How to Cater Altitude Sickness in Hilly Areas
Even the thought of going through that swirling uphill climb can make one wailing, yet one cannot limit their every vacation to the plains wondering about how it would be up there. I guess a few of you can already see yourself there. So a lot of research has to be done prior to the visit to a hill station. These things have worked in every case. the effect of altitude sickness can be largely mitigated if not eliminated.
- Make room for acclimatization: Prior to planning your trip, make sure that you have spare days just to develop tolerance to the climate of the place. This helps your body adapt well to the change and will at least help the anticipation. In case this is your first trip to a place of higher altitude then you cannot skip this part, additionally you will also require time for pre acclimatization, it is a must for you.
- Hydration and exercise: Water is the air conditioner of our body. At least one week prior to your departure you must start making a regime of drinking water by measuring it. This may sound funny but just do it. Calculate the minimum water requirement of your body and divide the quantity throughout the day. By doing so you will have an estimate of your water requirement during the trip, flushed your previous toxins and by the time of departure you will be ready for the jump start. Exercise will warm you up for the upcoming rigor. Here is the BIG NO NO – don’t consume alcohol prior to or during your trip. Alcohol will dry and roast your organs.
- Fitness check and medication: Although this is clearly understood, but still there are a few who don’t find it necessary. Fitness check up is not a necessity it is your ticket to life. Your cardiovascular and cerebral functions should be in an excellent state to cope up with the adverse environment. Your doc can also advise you on the medications that you might require on the go to avoid descending and also in case of (God forbid) emergency. Remember that you won’t find any health center up there in the snow. You can also take preventive medication on the advice of your doc.
I’m feeling sick on the top the world. What now?
- Slow down: If your head is banging, stomach is bloating and your body feels the heaviest burden on mankind, then, you might have made it way too quick. Beyond 6000 feet we are very likely to get mountain sickness. If you are above this range then you must sit down and relax to catch your breath and get a little more hydrated. Exertion will only magnify the symptoms. Try descending to the lower camp for one day if you feel it is worse and that you require medical attention. Your problem must be addressed immediately or it might become acute within 12 hours. If the situation is under control then wait for a few hours to let the symptoms subside.
- Portable hyperbaric chamber: It is worth investing if you are going to a remote elevation and where descend is not possible. These are inflatable pressure bags with a foot pump attached to it. You will be zipped into the bag and the medical supervisor will pump air into the bag (this air is like that you inhale at lower regions). Ask if someone there can help you with this savior.
- There is no substitute for acclimatization: Avoid developing a life threatening situation and descend slowly. You will be able to ascend better the next day if you spend your night in relatively lower region.
The only thing that summarizes all this is that you should be the only architect of your itinerary and your healthcare provider should be drafting your well being. Have a safe and fruitful journey.