“Remember that time spent on a rock climb isn’t subtracted from your life span.” – Will Niccolls
Acute mountain sickness, commonly known as high altitude sickness, might develop during the adjustment to the changes in air quality at higher elevations. It mostly happens at about 8,000 feet, or 2,438 meters, above sea level.
Altitude sickness may occur once you jaunt to a high altitude too quickly. Breathing becomes troublesome because you are not able to soak up the maximum amount of oxygen. Age, sex or physical fitness have no bearing on your probability of obtaining altitude sickness. Just because you haven’t had it before does not imply you will not develop it on another trip.
Symptoms of High Altitude Sickness
Symptoms of altitude sickness typically develop between 6-24 hours once reaching altitudes greater than 3,000m (9,842 feet) above sea level.
Symptoms are close to those of a bad hangover. They include:
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid pulse or heartbeat
The symptoms are usually worse at night when individuals with altitude sickness reside at higher elevations, the symptoms can become more severe and further affect the lungs, heart, and nervous system. When this happens, symptoms may include:
- Chest tightness
- Decreased consciousness
- Paleness/skin discoloration due to the lack of oxygen
Preventing Altitude Sickness
Here are some things you can do to avert yourself from acquiring altitude sickness.
Your body wants about 2-3 days of slowly going higher so as to regulate the changes. Avoid flying or driving directly to high altitudes. Instead, go up higher day by day, stop to rest, and continue the next day. If you’ve to fly or drive, choose a lower altitude to remain at for 24 hours before going all the way up. When traveling on foot, design your trip up with stopping points at lower elevations before reaching your final destination. Try to advance no more than 1,000 feet each day, and plan a rest day for every 3,000 feet you go higher.
2) Eat Carbs
It’s rare we are told to eat additional carbohydrates. But once you’re at a higher altitude, you require extra calories. So pack a plethora of healthy snacks, including lots of whole grains.
3) Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol, cigarettes, and medications like sleeping pills could make altitude sickness symptoms worse. Avoid drinking, smoking, or taking sleeping pills throughout your trip to higher altitude. If you want to have a drink, wait at least 48 hours to give your body time to adjust before adding alcohol into the mix.
4) Drink Water
Staying hydrous is also vital to prevent altitude sickness. Drink water regularly during your climb.
5) Take it easy
Climb at a pace that’s comfortable for you. Don’t attempt to go too quick or engage in exercise that’s too tiring.
6) Sleep Lower
Altitude sickness typically gets worse at night when you are sleeping. It’s a decent plan to try and do a higher climb during the day and then come back to a lower altitude to sleep, particularly if you intend on ascending more than 1,000 feet in a day.
Treating Altitude Sickness
If you think you have altitude sickness:
- Stop and rest where you are
- Don’t go any higher for a minimum of 24-48 hours
- If you’ve got a headache, take medicine
- If you’re feeling sick, take an anti-sickness medication
- Make sure you’re drinking abundant water
- Avoid alcohol
- Don’t smoke
- Avoid exercise
MyOxy is India’s first FDA approved Medicinal Grade Pure Oxygen with I.P. 99%. It is recommended by leading pharmacists to carry MyOxy when you go hiking, or anywhere higher than the normal altitude you are used to. This portable oxygen can for hiking acts as a treatment to altitude sickness.
Here are some points you ought to detain in mind:
- Tell your travel companions how you’re feeling, even if your symptoms are mild – there’s a danger your judgement can become clouded
- You can continue to go up with care once you feel you’re completely recovered
- If you do not feel any better after 24 hours, you ought to go down a minimum of 500m (about 1,600 feet)
- Don’t plan to climb again until your symptoms have entirely disappeared. After 2-3 days, your body should have adjusted to the altitude and your symptoms should disappear
- See a doctor if your symptoms do not improve or worsens