Altitude Sickness usually affects persons who aren’t used to traveling to such high elevations, but it may affect anyone. Even someone who rises on a daily basis might be knocked down a notch. First and foremost, what is altitude sickness? It results from a lack of oxygen at high elevations, since the air becomes thinner as you ascend higher.
THE BIG THREE
There are three categories of altitude sickness.
Acute Mountain Sickness
It is the mildest kind of altitude sickness starts within 12 hours of reaching a high altitude and lasts less than 3 days. It’s on the verge of becoming the second sort of altitude sickness after three days. Its signs and symptoms are more of a nuisance than anything else.
Cerebral Edema at High Altitude
Altitude sickness can be fatal at this stage. This can occur after Acute Mountain Sickness. If the symptoms worsen come back to a lower level and get medical care as soon as possible. Confusion develops in as the symptoms get more acute.
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema
This is the most serious type of pulmonary edema, and it only occurs at elevations of at least 14,000 feet when they face trouble breathing and starts coughing . They should receive oxygen treatment right once and descend as quickly as feasible.
Any altitude sickness that isn’t Acute Mountain Sickness should be treated as soon as possible.
The majority of the time, it happens at random and for no explicable reason. The air becomes thinner at higher elevations, and our bodies do not obtain the oxygen they require.
There are a few factors that might set it off, including:
- Ascending too quickly and without allowing your body to adjust to the shift in oxygen
- Drinking insufficient amounts of water or replacing another liquid for water
- Overexerted yourself during the first twenty-four hours of the ascent.
- Using sedatives or drinking alcohol
- Hypothermia is a condition in which a person becomes cold
- The symptoms usually go away as we become acclimated to the thin air, although they might sometimes grow worse.
SYMPTOMS IN GENERAL
Altitude sickness occurs in a variety of forms, the most common of which are:
- Weakness and/or exhaustion
- An excruciating headache
- Being nauseous Not in the mood to eat
- Nausea, which may result in vomiting
- Having difficulty sleeping or waking up frequently through the night
It’s possible that your lips or fingernails could turn blue, and breathing may sound like someone is crushing paper. If your lungs or brain are affected, you will get disoriented and have difficulty walking straight. The symptoms are not always severe, but they might become so.
New symptoms may appear as altitude sickness progresses to the second or third kind. If your breathing sounds like it’s crumbling paper or if it’s difficult to breathe at all, get medical help right away. At this moment, altitude sickness is on the verge of killing you.
HIGH ALTITUDE CEREBRAL EDEMA SYMPTOMS
That’s when altitude sickness becomes extremely deadly. The following are symptoms to be aware of:
- Any generic signs or symptoms
- Because of exhaustion or respiratory difficulties, you can no longer do routine tasks (such as walking).
- Perplexity is the first sign to seek treatment
- A coma will ensue eventually.
- The ability to coordinate gets severely hampered.
If left untreated, this will worsen the symptoms and eventually result in death.
HIGH ALTITUDE PULMONARY EDEMA SYMPTOMS
The most dangerous of the three types of altitude sickness is this one. It usually uses a similar symptoms, but as the problem worsens, new ones appear. They will consist of the following:
- Fever is a contagious illness.
- A foamy cough followed with a wet cough
- Respirations that gurgle to the point where your breathing sounds like crumpling paper
This is one of the most recent symptoms, and it is quite deadly if left untreated. Even the respiratory system has failed.
HOW TO AVOID IT
If you do any of these things, your altitude sickness might get worse, and it might even turn deadly. Before we get into how to cure and avoid altitude sickness, let’s go over some of the things you should never do.
- Rest is essential, and exercise should be limited to easy strolling. Don’t push yourself too much!
- It’s alright to drink water, but just water. Do not consume alcoholic beverages!
- Increasing the dose might cause modest symptoms to become severe, or even fatal. Do not attempt to climb any higher!
- Give no aspirin to anyone under the age of 20! Ibuprofen and Aleve will help.
- Rest is vital, but if the symptoms are severe, sleeping might exacerbate them. Before falling asleep, always descend or seek help. Don’t sleep if you’re having a rough day!
- Don’t forget to pay attention to your body! It understands what it is capable of and what it is not. Stop when your body’s telling you to stop!
- NEVER let someone who is having moderate or severe symptoms alone! If the symptoms worsen, it’s advisable to descend to a lower elevation.
It might be the difference between life and death if you have someone with you. Hiking alone is perilous in general if you want to go above usual elevations.
ALTITUDE SICKNESS PREVENTION TIPS
There are a few things you may take to lower your risk even if you can’t prevent altitude sickness. Here are a few tips to help you avoid it on your next hike.
Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is crucial on any journey, but it’s especially critical while hiking at higher elevations.
When possible, stay away from salt! Avocados, broccoli, bananas, celery, chocolate, pasta, and grains are some of the greatest things to consume. In fact, almost any fruit or vegetable would be delicious.
If you need to drop to a lower height, there is no guilt in doing so. Take it easy – If it gets difficult to breathe or if you feel overly exhausted, slow down!
Avoid the sun
The sun’s rays get more intense as you climb higher. When it’s hot outside, make sure you’re wearing sunscreen all the time and taking advantage of the shade whenever possible. Check out our guide to the finest hiking caps.
Ascend at a leisurely speed and halt if necessary. Altitude sickness happens when you’re going too high too fast.
One of the easiest way to avoid altitude sickness is to get lots of rest.
Consult your doctor
Your doctor may be able to prescribe drugs to help you avoid altitude sickness.
HOW DO I GET READY?
It’s always a good idea to plan and prepare before going on a hike, but it’s especially important when going to a high altitude. These precautions can either reduce or prevent altitude sickness.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING
Allowing an additional day to avoid falling behind is a good idea in case you need to descend to avoid altitude sickness. This strategy will ensure that the hike runs well and that you do not become frustrated if you have to descend. You should always plan a route that permits you to just climb a small amount each day.
GETTING IN SHAPE CAN ONLY BENEFIT YOU.
People who are physically fit function better when they are sick than those who are unwell. Even the best athletes suffer from altitude sickness, so staying in shape will be beneficial
If you’re in excellent condition, you’ll be better able to help others, especially if you’re descending during an emergency. Check out our article on how to avoid hiking injuries.
GO TO THE DOCTOR
Before trekking at high elevations, any prior ailment should be discussed with a doctor. They will be able to assist you in your preparation as well as provide any drugs you may require.
PREVENTION IN NATURE
There are certain natural cures that can be just as effective as medicine for individuals who do not wish to use it.
Both Gingko Bilboa and Sildenafil are helpful for altitude sickness.
If you don’t want to take medications, Vitamin C’s worth a go. There isn’t much evidence that this works
Coca leaves are used in tea and chewed by many individuals who spend a lot of time traveling to high elevations. There is also no genuine evidence that this helps.
IS MEDICAL ATTENTION REQUIRED?
Medical attention is not usually necessary, but descending may be. So, when should you make your descent? Nothing can always keep altitude sickness at bay, and the symptoms may not always be visible until they become severe.
- If you’re too exhausted to accomplish anything else,
- If you’re growing perplexed,
- If it’s difficult to breathe,
- If you’re having trouble with your coordination,
If this is the case, get medical attention right away if any symptom worsens over time. There are instances when it is impossible to descend.