High Altitude Sickness (HAS) is a phrase used to describe the health condition especially among trekkers when they reach a certain higher altitude. HAS is usually prevalent for those trekking in high Himalayan region beyond 2500m altitude.
When gaining altitude, body will need to adjust or acclimatize to low oxygen availability and decreasing air pressure. Failing to adapt to this change in pressure and oxygen can impact one’s health. The risk of HAS increases if you are at 2500m or higher. It takes anywhere between 12 hrs. to 24 hrs. to suffer from HAS.
Anyone is prone to suffer from HAS, no matter how fit, healthy or strong one is both mentally and physically or irrespective of one’s geographical origin.
The main cause of HAS depend on
- how quickly you move to a higher elevation,
- how high you go up,
- the altitude where you sleep,
- the amount of liquid consumption to avoid dehydration
The common symptoms of HAS are a combination of the following:
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Shortness of breath
- Problems with sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to walk
- Change in behavior
- Decrease in body oxygen level
The basic prevention measure to avoid HAS is proper acclimatization. You need to acclimatize with increasing height gain, climate and weather gradually as you go up higher altitude. Gaining altitude slowly and gradually is the best way to prevent HAS.
Secondly you have to monitor the symptoms of altitude sickness and treat early. If you happen to suffer from any of the symptoms, the best thing to do is to immediately go down to a lower elevation.
It is important that you follow the guidelines and advices provided by your trekking guide.
Based on our long experience, trekkers should move up slowly, monitor body’s responses and share your feeling and experiences with your experienced guide while on trek. Drinking lots of water, garlic soup, local herbs recommended by your guide etc are also some preventive strategies.
Care and Treatment
If you are trekking with Best Tour, you are in safe hands. Our guide closely monitors our clients behavior, appetite, body temperature. A separate record is kept of all our clients by our well qualified guide. This helps to determine the condition our clients are in. We also check oxygen level with the help of oximeter.
When going trekking in the Himalayas, Best Tour provides enough soup, energy bars and fruits. We also offer enough water to prevent dehydration and keep you warm.
We also administer proper, prescribed medication if the situation gets worse. All our guides are trained in offering first aid, so they are experienced in treating HAS.
If trekkers condition takes turn for worse, we immediately conduct emergency rescue services from the mountains to bring them directly to place where well equipped hospitals are available
Listen and follow Guide’s instructions
Drink enough water
Consume sufficient amount of energy and carbohydrates
Drink plenty of soup
Take proper rest
Climb down to a lower elevation if you suffer from HAS