciprofloxacin)
- Anti-diarrhoea medication (antibiotic)
- Diarrhea stopper (Imodium – optional)
- Antibiotic for Guardia or similar microbe or bacteria
- Diamox 250/500mg (for altitude sickness)
- Sterile Syringe set (anti-AIDS precaution)
- Gel hand cleaner.