Acute Mountain sickness or AMS is considered as one of the most common hurdles faced by trekkers, hikers and mountaineers. If not handled properly it can become a nightmare. To counter it proper acclimatization procedure is needed.
Let’s understand what is Mountain sickness?
The pressure that surrounds us is called barometric pressure. As we reach above 8,000 feet the barometric pressure/atmospheric pressure starts to fall, in simple words the oxygen level falls. So, when someone climbs uphill his body needs more oxygen, which is not available at the moment. As a result the body starts breathing harder and longer, and more carbon dioxide builds up in the bloodstream. It involves the symptoms such as:-
- An unbearable headache
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Weakness of the body
- Shortness of breath
Up to a certain altitude, the body naturally acclimatizes itself by adjusting itself to the decreased level of oxygen. But once we climb up to higher altitude, the oxygen level decreases and more carbon dioxide enters into the bloodstream which is beyond the tolerance level of the body. As a result we fall sick or encounter the High altitude sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
Here are some of the ways to keep Mountain sickness at bay:-
- Ascend slowly – It is always wise to ascend slowly as this way the body gets enough time to get acclimatize to the new altitude. A good rule of thumb is to avoid ascending more than 1,000 feet per day.
- Take regular breaks after gaining every 300 feet.
- Keep yourself hydrated by sipping water at regular intervals. Dehydration can elevate the symptoms of Mountain sickness. Drink ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) to keep your body mineral level in balance.
- Avoid heavy exercise instead plan to relax for the first couple of days.
- Eat simple light food and avoid heavy foods. Have proper breakfast, lunch and dinner and in between have dry fruits, energy bars, chocolates etc.
- Say no to Alcohol and Smoking strictly, as both will increase the risk of Mountain sickness. If necessary, celebrate at the end of a great trek.
Keep these points in mind and enjoy your Trekking. All the best!