Terms and Policy

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a condition that can affect individuals who ascend to high altitudes too quickly. Altitude sickness occurs when the body cannot adapt to the lower air pressure and reduced oxygen levels at higher altitudes, leading to various symptoms.

Symptoms of altitude sickness typically include headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath. These symptoms usually start to appear within a few hours of reaching high altitudes and can worsen with the further ascent.

Altitude sickness can affect anyone, regardless of age, fitness level, or previous experience with high altitudes. However, some individuals may be more susceptible to altitude sickness than others. Factors that can increase the risk of altitude sickness include rapid ascent, high altitude, dehydration, physical exertion, and underlying medical conditions.

Altitude sickness can be a serious condition. In severe cases, it can lead to potentially life-threatening complications, such as high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) and high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). HACE occurs when fluid accumulates in the brain, while HAPE occurs when fluid accumulates in the lungs. These conditions require immediate medical attention.

Preventing altitude sickness involves taking a gradual approach to altitude gain, allowing the body to acclimatize to the lower air pressure and reduced oxygen levels. This means ascending no more than 300-500 meters per day once above 3,000 meters and taking rest days to allow the body to adjust. Hydration is also essential, as dehydration can exacerbate altitude sickness symptoms. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine can also be beneficial, as these substances can dehydrate the body.

If you experience symptoms of altitude sickness, it is important to take them seriously and respond appropriately. Descending to a lower altitude can often alleviate symptoms, and taking rest days to acclimate can help prevent symptoms' further onset. Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can help alleviate headaches and other mild symptoms but do not treat the underlying condition.