Acute mountain sickness (AMS)

High altitude sickness is known as an Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) as well and Generally it occurs when people ascend up to the high altitude mountains too quickly (after above 3000M). But, we want to make sure that none of our guest will get such sickness during trekking/climbing/Expedition, for the reason we should have all the preparation beforehand and travelers self have to be careful for it. Most trekkers/climbers will feel some affect of altitude, such as shortness of breath and possibly light headache, which is fairly common. AMS is very different and if a person suffers from this sickness s he/she gets brutal headache and will be unconscious either. But, there are various symptoms beforehand and we have sufficient time to take precautions as well.

While you are in trekking and climbing, our well trained guides will brief you what sort of precautions you have to take to be prevented from such sickness, therefore, you don't have to worry for the matter, we also recommend you get some advice from your travel doctor or health advisor before you travel to Nepal.

The following information is useful to you about high altitude sickness and precaution steps:

Basically, There are three stages/steps of altitude sickness and their symptoms:-

1. The normal AMS and its symptoms: - Guess! It may occur to you as well but do not worry as this is common to everyone.

Symptoms: - Running nose, Dizziness, Sleeplessness, Occasional loss of appetite and Periodic breathing.

2. The Mild AMS and symptoms:- Mild headache, Nausea, Dizziness, Weakness, Sleeplessness, Dry Raspy cough, Tiredness, Loss of appetite, running nose, hard to breath.

What you have to if you get mild symptoms: - If you get mild symptoms, stop and relax (with your head out of sun) and drink some fluids frequently. Stop and have a rest more and take 125-250mg Diamox, it generally takes one to four hours to be cool down. Take 125-250mg Diamox in the evening and drink plenty of fluids. If you feel a bit better, don't leave taking precautions at the point; take another 250mg Diamox 6-8 hours later. If the symptoms continue to get worse, try to descend down, acclimatize and again ascend up.

3. The serious AMS and symptoms:- Persistent and severe headache, Persistent vomiting, Aninability to walk in a straight line and making the sufferer look drunk, Losing consciousness, Mental confusion, Liquid sounds in the lungs, Difficulty breathing, Rapid breathing or feeling breathless at rest, Coughing clear fluid, pink phlegm or blood (a very bad sign), Marked blueness of face and lips, High resting heartbeat (over 130 beats per minute), Mild symptoms rapidly getting worse.

High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE):- dangerous cases of AMS- If, the above mention symptoms get worse and s/he could not take any precautions, one can die within the period of 12 hours, but if one takes precautions immediately, it takes one or two days to get well. Therefore, if one gets such symptoms, it is better one take treatment with medication, oxygen and descent down. Usually 4 to 8mg of dexamethasone is given as a first dose to those who suffer from such sickness and then 4mg Diamox is given an every six hours gap. Similarly, 2-4 liters/minute oxygen is given and one is taken to down.

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE):- This is a serious case, if one gets the above mention symptoms worse, furthermore, if one accumulates of fluid in the lungs and mild fever, and then, there is chance of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). The treatment, one should given the oxygen at the rate of 4 liters a minute, using Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC). If there is no PAC bag or oxygen then one should take down to the low altitude, it is only the way of life saving. The HAPE can also lead to unconsciousness and death in short period of time.

Prevention of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS):

  • Make sufficient time for acclimatization (After 3000 meters).
  • Don't ascent up rapidly.
  • Don't' use alcohol, sleeping pills and smoking.
  • Drink more fluid 3-4 liters a day, clean boiled water / tea / coffee / soup / juice etc.
  • Climb high and sleep low.
  • Don't go trekking alone, take guide/porter.
  • Follow the advice from your guide.
  • Descent if mild symptoms are rapidly getting worse.
  • Never leave to descent sick person alone.
  • Avoid getting cold.

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