Mt. Everest (8848m) is not just the world’s tallest mountain, but the highest elevation in the world. One of the major challenges at such altitude is low air pressures. Dealing with high Altitude Sickness during Everest Base Camp trek and other high altitude treks is difficult. The altitude normally starts to show its effect from 4,000 meters above. Moving higher, the air keeps on getting thinner and at the base camp, the oxygen level falls by almost 50 perfect. Sometimes our body fails to adopt at such condition and trekkers suffers from altitude sickness. Plus the wind, strong sun, cold, and dry air creates a hostile atmosphere for the trekkers on the high altitude. Here is how to Prevent Altitude Sickness on Everest Base Camp. You can use the same technique to prevent Altitude Sickness on Annapurna Base Camp and any other high altitude trek.
- 1 Types of Altitude Sickness
- 2 Symptoms of Altitude Sickness
- 3 Prevention and Treatment of Altitude Sickness:
Types of Altitude Sickness
Altitude sickness is of three types:
Acute Motion Sickness:
When one part of your balance-sensing system (sensory nerves, inner ears, and eyes) senses that your body is in motion but the other parts are not its Acute Motion Sickness.
High altitude pulmonary Edema (HAPE):
HAPE occurs when the lungs are filled with fluids making breathing very difficult.
High altitude cerebral Edema (HACE):
HACE also occurs when fluids build upon the brain.
Cause of Altitude Sickness:
Obviously, the decreasing amount of oxygen intake causes altitude sickness.
The air is made of 21% of oxygen in the atmosphere which remains constant even at higher altitude. But due to decreases density of the atmosphere, when you take a breath, the oxygen availability in the air also becomes less.
Symptoms of Altitude Sickness
If your body adjusted to the higher altitude, it will behave normally. But if your body failed to produce enough RBC then you will face the symptoms Altitude Sickness.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) Symptoms:
- Poor appetite
- Poor sleep or sleep disturbance
High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)
- Severe headache
- Increase in Clumsiness
- Mood swings
- Vision is blurred
These symptoms should be taken seriously and treated equally. If you leave a person with HACE it can be life-threatening.
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) symptoms
- Constant Coughing
- Trouble in Breathing
- Foam in Saliva
- Blueness in lips, tongue or nails
- Blood is seen in Saliva
You should not leave these symptoms unattended- descend immediately and provide medical treatment.
Prevention and Treatment of Altitude Sickness:
Avoid Energetic Activities:
Avoid strenuous activity that it will induce altitude sickness- immediately minimize the exhausting activity you’re doing.
During the trek, lower the weight in your backpack and do not to take part in optional side treks to the glaciers.
Drink a lot of pure water to stay hydrated and completely alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates your body and worsens the symptoms of AMS. Drink as much water as you can salt through food or rehydration powders.
Keep your hands during meal times with sanitizers and do not contaminate your food with dirty hands. The contaminated food causes stomach problems which result in dehydration.
Use of medicines like Diamox or Acetazolamide tablets helps your body to adjust to high carbon dioxide level due to the higher altitudes.
125mg to 250mg of doses two times a day starting two days before the trek is recommended to avoid the sickness. You should continue the dosage of 3 days when you reach the highest altitude.
Reproductive organs & pregnancy at high altitude:
If you experience heavy periods consult with your physician for iron supplements. Since high altitude effect, RBC which carry the iron, heavy loss of blood can be harmful. Consumption of contraceptive pills can also increase blood clots.
Lastly, the situation can get tricky at higher altitude but you can control it.
Be careful and take care of yourself. Good luck!