• Mountain Guide Trekking in Nepal: Comprehensive online guide to adventure holiday!
  • +977 98510 36910 (Ram)
Altitude sickness medication

Altitude sickness medication

Altitude sickness medication

We  would suggest getting a prescription for this before you leave for trekking in mountains of Nepal, and decide whether or not you’re going to take it on the trek once you’ve reached the appropriate elevation. This way you  can see how your body feels. That being said, this medication is preventative, not recuperative, so you do need to make your decision on whether sooner rather than later.

We brought it but didn’t end up taking it. We grew up in a high elevation, and my body has been exposed to high elevation for a while but if you have little to no experience with high elevations, you will definitely want to bring this. Always good to be prepared!

Traveler’s diarrhea antibiotics

Also something good to just have on hand in case you get chronic symptoms, as trekking all day is difficult when you are having stomach issues. I got insurance through World Nomads. They have an “Explore Package” that is decently priced and provides coverage on more extreme injuries that could occur while trekking, emergency helicopter evacuations necessary for such events as altitude sickness, and typical traveling issues such as stolen or lost items, missed or cancelled flights, etc.



Altitude sickness symptoms and prevention

Many people throughout the world work at high altitudes. Their bodies have adjusted or acclimatized to the higher altitude over a long period of time. If trekking you may not have as long to acclimatize so it’s very important to be aware of some of the symptoms surrounding high altitude trekking. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) common symptom: Headache Poor appetite Nausea (feeling sick) Vomiting Fatigue (feeling tired) Dizziness Poor sleep or sleep disturbance Many people trekking will experience some form of AMS. The important thing to note is if the symptoms are getting worse? If they are getting worse then descending back 500m-1000m in altitude at sleeping level is recommended until acclimatization can occur. High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE) is caused by brain swelling and can kill very quickly if not treated common symptoms include:

Severe headache Mood changes (angry, laziness) Clumsiness increase Feeling confused Blurred vision Constant vomiting Treat these symptoms seriously. If a person exhibits the above and connot perform routine tasts like touching a finger to their nose with their eyes closed or simple artimetic  take action immediately. Do not leave a person with HACE systems unattended. Descend immediately (even in the middle of the night). Give cylinder oxygen or use a pressure bag if available (rarely found on tasks in Nepal). Give dexamethasone or acetazolomide treatments if available. Descend!!! People can die within one hours of developing these symptoms Descend to a lower altitude immediately. High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE) is caused by fluid collecting in the lungs and can kill quickly common symptoms include: When ascending don’t rush – go slowly and let your body adapt to high altitude and avoid many of the complications that can occur Trouble breathing coughing Feeling tired Froth saliva or spit Blood in saliva or spit Lips, tongue or nails become blue Treat these symptoms seriously. Is the person having difficulty catching their breath? Are they still breathless even when resting? Can you hear a wet or cracking sound from their chest (listen from their back between the shoulder blades)? If yes to any of these  symptoms than take action immediately. Do not leave a person with HAPE symptoms unattended. Descend immediately (even in the middle of the night).

Give cylinder oxygen or use a pressure bag if available (rarely found on treks in Nepal). Give nifedipine or acetazolomide treatments if available. Descend!!! A person can have AMS, HACE and HAPE all together or separately. Do be aware and take immediate action. Someone’s life  will depend upon it! Preventing altitude sickness Remember altitude sickness can take several or more then one form. Being prepared before you go trekking will help many of these symptoms from manifesting. However they are not a guarantee and you should always be aware of the symptoms and what to do should they arise. Be prepared for altitude sickness before you go Do have a full medical check-up 6 months before embarking on a trek. Be sure to consult with a qualified medical practitioner about your individual needs when at altitude. Purchase any recommended medicines from a pharmacy your doctor recommend. If traveling with children be sure to take them to a doctor and remember to adjust emergency treatment medicine for their body size.

Learn the symptoms of AMS, HACE and HAPE. Get fit before you travel at altitude. Reproductive organs and pregnancy at high altitude If you have heavy periods consult with you physician about iron supplements due to altitudes effect on red blood cells which carry iron. There might be an increase of blood clots due to some contraceptive pills. Please consult with your physician if taking contraceptive measures. Trekking at high altitude when pregnant is not recommended. Pre-existing medical conditions at high altitude If you have pre-existing medical condition or are currently taking any medicine you should consult with your physician about trekking at high altitude. They will advise you in any side effects or alternative treatments you may need to take. Contact leans wearers might consider to glasses during high altitude trek. Reasons would include excess dust, grit and possible unsanitary conditions that may effect contact lenses. Prescription glasses and or goggles can be produced. Laser eye surgery patients may suffer from blurred vision at high altitude. It is not recommended to trek at high altitude if you’ve recently had laser treatment for your eyes. Arthritis and joint pain can be aggravated by high altitude.  This is particularly true for the knees, hips and shoulder areas. Seek qualified medical advice about trekking in high altitude long before you r departure date! Minimize some of the effects of AMS by planning beforehand do not cut days from a trek for the sake of your budget. Purchasing comfortable warm sleeping bag and ear plugs for good nights sleep if in shared accommodation.

Consider a reduction or stop drinking coffee/alcohol in the weeks before moving to altitude. Get a proper water treatment solution agreed before trekking. Understand that you will be breathing heavily and more frequently in thinner drier air. This can lead to a blocked/ runny nose, sore/dry throat. Which in turn can a gravate other conditions? Bring absorbent tissues or gloves with a rubber patch to wipe your nose. Creams/lip balm/zinc sun screen for  protection of exposed lip/nose area. People often suffer from ear infections due to a combination of altitude and/or climate changes. Take note and be sure to consult your medical practitioner beforehand for a solution. Do consider a porter for carrying your load if you are carrying too much or feel you are not capable in carrying all your belongings comfortably when on a trek. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance for high altitudes. Many travel insurance companies require notification or additional policies if you are going to high altitudes – be sure to consult with them.

Acclimatization and altitude sickness prevention when trekking drink plenty of fluids (water). Ascend slowly. Be prepared to urinate more throughout the day and night. Eat well and regularly. You will need more sleep, make sure to get it. Party after a trek,  not during it. Wear adequate clothing for a trek. High altitude often means more exposure to the elements. Do wear proper warm clothing in layers. Be aware of wind prevention. Consider exposure to the sun with UV blocking cream and sunglasses. Keep your hands, feet and extremities as dry as possible. Avoid wet boots, socks, gloves or hats. Keep your hands as clean as possible during meal times to avoid contamination of food stuffs and possible stomach problems which can cause dehydration problems at altitude not to mention other issues. Keep a note of your urine and urination. You should be urinating more frequently then normal both due to altitude and from an increase in water consumption. Dark urine is one sing you are not drinking enough. Drink plenty of fluids! Make sure to understand the symptoms of AMS, HACE and HAPE not just for yourself but others around you.