Do you love the magnificent nature and adventurous hikes? Then you must have encountered altitude sickness at some point in your life. At higher elevations, your body gets lower oxygen levels than usual. Therefore, you may feel a little dizzy or sick. This condition is known as altitude sickness. The situation is common among hikers who go through a lot of variations in height in a single day. Our body takes time to adjust to changing atmospheric conditions. The sudden changes can disrupt the balance and processes of our body. Therefore, its crucial to know how to prevent altitude sickness before starting your journey to the summit.
Symptoms of Altitude Sickness
Altitude sickness is more common in hikers who go trek 2,500 meters. The symptoms may take a while to unravel and can cause fatal issues. Therefore, it is better to keep the necessary precautions. You should notice the mild symptoms and treat them before things get serious. We will talk about both soft and major symptoms one by one.
Mild Symptoms of Altitude Sickness
- DIzziness and nausea
- Increasing headache
- Shortness of breath
- Less, or no, appetite
- A sudden increase in the rate of heartbeat
Severe Symptoms of Altitude Sickness
- Continuous vomiting and coughing
- Problems in vision, e.g., double vision, blackouts, and confusion
- Chest congestion and heavy breathing even while resting
- Pale or blue skin
It’s better to take preventive measures when you start to feel mild symptoms.
How to Prevent Altitude Sickness
Like I was saying, lack of oxygen levels in the body is the primary cause of altitude sickness. Therefore, the first step you can take is to reduce your actions. If you want to climb higher, give time to your body to adjust accordingly. Ideally, break your journey in small checkpoints. For example, if you are planning to hike 4000 meters, create two checkpoints at 1500 meters each and the leave only 1000 meters for the final day. You will feel refreshed after a night’s rest and adjusted to the oxygen levels.
Water also helps in retaining the oxygen during long workout sessions. Oxygen also moves around the body with the help of water and blood. Therefore, stay hydrated while you trek and forget nausea.
Carbohydrates are a source of instant energy. Therefore, keep some snacks or sweets with you to get an energy boost whenever needed. You can stock up on chocolates, candies, and whole-grain meals.
Avoid Smoking and Alcohol
The ill-effects of smoking and alcohol are not a secret. While the craving to get a drink on a chilly peak is justifiable, you should try to avoid alcohol and smoking. Alcohol and tobacco can cause our oxygen supply to decrease and thus increasing the effect of altitude sickness.
You may also read Health Benefits of Pickle Juice and Recipe Tricks
Spend the Night at Lower Altitude
The oxygen levels tend to drop at higher altitudes at night and may cause trouble in sleeping. You can set your camp at a lower elevation than the peak to stay safe and breathe feely.
Medications to Prevent Altitude Sickness
You can resort to medications if the precautions do not help you prevent altitude sickness. Here are some meds that you can use to cure nausea and breathlessness. However, it’s better to consult a physician before taking any medications.
- Acetazolamide – to cure sickness
- Ibuprofen – for headache
- Paracetamol – for headache and nausea
Here’s a video explaining How to Prevent Altitude Sickness – Best Tricks and Tips for Your Next Hiking Vacation
Predicting your body’s reaction to a particular area is not possible. Therefore, taking precautions is the best help. That’s why we are with this guide on how to prevent altitude sickness. Follow these steps on your next journey and enjoy the trek. Happy hiking.