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Altitude sickness

Altitude sickness information.

High altitude sickness is recognized as acute mountain sickness (AMS.) may occur when people ascend too quickly normally in altitudes of over 3,000 m. We strongly recommend you to include some rest days on your trek itinerary.

Most people will feel some effect of altitude, shortness of breath and possibly light-headaches, which is fairly common. Acute mountain sickness normally involves a severe headache, sickness, and loss of awareness. In almost every potential case there are enough warning signs to take appropriate action.

Our expert and trained guides from Gokyo Treks and Expedition will advise you about any health requirements and also altitude sickness while you are on the trek. So you should not worry about it, we do, however, recommend you get advice from you travel doctor or health advisor before you leave.

The following information gives you some ideas about high altitude sickness and how to minimize its effects. There are three stages of altitude sickness and symptoms.

1. Normal AMS symptoms – expected but not serious.

Every trekker will experience some if not all of these symptoms, no matter how slowly they ascend. Periods of drowsiness (need more sleep than normal; at least 10 hours)

Occasional loss of appetite

Vivid, wild dreams especially at around 2,500-3,000 meters.

Periodic breathing.

The need to rest/catch my breath frequently while trekking, esp. above 3,500 m.

A runny nose and Dizziness.

Increasing urination while moving to/at higher altitudes (a good sign).

2. Mild AMS Symptoms – (ATTENTION !!). If you have such kind of symptoms, we highly recommend you to walk downhill.

Many trekkers in the higher elevation of the Himalaya get mild AMS, admit or acknowledge that you are having symptoms. You need to have only one of the following symptoms to be getting altitude sickness.

A mild headache.

Nausea and Dizziness

Weakness and Fatigue / Tired

Dry Raspy cough.

Loss of appetite.

A runny nose and hard to breathe.

3. serious AMS symptoms – (ATTENTION). You need to descend immediately.

Persistent, severe headache

Persistent vomiting

Ataxia (loss of coordination, an inability to walk in a straight line

Losing consciousness (inability to stay awake or understand instructions)

Mental confusion or hallucinations

Liquid sounds in lungs and very persistent, sometimes watery cough.

Difficulty breathing (rapid breathing or feeling breathless at rest).

Severe lethargy / fatigue

Marked blueness of face and lips.

High resting heartbeat (over 130 beats per minute)

Dangerous cases of AMS

High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). This is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs and can build up around the brain. It is often accompanied by a mild fever. If the first signs of ataxia begin to appear, treat with medication, oxygen, and descent. Usually, 4 to 8mg of dexamethasone is given as a first dosage, then 4mg every six hours.

Diamox every 12 hours and 2-4 liters/minute of oxygen. The descent is necessary but a PAC (portable altitude chamber) bag will often be used first if available.

Nepal Government Nepal tourism board Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal Nepal Mountaineering Association
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