Altitude sickness, otherwise known as mountain sickness is referred to a condition where one ascends to a height of 2500 feet or more and suffers a kind of uneasiness accompanied with symptoms such as headache and vomiting. It can also turn fatal for a person if there is a rapid build-up of fluids in the brains and lungs or both as one ascends great heights. Such a condition occurs while quick ascent, which makes it difficult for the body to adapt to the changing pressure and the reduced oxygen levels.
First Aid for Altitude Sickness
Follow these steps for altitude or mountain sickness:
- Stop climbing higher; camp till symptoms go, which can take several days
- Avoid cigarettes and/or alcohol during the climb
- A recommended dose of paracetamol can be given
- Deep breathing can reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the blood
- A recommended dose of dexamethasone can be given
- For severe altitude sickness, aim for a 500-1000m descend immediately
- Give diuretic drugs that increase urine to reduce fluid accumulation
- The person may need oxygen from the oxygen cylinder
Irrespective of being fit or not having experienced it before, altitude sickness can strike anyone, at anytime of quick ascent. The only way to prevent altitude sickness is to climb up slowly.