As you go higher and higher up, the air starts becoming thinner and thinner. If you try to make it quickly to a higher altitude, your body would not get the required oxygen. Another point that I want to make is when you are going to high altitude, the health conditions that you experience varies from person to person. Some may not feel anything even when they climb as high as 8,000 feet, while some others may start feeling altitude sickness at 6500 feet.
Wherever you are traveling at a high altitude, you must take proper care of your health. I have faced certain situations when I had travelled to a higher altitude and it really feels great to share the same with my dear readers. Here are some tips you will find handy.
Gather details regarding your destination
It is true that to experience what altitude sickness is, you do not need to ski to the highest range in the Swiss Alps or reach to the peak of Mount Everest. There are a number of people who climb to high altitude places and might not understand what altitude sickness is. Before going to your destination, you can check the altitude of the place. There are a number of sites available. All you need to do is just type the location you intend to visit in the search box and ask for the elevation of the place.
As the normal rule goes, the nearer you are to sea level, the more health problems you will have at higher altitudes. Again, you need to be very careful in case you have been through altitude sickness symptoms any time before.
Consult the doctor
Have you done your research and analyzed your risk for altitude sickness? Well, now is the time to visit the doctor, especially one who specializes in travel medicine. If it is feasible for you, the doctor will suggest acetazolamide, which is the most appropriate drug for treatment and prevention of altitude sickness. Again, on the basis of the risk factors, your doctor might also advise you to carry ibuprofen, which is very effective in dealing with headaches occurring at high altitudes. You may also be advised to pack ginger chews, tea or capsules, which can come of great help in relieving altitude triggered stomach nausea.
Get adjusted slowly
At any given altitude, getting adjusted to higher elevations compared to what you are normally used to can take from one to three days. As you begin your trip, first consider spending some time, say around two to three nights at some altitude in between prior to making it higher. Another thing that I would like to suggest from my own personal experience is that you should indulge yourself in light activities for the initial 24 to 48 hours before going for higher intensity activities. I know that for a traveler, this is not something that can be easily done, but it will help you get rid of headaches which you might face during your trip. Moreover, do not forget that when you are at higher elevations, even day-to-day activities such as going to the market might feel very hectic initially, so take your time to get adjusted and rest as and when you require it.
Be very careful about eating or drinking
I came to know a very important fact from my doctor. When you eat complex carbohydrates, your body is capable of utilizing oxygen more effectively, which boosts your energy levels, thereby helping to keep altitude sickness at bay. So, as you travel higher, make sure to eat a lot of complex carbohydrates which you will get in the form of legumes, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Also remember that at higher altitudes, your body needs to take in a lot of water. Try to keep yourself away from alcohol and caffeine, particularly when you are still getting adjusted to the environment. Make sure to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water per day.
Prevent injury from cold
I would like you to know that as you go up, the temperature decreases and if you do not prepare yourself properly, you can face low body temperature, a condition known as hypothermia. You can become a victim of this condition when you are fatigued, chilled, wet or not dressed properly. To prevent such cold injury, you must dress yourself in layers and also carry extra clothes with you to deal with sudden temperature fluctuations. Take care to ensure that you are not wearing wet clothing and cover yourself with properly fitted gloves and boots.
Stay safe from sun damage
When you are traveling at higher altitude, the sun’s UV rays have the potential to cause more damage. Sunburn can occur even when the climate is cloudy. So, make sure to wear goggles or sunglasses whenever you are going for greater heights. It is also good if you use sunscreen.
Be aware of the danger signs
Traveling to higher altitudes is indeed a great experience but in case you are facing symptoms such as loss of appetite, dizziness, headaches, insomnia, fatigue or nausea, it is better to climb down to a lower altitude. Do not harbor any sense of defeat, because even the strongest athletes might face such signs of altitude sickness. Get properly treated for the health condition you are facing and once you feel good, get ready to climb greater heights.