Trekking at High Altitude
Trekking at High Altitude is very different from that at lower altitudes. If the trek is not well paced, or if the acclimatization is not complete, the trekker falls prey to high altitude sickness. High Altitude Sickness is not something related to one’s physical fitness. The main cause of altitude sickness is inability of persons to adapt to the reduction in the level of oxygen at high altitude.
Mild symptoms of high altitude sickness like lightheaded / headaches and breathlessness is common even among the locals of the area after a long stay in the plains. However, when accompanied with nausea, dizziness, severe cough, swelling of face/hands (due to water retention), and disorientation, medical treatment is sought.
Anyone with severe symptoms would be transferred to the hospital and kept under observation. The only cure for such cases is sending the patient on the next flight to the plains.
It is advisable for clients at high altitude to take it easy and rest for the first few days, which would help you in acclimatization. There is no medicine to cure High Altitude Sickness. Diamox has been used to help in acclimatization but it is advisable to consult your physician regarding it as side effects are there especially for those allergic to sulpha drugs. The best is to take plenty of water and fluids. Taking of alcohol is not advised at high altitude.
As long as one takes it easy and does not get too adventurous like trying to the reach the highest point on arrival, mild symptom as mentioned earlier are common and not a cause for worry. Acclimatization is the best process.