January 28, 2010

Symptoms, Treatment and Home Remedies For Acute Mountain Sickness

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

When going out mountaineering, it is necessary to take certain precautions and stock up on some remedies so that there are no hitches while climbing. Normally, at very great heights above sea level, a person feels sick and disoriented. This condition is termed as Acute Mountain Sickness. It is primarily due to the scarcity of oxygen at higher altitudes. The amount of oxygen in the air gets thinner and thinner as one goes higher, which results in a number of unpleasant sensations. This usually starts to occur at a height of around 3500 meters, and gets more severe as the height increases. The extent of acute mountain sickness differs from person to person, and normally wears off rather soon. Some of the symptoms of altitude sickness are tiredness, nausea, giddiness, vomiting, rapid pulse, numbness in the body, pins and needles, and insomnia, to name a few.

Treatment and Home Remedies

To overcome acute mountain sickness, there are several simple home remedies that can counter the problem. Lemon soda is known to prevent vomiting and nausea that occurs at high altitudes, so make sure that you carry a bottle of it along while trekking. Alternatively, a glass of fresh sweet lemon soda or digestive capsules containing herbs and natural ingredients are also helpful. You can also consume a variety of natural ingredients, like green mango, garlic, fenugreek, and ginger. Chew on them on and off, and it will keep you at ease. You can also take 20 drops of ginger juice and mix it with half a cup of water. Consume this whenever you feel unwell; it will give you relief. Drink lots of water at higher altitudes too, as the body tends to get dehydrated more quickly than usual. Stay away from alcoholic beverages and too much caffeine, as they can cause further dehydration.

Doing deep breathing exercises is essential, since the air is thin at extreme heights and your body needs more oxygen. Avoid exercise, even if it is light, as exercising exhausts your energy levels. Take it easy while climbing – don’t accelerate your ascent, but go slow so that your body has time to adjust to the air. Eat food that is easily digestible in small portions, and avoid junk food and oily snacks. If in spite of this you find yourself feeling steadily worse, take a break and then again proceed slowly. You could even descend a bit to control the problem. Do remember that it is difficult to find medical help at high levels, so be prepared and don’t overstretch yourself beyond your body’s limits to have a memorable mountaineering trip.