Acute mountain sickness (AMS) will affect everyone to some degree. This is the body’s natural process in adjusting to less oxygen in the system. As you ascend in altitude the pressure decreases and therefore less oxygen is available for your body. There are many processes that occur, and full acclimatization can take up to two weeks. There are things we can do to mitigate the effects, however, there are also some signs to pay close attention to as AMS can progress to a more serious and life-threatening problem. Staying well hydrated, eating balanced meals including extra simple carbohydrates, and slow acclimatization are three ways to potentially lessen the effects. HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema), and HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) are two ways AMS could progress into a life-threatening situation. Please consult your doctor if your trek will take you into a high altitude region like Langtang, Everest, Annapurna, and Manaslu. The advice here in no way should substitute for your doctors’ recommendations but can be useful information when planning your trek in Nepal. Usually, serious symptoms of altitude sickness do not occur below 3,500 meter, but that is the different person to person and health condition and smoking habits.
What are the symptoms of High Altitude Sickness?
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
- Sleeplessness, headache, and dizziness
- Weakness, confusion and slight swelling of hands and legs
What are the prevention and cures of High Altitude Sickness?
- Do sufficient acclimatization while climbing up over 3000m.
- Climb high sleep low
- Don’t ascend rapidly
- Do not drink alcohols, smoke and don’t take sleeping pills.
- Drink plenty of water
- Wear warm clothes, gloves, and socks
- Descend down as soon as possible if you feel the symptoms
- Trek with guides, which is helpful to avoid the risks and easy to have rescued.