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Avoid Acute Mountain Sickness

Prevent Altitude Stress in Tibet

What is Acute Mountain Sickness?
Acute Mountain Sickness is an illness that can affect mountain climbers, hikers, skiers or travelers who climb too fast. It usually occurs when people rapidly reach a high altitude (typically above 8,000 feet or 2,400 meters). Due to the decreasing availability of oxygen, it is very common to occur at high altitudes. Since most places in Tibet are higher than 3000 meters, most people will experience one or more AMS symptoms upon their arrival in Tibet, including headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and disturbed sleep. But the symptoms will usually gradually decrease in severity through acclimatization. Mild AMS usually will not interfere with mild activity.
Who can't go?
(A) If you have problems like anemia or hypertension, or suffer from severe heart problems and other illness of lungs, liver or kidney, you should not go to Tibet.
(B) If you have respiratory problems, we advise you to postpone your trip till you are fully recovered.
How to get used to the environment of plateau?
Not everyone is physically suitable for staying at some place with average 4, 000 meters elevation for several days or even longer, although Tibetan are very hospitable. So it is necessary to have a physical examination before you enter Tibet. Or you can pick up some place with lower elevation to travel. That will be safe and responsible. The following ways may help to prevent or lessen the effects of AMS:
(A) Avoid catching cold before you entering Tibet. If you travel the plateau for your first time, you get ready to experience first. The more you are nervous, the more you tend to emerge the plateau reaction.
(B) Don't do strenuous exercises and only take slight activities immediately after your arrival. Don't climb too fast and don't take too much luggage.
(C) Drink extra fluids and eat more vegetable and fruit when entering Tibet. Since the mountain air is dry and cold, it is necessary to drink enough water to prevent dehydration.
(D) Avoid alcohol as it may increase the risk of dehydration. Don't smoke and don't take other depressants such as tranquilizers and sleeping pills, because these medicines will depress the respiratory drive and limit oxygen intake.

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User Comments

Question:Planning a trip to Tibet this year. But I’m worried about High Altitude Sickness. The trip takes the 48 hrs trainride to Lhasa and then stays for 2 days in Lhasa before going to a higher place. Will these 2 days plus the train ride be enough time to cope with the altitude?

Answer:For the extremely high altitude, to travel Tibet is really a physically demanding experience. The main symptoms of high altitude sickness are headache and nauseous. But the extent on people is different towards the high altitude. Generally speaking, a person of big build easily tends to get high altitude sickness, as they consume more oxygen. However, usually 1 to 2 days will be enough to adjust the weather.