Tips of Prevent High Altitude Sickness in Trekking in Nepal

  • 2024-05-04
  • by Amrit Chhetri

Tips of Prevent High Altitude Sickness in Trekking in Nepal

When trekking in Nepal with Himalayan Asia Treks, it's essential to take precautions to prevent high altitude sickness. Firstly, acclimatize gradually by ascending slowly, allowing your body to adjust to the altitude. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol. Pack high-energy snacks to maintain your energy levels. Listen to your body and rest if you start experiencing symptoms like headache, nausea, or dizziness. Himalayan Asia Treks' experienced guides can offer valuable advice and support throughout your trek, ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey through the majestic Himalayas.

To prevent high altitude sickness, we suggest drinking plenty of filter water, climbing slowly, taking it easy everything, Medication, trying to sleep at low altitude, and not using smoking and alcohol.

Trekking in high altitudes, such as in Nepal, can be an exhilarating experience, but it's important to take precautions to prevent altitude sickness. Here are some tips to help you prevent high altitude sickness during your trekking adventure:
  • Acclimatize gradually: Give your body enough time to adapt to the altitude by ascending slowly. It's recommended to follow a gradual ascent profile that allows for acclimatization. Climbing too quickly increases the risk of altitude sickness.
  • Choose the right itinerary: Opt for trekking routes that include sufficient rest days for acclimatization. Popular treks like the Everest Base Camp Trek and Annapurna Circuit have well-designed itineraries that incorporate gradual ascent and rest days.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body hydrated. Dehydration can worsen the symptoms of altitude sickness. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeinated beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Maintain a nutritious diet during your trek. Consume foods rich in carbohydrates and avoid heavy meals. Eating a balanced diet helps provide energy and aids in acclimatization.
  • Avoid overexertion: Pace yourself and avoid overexertion while trekking. Take regular breaks to rest and allow your body to adjust to the altitude. Listen to your body and don't push yourself beyond your limits.
  • Avoid sleeping pills and alcohol: Sleeping pills and alcohol can suppress breathing and reduce the body's ability to acclimatize. It's best to avoid them during your trek.
  • Consider medication: Consult with a travel doctor before your trip to discuss the option of taking medication to prevent altitude sickness. Acetazolamide (Diamox) is a common medication prescribed for altitude sickness prevention. However, it's important to note that medication is not a substitute for proper acclimatization.
  • Pay attention to your symptoms: Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness, which can include headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. If you experience any symptoms, it's crucial to descend to a lower altitude and seek medical attention if necessary.
  • Travel with an experienced guide: A knowledgeable guide who is familiar with the region and altitude-related issues can provide valuable guidance and support during your trek. They can help monitor your symptoms and make appropriate decisions regarding your safety.
  • Be prepared for emergencies: Carry a basic first aid kit, including any prescribed medications, and know how to use it. Familiarize yourself with emergency evacuation procedures and have travel insurance that covers high-altitude trekking.
Remember, altitude sickness can affect anyone, regardless of fitness level or previous trekking experience. It's essential to prioritize your safety and take the necessary precautions to prevent and manage altitude sickness during your trek in Nepal.

Table of Contents

About High Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness or mountain sickness refers to an illness that occurs because of the reduction in exact level or amount of oxygen above the sea level, usually ranging from 4,800 feet or 1500meters. Altitude sickness incorporates many problems, including minor headaches and weariness to the life-threatening formation of fluid in the brain or lungs and even fatality while moving from moderate height to high altitudes in Nepal Himalaya Trekking.

The problem occurs whenever a person travels from low altitude to high altitude in less than a single day, like, for instance, more than 8,000 feet. However, depending on the specific health condition of a person, altitude sickness may take place even at low altitudes, i.e., about 4800 feet or 1500meters.

How can I find I am suffering from high altitude?

You may identify that you are suffering from high altitude sickness based on the following early symptoms while in Himalaya trekking in Nepal. Acute mountain sickness-related symptoms usually appear within a few hours of your movement to high altitudes. However, these vary depending solely on the severity of your health condition.

