How to deal with acute mountain sickness during my future trek in the Himalayas?
If acute mountain sickness (often abbreviated as mountain sickness) can occur during a hike in the Alps, it is more and more frequent when the altitude increases. Thus during a prolonged stay at more than 3000m, 75% of people will experience symptoms, generally mild, of mountain sickness. We are not equal in the face of altitude sickness and the reasons why some are more or less prone to it are not well known. During a trek in the Himalayas, the altitude can easily vary between 3,000 and 5,500 meters, altitude sickness will most likely be part of it. In any case, here are some tips to reduce the risks.
5 tips to reduce the risk of acute mountain sickness
Preparation ! If physical fitness is not directly related to acute mountain sickness, it is better to train effectively before embarking on a trek. Good training does not prevent altitude sickness, but your body will find it easier to manage certain symptoms. If you are exhausted from your trek, this fatigue will complicate everything.
Pace ! Climb gradually to help your body acclimate to an acceptable pace. At altitude, do not hesitate to walk more gently than usual.
Beverage ! Hydration is the best medicine for many problems. Drinking plenty of water will help you deal with altitude sickness. 4L per day of effort is a good start. Alcohol has rather an opposite effect, limit your consumption.
Energy ! The altitude can kill your appetite but without energy you won’t do much. So find what your stomach is willing to swallow
Accompaniement ! Consult your doctor before your departure, you will discuss with him possible risk factors and he will possibly prescribe you Diamox or another comparable medicine. These help to fight mountain sickness. Once there, let your guide or other members of your group know if any symptoms occur.
But what symptoms are we talking about?
The mildest symptoms can lead to more serious complications. They should therefore not be ignored. This list is not exhaustive and only one of these symptoms can be a harbinger of a complication. Headaches are the most common symptoms. The most effective remedy for all these manifestations of altitude sickness is to lose altitude. Faced with headaches, your usual medications may be sufficient. If they are not, do not hesitate to discuss with a doctor. Some insurance companies, for example, offer remote consultations.
Acute Mountain Sickness (light to moderate)Nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, stuffy ears, fatigue, lack of appetite, discomfort, increased heart rate, insomnia.High Altitude Pulmonary EdemaChest pressure, dry cough, shortness of breath, fever, nose bleeds, malaise, palpitations, feeling of choking, unusual skin coloring, extreme tiredness.High Altitude Cerebral EdemaLoss of consciousness, confusion, hypertension, shortness of breath, fever, hallucinations, hypersensitivity to light, memory loss, weakness, coma.High altitude edemas are serious manifestations of Acute Mountain Sickness, if not treated quickly, they can be fatal.
To learn more about the subject, this book by Pascal Daleau is the reference. About the FFME, it has established a grid for simplified self-diagnosis .
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