Altitude sickness is very common if you are traveling to a height more than 8000 feet, places like Ooty and Nathu La Pass , Sikkim . People often ask about Leh altitude sickness, Pangong lake altitude sickness ( 4250m), Nubra valley altitude ( 3048 meters) which are the places in India where one might experience this problem.
What is Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness is a gathering of general side effects that are caused by ascending or walking to an increasingly elevated elevation (rise) too rapidly. It can affect mountain climbers, hikers, skiers, or travelers at high altitudes, usually above 8,000 feet (2,400 meters). It’s also called acute mountain sickness. Early symptoms of it include fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and insomnia.
Symptoms of altitude sickness
Some of the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness are,
- Vomiting or Nausea
- Loss of energy
- Rapid pulse (heart rate)
- Breathing problem – Shortness of breath with exertion
Why Altitude Sickness Happens
Altitude Sickness is caused by reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. The faster you climb to a high altitude, the more likely you will get acute mountain sickness. As you are not accustomed to the climate so your body reacts to the sudden change of elevation or environment which is quite different from the climate you have habituated in. The main cause of altitude sickness is as the elevation increases the oxygen level decreases resulting in difficulties in your respiratory system. The Oxygen percentage of Leh is about 50% of the sea level ( Details here ).
Once your body adapts to the new climate you won’t face any difficulty, until then you have to follow some simple rules that we have listed down below.
How to prevent altitude sickness
Here are few tips to prevent altitude sickness while climbing the mountains
- The most important tip is never to climb mountains empty stomach. Always pack your bag with dry fruits, chocolates, biscuits, cookies, nuts, protein bars etcetera. So that whenever you feel hungry you can grab any of those and have it.
- Drink a lot of water to keep your body hydrated to adjust with the low humidity in the high altitude. Also, it keeps you fresh while trekking or climbing up the hill.
- Keep chewing gums, toffees, biscuits, water bottles and few medicines (medicines of vomiting, headache, cough, and cold, fever, etc.) because it helps a lot when suffering from altitude sickness.
- Children and people who have breathing problems have to be taken special care of. If ever you are with your children and they feel discomfort due to mountain sickness and you do not have any medical assistance then we would suggest you come down to a lower altitude
- Those who are suffering from Asthma do not forget to take inhalers along.
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