Mild Acute Mountain Sickness

In case you suffer from a mild type of acute mountain sickness or high altitude sickness, you may often experience a few mild symptoms-

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Muscular aches
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Appetite loss
  • Irritability
  • Swelling of feet, hands, and face
  • The rapid rate of heartbeat
  • Breathing shortness in combination with physical exertion

Severe Acute Mountain Sickness 

Severe cases associated with acute mountain sickness may result in relatively more intense symptoms, affecting the lungs, heart, muscles, and nervous system. These severe symptoms include-

  • Confusion because of swelling in the brain
  • Breathing shortness due to the presence of fluid in the lungs
  • Congestion in the chest
  • Coughing
  • Skin discoloration and pale complexion
  • Inability to move or walk and lack of physical balance
  • Social withdrawal.

Types of altitude sickness

Altitude sickness may be of three different types, which include

AMS, i.e., Acute Mountain Sickness

AMS, i.e., Acute Mountain Sickness, constitutes the mildest form of the altitude sickness problem. In this case, trekkers may experience a hangover type of feeling and suffer from headaches, dizziness, nausea, and muscular aches.

HAPE, i.e., High Altitude Pulmonary Edema

HAPE, i.e., High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, involves the formation of fluid within the lungs, which may be dangerous and life-threatening for trekkers.

HACE, i.e., High Altitude Cerebral Edema

HACE, i.e., High Altitude Cerebral Edema, involves the most severe type of altitude sickness and takes place whenever there is fluid in the human brain. It is most life-threatening, and you require immediate medical attention from the doctor.

How to prevent high altitude sickness in Trekking in Nepal

Most of the time, trekkers may suffer from high altitude sickness while trekking in Nepal. However, one can avoid this problem by taking some simple and easy steps, including the following.

Drink 5 Liters of Water in a Day

Drinking approximately 5 liters of water in a day is the simplest possible way to avoid high altitude sickness. This hiking is accessible at low elevations when the temperature is high, while it becomes burdensome when the temperature goes down, and individuals perspire less. After having a few liters of water, one can feel adequately hydrated, but as the body does extra work with less oxygen, it needs more water. Hence, you should essentially force down to consume 5 liters of water in a day without any exception.

Strictly Avoid Huge Elevation Gains in a Single Day

High altitude trekkers should avoid significant elevation gains in a single day, i.e., not more than 1,500 vertical feet. Unfortunately, most individuals have a common misconception associated with high altitude trekking because physical condition judges the ability of one's body to fend off the problem of altitude sickness.

Because of this, most people in good shape or good physical fitness overlook the rules related to acclimatization and move too high at the fastest possible speed and thereby face problems. Hence, the itinerary designed by our Himalayan Asia Trek factor altitude gains and a few hiking days consequently end up relatively early. Therefore, we always recommend you embrace your pace, rest the legs, and stay hydrated regularly.

Sleep Low to Climb High

You may acclimatize in a better way if you opt to expose yourself to high altitudes but return to low height for sleep. Once you set up your camp, you should scramble up to a nearby hill, scope out from the scenery, and head yourself downward to have rest during the nighttime.

When you get a rest day, you may grab the opportunity to hike to higher elevations and return to hundred vertical feet. At high altitudes, i.e., at about 10,000 feet or higher, this rule becomes essential. This thing will happen because; your body learns to cope up with considerably less amount of oxygen.

Eat Healthy and Maintain Your Carbohydrate Levels

Your body does more work than you usually do. Thus, you should make sure to stay nourished and intake massive carbohydrate levels. The best thing is that we provide you with necessary snacks, including chocolates, nuts, and other essential nutritious foods to keep trekkers nourished while trekking at heights.

Take Altitude Sickness Medicine in Advance

You should make sure to take altitude sickness medicine in advance to control your symptoms. In addition, you should consult with the doctor before its use.

  • Ibuprofen to treat symptoms related to mild altitude sickness, which include nausea and headaches.
  • Diamox or Acetazolamide acts as a respiratory stimulant to help in metabolizing a higher amount of oxygen in the human body, particularly during the nighttime. It accelerates the acclimatization process and acts as a prophylactic, especially by making unavoidably significant ascents.

Therefore, with some essential tips, you should easily overcome the problem of acute altitude sickness.

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