Acute Mountain Sickness in Tibet
What are the symptons of a high altitude sickness?
Loss of appetite
Dizziness, light headedness, confusion
Weakness, fatigue, lassitude, heavy legs
Slight swelling of hands and face
Breathlessness or irregular breathing
Less urine output
Whot gets the altitude sickness ?
There are no clear-cut factors such as age, gender, or physical condition that correlate with the vulnerability to altitude sickness. Some people are more vulnerable and others are not. We would rather say that the chances of getting the sickness is equal for everybody but you can prevent it or minimize it if you follow the precautionary measures. But certainly, those who are physically weak, heavy smokers or drug users, the patients of pulmonary and cardiac complaints, those who are not taking any physical exercises or have not been before in higher altitudes are likely to have more chances of getting the sickness. Saying this, its also been found that highly experienced mountain guides have been found sick sometime.
Prevention of Altitude Illness?
Prevention of altitude illnesses falls into two categories, proper acclimatization and preventive medications. Below are a few basic guidelines for proper acclimatization.
- Please try not to strain yourself and avoid excessive working before taking Tibet tours.
- Take the prescribed medication before reaching Tibet and continue to take the medication upon arrival there.
- Avoid drinking coffee or alcohol, and taking sleeping pills in the high altitude areas.
- Drink plenty of water or tea.
- Eat high-carbohydrate foods (rice, pasta, cereal) while avoiding fatty stuff.
- Avoid active movements and try to relax in the first one or two days upon arrival at the high altitude areas.
- Diamox (Acetazolamide) have been found helpful. It allows you to breathe faster so that you metabolize more oxygen, thereby minimizing the symptoms caused by poor oxygen supply. Since it takes a while for Diamox to have an effect, it is advisable to start taking it 24 hours before you go to altitude and continue for at least five days at higher altitude. The recommendation of the Himalayan Rescue Association Medical Clinic is 125 mg, twice a day (morning and night) but you are recommended to consult your physician for the prescription.
Tibetan herbs are still good preventive and treatment effects for AMS. Honjingtian (Rhodiola Eoccinea) may help sleep at high altitude and thus increase oxygenation at night.
Before you go to Tibet.
Get as fit and healthy as possible, both physically and psychologically. Visitors having record of heart, lung, other organ problems or anemia should consult their doctor before making the decision to visit Tibet.
Who can't go to Tibet?
Suggest who suffered from high blood pressure and severe heart disease not travel to Tibet.
Before you go to Tibet
Seek advice from people who have similar experiences. The most important thing is that you should never be nervous or worried about your trip. Regard the trip to Tibet like a trip to any other cities. You should always be optimistic.
If you have respiratory problems, we advise you to postpone your trip till you are fully recovered.
A thorough physical examination is necessary. If you have problems like anemia or hypertension, or suffer from heart problems and other illness of lungs, liver or kidney, you should not go to Tibet.
You need to bring enough water or drinks and fruits. Snacks with high caloric content, like chocolate, will come in handy.
When you are in Tibet
Rest right after your arrival. You should not do anything strenuous on the first day. Brisk walking and running are not advised. We suggest that you do not smoke nor drink alcohol too. Do not eat too much for dinner.
It quite often happens that people feel short of breath. If it is not serious, please do not rely on oxygen equipment all the time so that you can acclimate yourself to the high altitude as early as possible.
Do not take showers or bathes too frequently especially on your first night in Tibet. This will help you avoid catching severe colds.
If you feel chilly or feel very uncomfortable, you need to tell your guide about this. You guide could send you to the best hospital available in the area.
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