in the first days
• particularly in the first 24 hours, try to keep your energy, walk slowly and breath well
• do not do useless or inconsiderate physical efforts "to test yoursel", even when feeling very well (this may help the AMS to happen)
during a trek or a climb
• avoid high efforts (giant steps, jumping, running…)
• do not put yourself in overspeed (for example by competing with others)
• to sleep well, when arriving to the bivy site, walk up 200 to 300 meters without backpack, stay there for an hour and walk down to the camp
• in case of suffering (excepting the headaches when relieved by taking aspirin), you must stop walking up and have a rest
• if the symptoms persist you must then get down of 300 to 400 meters and restart the climb the following day only if the symptoms have disappeared ; in the opposite case you must end the trek or the climb
always hydrate yourself abundantly
To avoid dehydratation (helped by the combination altitude + sun + effort), it is essential to drink abundantly (3 to 4 liters each day).
It would be an opportunity to taste a "maté de coca" (coca leaves infusion, typical drink in the Andes), energizing and considered as an excellent way to mitigate the altitude effects.
During the treks and the climbs, you should make sure to drink mineral water or to purify the water from the streams, otherwise you might discover other inconveniences, particularly stomach problems.
always eat well
During your stay, and particularly during a trek or a climb
• keep a balanced diet (vegetarians may have iron deficiency which slows the red blood cells production)
• eat a hearty and complete breakfast
• eat regularly: each day in the mountains, energizing snacks (cereal bars, dry fruits, sugars) are provided by our accompanying teams
For your first meal in altitude we recommend to eat light food and to not drink alcohol.
what medicines ?
If you are under treatment, ask advise to your doctor and he would tell the possible contraindications when in altitude, the precautions to follow, the symptoms to be careful of…
In case of headaches, prefer the aspirin (which fluidifies the blood) to the paracetamol.
Do not take somnifers as thet help the breathing stops during the sleep, worsening the hypoxia (lack of oxygen).
The Diamox (acetazolamide) increases the respiratory response to the lack of oxygen.
We do not recommend to take it in prevention, it is well better to opt for a natural acclimatization by getting up gradually in altitude.
Note aslo that
• the Diamox may cause unwanted effects (metabolism disturbances)
• the Diamox is a diuretic which may help dehydratation
• when taken in prevention, it makes the altitude related problems difficult to detect
It may however be useful to bring some, and we recommend to take it
• in case of poor acclimatization to the altitude, particularly if headaches persist despite taking analgesics
• in case of ascending too quickly
• to treat peripheral edemas (face, hands or anckle swelling, important when waking up and decreasing in the day) without other signs of the AMS
do not refuse a diagnosis
If someone suffers in altitude, it should be diagnosised as the AMS until other evidence !
Do not simply think that a headache is caused by the fact of walking in the sun without hat, or that a vomiting is caused by the unfresh eggs eaten the day before…
The diagnosis may be upsetting for a well trained sportman or frustrating because it implies to end a trek or a climb.
But denying it may lead to a disaster.
It is essential to be honest with yourself and with the guides and assistants who lead the trek or the climb.
They have a great site experience and will be able to provide you with good advise and with first aid if necessary.
It belongs to them to take the decision to leave or not a member of the group continuing a trek or a climb.