Altitude sickness, also commonly known as mountain sickness, is an illness caused due to decreasing amount of oxygen at above sea level altitudes usually around 4,800 ft. This sickness mainly occurs when individuals travel from lower altitudes to higher altitude in less than one day. There are many signs of altitude sickness, and in general there are three major forms.
- Acute mountain sickness
- HACE (high altitude pulmonary edema)
- HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema)
People who enjoy climbing to higher altitudes for fun, enjoyment, adventure, or to get some fresh air must educate themselves about altitude sickness when planning their trip. Educating themselves before setting off on adventure is important for both their own personal health and safety as well as that of their companions should they become ill.
Common symptoms of altitude sickness
Common symptoms of altitude sickness include nausea, loss of appetite, headache, insomnia, dehydration, swelling of hands and legs, and shortness of breath. While these symptoms may vanish with time, some may worsen by pre-existing conditions or illnesses. Sometimes even life-threatening conditions can occur.
How to avoid altitude sickness?
It is almost impossible to predict who will suffer from altitude sickness and who will not. Even the most in shape of person is not resistant to the effects of low oxygen. If you have experienced high altitude symptoms before, you may know better how to deal with it. It is much easy to prevent altitude sickness than it is to treat it.
Here are a few helpful tips that can work for you.
Take time to adjust to the new altitude.
Gradually ascending to altitude over the course of a day or two is the best way to avoid altitude sickness. Take it slow, spend leisure time checking out the local market and cuisine. Enjoy visiting a town at a lower altitude before arriving at your final destination. Consume enough carbohydrates like bread, cereals and pasta as they can help you avoid altitude sickness.
You should drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated. As there is less oxygen in the environment, your lungs will automatically work harder. It is advised to start drinking water before you even begin your travel to high altitude.
Snack, snack, snack
While you are on the go, eat frequently. You should bring fibrous food so that it stays in your stomach longer. You can also carry chocolates, cookies and protein bars as they will help. Avoid spicy food as it can be problematic for digestion.
Alcohol generally dehydrates your body. You want to avoid dehydration at altitude so, it is obvious you should refrain from drinking alcohol
When you are climbing in altitude, make sure you rest properly. Your body will need rest to acclimate properly. After a day of fun in high altitude make sure you rest your body. Failure to do so may lead to altitude sickness.
To feel your best at altitude, get a full night’s rest in an oxygen-controlled altitude simulation system. It will help you feel much better, wake rested and energized at higher altitudes.