How to prevent Altitude Sickness in Trekking?
HIGH ALTITUDE
28 May 2019

“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing”- Barry Finlay

Are you the one who is in love with the mountains like us? There is something captivating about these mountains. Maybe it’s their high and magnificent presence or the preliminary allure and aura that attracts when you cast your eyes on it. But the most soul-satisfying moment is getting that sense of triumph after climbing one. Now that summers are in full swing and most of us are looking out for a break from our daily boring routine to detoxify our burdensome mind, body, and soul. Many of you must have come across the number of trekking advertisements by different travel companies. Summers are definitely the best time of the year to enjoy trekking, as the weather is not too harsh and warm and there is a great sight of flora everywhere. Though high mountains offer some of the most remarkable trekking opportunities but it also brings certain inherent risks with it, the most common is Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). In its most generous form, it can hinder your vacation plans but sometimes its severe manifestations can be devastating. Though, there is nothing to worry because it is a sickness that can be prevented entirely if some basic primary precautions are followed before and during the trek. If you feel headache, faintness, nausea, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping and extreme lethargy, it’s time to be a little careful as these are the early symptoms of altitude sickness. Advanced or severe symptoms comprise a fast pulse, loss of balance, acute headache, vomiting, irrational behaviour, and persistent cough. Take a look at some of the ways through which you can protect yourself from getting altitude sickness

1) Acclimatize Yourself:

Adapting to altitude is the first and foremost thing one should do before starting a trek. If you are flying directly, give your body at least a day to adapt according to the changing environment. It’s highly suggested that trekkers should give themselves at least two days to reach an 8,000- to 10,000-foot elevation, and then restrict their daily ascents to 1,000-1200 feet, to give the body a better chance to adapt. Make sure not to go too high too fast. Acclimatization is one of the best ways to avoid symptoms of altitude sickness. Do remember that age, gender and even your level of fitness plays an important role, so take your time and pay attention to your body needs

2) Climb High But Sleep Low

It’s a golden rule most climbers follow,  as the rule goes, sleep at a lower elevation to which you have climbed during the day. This is because altitude sickness generally becomes worse at night while sleeping. It is held that when trekking above 9000ft, one should not increase its sleeping altitude by more than 950 ft per day. Though this is a traditional estimate followed by old climber’s, seeing the probable dangers of AMS, these could be taken as useful standards for all those are new to high altitude trekking. So, if you want to prevent yourself,  climb high during the day but return to a lower altitude to sleep.

3) Keep Yourself Hydrated

Hydration is one of the key ways to keep the body function smoothly at high altitudes. Start drinking at least 3 litres of water per day as soon as you reach altitude. Increase the quantity once you hit the track. As you ascend, the air would become dry and thin and temperature would dip down but this is the time you should not make the mistake of not drinking enough water. A good way to monitor whether a body is sufficiently hydrated or not is checking the color of your urine. The clearer the better. Make sure to keep the color as close to colorless as possible.

4) Medications And First Aid Kit

Your first aid box should be your companion while you trek to the higher altitudes. There are certain medicines, equipment’s, and essentials that should make their way to your first aid box. Other than carrying your regular medicines, don’t forget to keep acetazolamide, formerly known as Diamox as it helps you to acclimatize faster( you need to have a prescription from your doctor to get it). There are certain medicines that help you acclimatize faster. It’s also necessary to know that you can still get AMS even after taking acetazolamide. As soon as you start having these symptoms, get yourself to a lower altitude. Some people may even suffer from shortness of breath, to prevent that situation don’t forget to carry MyOxy portable oxygen can that comes with an inbuilt mask and help in providing relief from altitudes effects like hypoxia, cold, severe dehydration

5) Avoid Alcohol and Smoking

Limit your intake of both alcohol and smoking while trekking at high altitudes as they increase dehydration which may augment both Altitude Sickness as well as hypothermia. Avoid as far as possible or limit your intake. Smoking hinders the capacity of your lungs to send out oxygen to the body and may make the conditions severe.

So, if you’re planning to travel to higher altitudes, make sure to have full knowledge of how to prevent and treat altitude sickness. These measures may help you in preventing the situation but these are not guaranteed ways of preventing altitude sickness. While going on high altitudes or on long air journeys, do carry your MyOxy can for the following reasons:

We believe that lack of oxygen should not limit you from living the high life- undertaking adventurous trekking or religious pilgrimage. Now you can free yourself from a load of those heavy tanks or long tubing by choosing MyOxy as it is lightweight and easy to carry. It is easy to use. All you have to do is to place your chin on the surface of the mask and press the trigger with your hand or chin. The small, lightweight and portable MyOxy Can comes with an inbuilt mask that fits in your bag easily. This affordable product has no joints that help in avoiding explosion and make it completely safe. It will reduce the side effects of high altitude like dizziness, breathlessness, helps in speedy muscle recovery and improves physical performance for climbing.

If you have any prevailing medical conditions, like heart problems, breathing issues, asthma or diabetes, do consult your doctor before traveling. As these conditions may result in additional complications. 

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