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Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness is a change in a body due to high altitude, a decrease in atmospheric pressure makes breathing difficult due to less oxygen. Mainly, it happens above 3300 m (10,000 ft). This is a dangerous hazard that threatens the lives of trekkers if symptoms are ignored.

Signs and symptoms

  • Headache/Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Sleepy but can’t sleep
  • Drunken Gait, Delirious
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Reduced urine output

Prevention

Avoiding high altitude sickness is always preferred. A trekker needs to follow these steps:

  • Acclimatization
  • Do not make a rapid ascent
  • Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills and smoking
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Do not carry more than 10 kg
  • Climb higher, sleep lower
  • If Over 3000 m, ascend only 330 m a day
  • Never travel alone

Treatment

  • Decent immediately
  • Provide oxygen cylinders
  • Gamow bags
  • Diamox (125g) before dinner

Four Golden Rules

These are the rules for preventing altitude sickness:

  • Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness.
  • If you have mild symptoms do not proceed higher.
  • If there are worsening symptoms descend immediately.
  • Do not leave your team member behind if attempting a climb.

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