Altitude Sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness, is the resulting condition that arises due to one's inability to get enough oxygen at high altitudes. Symptoms of the condition include but are not limited to headache, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping. Although mild altitude sickness is common, there can be extreme cases of the condition which results into fluid building up either on the lungs or the brain. Symptoms of severe altitude sickness include a bubbling sound in the chest, coughing up pink and frothy liquid, clumsiness and difficulty walking as well as confusion leading to loss of consciousness. These kinds of severe cases of altitude sickness require immediate medical attention.
How to prevent altitude sickness
The key to preventing altitude sickness is doing proper acclimatization before you ascent to higher altitude. Our bodies react differently to higher altitudes and thus understanding your body properly is the key to preventing altitude sickness. It takes time for our body to acclimatize to higher altitudes if we are not used to it. Understand your body and gauge the reaction it gives as you ascend upwards.
It is also advisable that you keep yourself adequately hydrated. Drink enough fluid (not alcohol, mind). Smokers are more prone to altitude sickness than non smokers. If you cut your smoking habit at least during the trek, you have a good chance of avoiding altitude sickness.
Things to do after you get the altitude sickness symptoms
In cases of mild symptoms, it is important to take proper rest and not try to walk any higher and take proper rest. It will be a smart move to descend by around 500-700 m and take rest for up to two days. In cases of extreme symptoms, one must descend as soon as possible and fetch medical help.
It is vital to know that just because you did not suffer altitude sickness while you were on your last trip does not mean that you will be fine in the next trip. Also altitude sickness is not dependent to any other factors such as age, gender, and/or physical fitness. Thus, do the right things while you are ascending and always be sure that you take precautions in case you start showing mild symptoms so that he condition does not aggravate.