Making the Kailash–Mansarovar Yatra safe Preventing mountain sickness

Health Care 219 Comments
  1. An altitude over 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) is usually defined as high altitude.
  2. Acute mountain sickness (AMS) depends on the elevation, the rate of ascent and individual susceptibility.
  3. Most visitors suffer from some symptoms that will generally disappear through acclimatization in several hours to several days.
  4. Symptoms are worse at night and include headache, dizziness, lethargy, loss of appetite, nausea, breathlessness and irritability. Difficulty sleeping is another common symptom, and many travelers have trouble sleeping for the first few days.
  5. AMS can be very serious, with the most serious symptoms being High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), which can be fatal. Symptoms of HAPE include weakness, shortness of breath, even at rest, impending suffocation at night, and a persistent productive cough with white, watery, or frothy fluid. Symptoms of HPCE may include headache, ataxia, weakness, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, coma and loss of memory. Both approach and strike at night and can be fatal! Immediate descent is the surest treatment.
  6. A gradual ascent allows the body to acclimatize to higher altitudes and the decreased oxygen supply.
  7. The formula is to give a night halt between 7000 to 10,000 feet; night halt for every 1500 feet climb and full day halt for every 3000 feet climb thereafter.
  8. Medication also helps to prevent AMS.
  9. One should avoid exercise in the first few days. Attempt to do only half of your activities on the first day while your body is working to acclimatize to higher altitude oxygen conditions.
  10. No alcohol in the first few days.
  11. No smoking.
  12. Drink enough water each day so that your urine runs clear.
  13. Make sure you get enough calories. Low cal diets at high altitudes can sabotage health. A well nourished body can adjust to changes better than an undernourished one can. One should take high carb diet.
  14. One should avoid taking tranquilizers and sleeping pills. These will depress the respiratory drive and limit oxygen intake.
  15. Prophylactic drugs are acetazolamide, nifedipine etc.