What is high altitude sickness (ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS (A.M.S.)?
Altitude sickness occurs when you get to an area of high altitude. It is caused when your body tries to adjust to the lower levels of oxygen at higher altitude. About 25 out of 100 people who live at sea level will get altitude sickness when visiting places between 2000 and 3000 meters above sea level. Above 3300 meters (10,000 feet), about 50 out of 100 people can get altitude sickness. The best way to prevent altitude sickness is to allow your body time to get used to the new heights (elevations). This is called acclimatization. Your body can acclimatize by staying 1- 2 days at a middle height altitude (3000 - 3500 meters). Then you can slowly go to higher levels (elevations). You should not use alcohol or sleeping pills. It is better to return to a lower altitude to sleep (climb high - sleep low). At altitudes above 3660 meters (about 12,000 feet) more serious forms of altitude sickness such as getting water-clogged lungs (high altitude pulmonary edema) and swelling of the brain (high altitude cerebral edema) can occur. These are medical emergencies. You must go to a lower altitude right away and quickly. Main primary symptoms of high altitude sickness are:-
-Loss of appetite
-Fatigue and weakness
-Shortness of breath
-swelling of the face and hands. How to treat high altitude sickness?
-Going down is the main treatment of high altitude sickness.
-Descend (go down) right away, if rest and some time at the same altitude does not make you feel better or if you are getting worse.
-Going down to an altitude at least 500 m lower than where you started to notice the altitude sickness usually stops the symptoms
-Drink lots of fluids (to make up for breathing heavily, sweating, and the hard work of climbing).
-Be sure to eat enough even though you do not feel like eating. (Eat foods low in proteins, fats, salts).
-Take painkillers for headache.
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