A trip up the mountains can be exhilarating until one begins to feel woozy and out of breath. A real condition, this uncomfortable feeling is known as altitude sickness and can be experienced by any anybody trying to navigate high altitudes; be it a tourist or experienced mountaineer. The issue is triggered by the body’s need to inhale enough oxygen to function normally. When the levels drop to anywhere between 90% and 94%, there may be signs of altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness causes one to feel a headache, immense thirst, nauseous and lead to a drop in energy level. To manage the low levels of oxygen, the body begins to produce excess hemoglobin to aid the body to acclimatize. The presence of high amounts of hemoglobin in the blood makes it much thicker and this makes it difficult for the oxygen-rich blood to be delivered to the body cells. In turn, the lack of oxygen in the cells triggers altitude sickness to seep in. Fortunately, there are some remedies that can successfully manage the effects of the condition and here are a few of them.
Hydration – Dehydration can only contribute to worsening the effects of high altitudes. While one may hear that getting a headache when at high altitudes is normal, the same is not true. Lack of water in the system triggers headaches and thus, one must consume as much water as possible. Even when not thirsty, drinking tons of water will combat the intense effects of altitude sickness.
Sip on coca tea – Coca leaves are deemed illegal in most places around the world, but it is available in some places such as Peru. The leaves are not addictive and can be consumed in form of coca tea. The tea should be consumed as early as possible to avoid the effects of altitude sickness.
Consume more carbohydrates – A good way to go is by eating a good quantity of carbohydrate-rich food. This includes foods such as pasta, bread, cereal and more. Another thing to keep in mind is the advantage of staying away from foods that include are heavy to digest. Red meats and the like can be heavy on the digestive system, causing one to feel tired and exhausted faster. It is also better to snack in short intervals overeating heavy meals after long hours.
Altitude sickness medication – One can also consult a physician and get advice on the best altitude sickness medication. The oral medications will work by making the blood more acidic and this, in turn, will aid in acclimatization. However, altitude sickness medications may not be right for everyone, especially for those who have other medical issues. A medical professional will help in deciding what is best.
Relax – The activities should be restricted on the first day and it is best to relax in the beginning. It is best to rest for a few hours upon arrival and place both feet on a pillow in an elevated position. This will promote blood circulation in the back of the brain and reduce the effects of the condition.
Altitude sickness is a serious condition and can also be life-threatening in certain cases. It is advisable to descend if the symptoms become too extreme to handle and seek a doctor immediately.