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<< Indian Himalayas << About Himalayas >> << Travel Tips & Preparations >> << Preparations >> << Altitude Sickness >>

A l t i t u d e  S i c k n e s s

No other mountains deserve the kind of respect the Himalaya do in terms of altitude. As the Himalayan Rescue Association likes to point out : 'The Himalaya start where other mountains leave off.' Remember it is the sleeping altitude that is critical. Acclimatization susceptibility to altitude sickness. Men and women are equally susceptible and children more so.

The way to prevent altitude sickness is to give the body enough time to get used to the rarefied air. A slow and steady ascent is vital. Adequate hydration is also helpful. The body is constantly losing fluid from the lungs and the skin in the high, dry environment. Drink enough to maintain a clear and abundant urine output. Other measures include eating a high carbohydrate diet, climbing high during the day and coming lower down to sleep, and to mild to moderate activity during the rather than just lie around.

The drug of choice for altitude is Acetazolamide (Diamox), a sulpha drug. It hastens acclimatization, increases breathing, reduces alkalinity and diuretic fluids. The usual regimen is 125 to 250 mg twice a day, starting 24 hours before ascent, and continuing through the first 24 hours at altitude. Almost all altitude problems can be avoided if symptoms are recognized and acted upon. The warning signs are headache, lack of appetite, nausea, feeling of tiredness, and sometimes vomiting. This stage of mild mountain sickness can be treated with aspirin or Diamox for headache and something mild for the nasea and vomiting.

The Trekkers Medical Kit

The Trekker Medical Kit - The suggested list includes prescription items, so consultation with a physician is necessary.

If crossing malarial areas: Malarial prophylactics and mosquito repellent.

Wound disinfectant: Moleskin, second skin or cloth adhesive tape.

Adhesive strips: Band-aids in different sizes.

Gauze pads and rolls: elastic bandage.

Thermometer

Analgesics: Aspirin or Tylenol, Tylenol with codine.

Anti-inflammatory. Ibuprofen

Antibiotics:

Ciprofloxacin, Bactrim DS or Septra DS, Erythromycin, Gentamycin eyedrops, any skin antibiotic.

Anti-diarrholes: Lomotil, Pepto-Bismol, Imodium.

Anti-nausea drug: Pheregan, Compazine

Anthistamine: Benadryl

Decongestant: Sudafed

For High altitude: Diomax

Altitude & Distances

Maps of survey of India and state gazetteers have been as reference for the altitude and distances of the peaks passes and other prominent destinations. The altitude of lesser known places is based on the personal approximations comparisons and consultation with maps and judgments by other traveler. Distances in most trails are also result of personal approximations and confirmation by fellow trekkers.

The maps of survey of India also have been consulted as references to get the exact distances between two places.

It is important to note that while trekking the distances that appear to the eye may not be correct besides the individual judgment about the length of the trek depends upon fatigue mood weather and state of fitness. Moreover one person will give different distances between two different places at different times.

There is difference in assessment of the same trek by the locals and trekkers visiting from outside. Terms like very near far steep difficult easy are subjective. Therefore general description can be different depending upon the person concerned.

Golden rule is to start early in the morning . one must start at the day break no matter what the distance is this is more important when one is ascending the pass as a rule last leg of the journey from the base of pass to the camping ground across the pass must be started at about 5 am in many cases trekkers have to start even earlier the rule applies to almost all passes except low lying passes like Jalsu and Baleni. But in these also one shouldn't delay the start.

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