Altitude sickness, or acute mountain sickness, is the result of the low oxygen levels found at high altitudes. Altitude sickness can cause problems for travellers who are going to destinations higher than 2,500 metres (8,000 feet) above sea level.
Travel to areas of high altitude poses special risks. Oxygen decreases as you climb higher above sea level, and rapid ascents to altitudes greater than 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) can cause altitude sickness, even if you’re in excellent health.
Take your time to acclimatize at various altitudes.
Medicine are available to shorten the time it takes to get used to high altitude.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of altitude illness are similar to those of a hangover: headache, feeling tired, lack of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. One severe consequence of altitude sickness is swelling of the brain (high-altitude cerebral edema [HACE]). Symptoms include extreme fatigue, drowsiness, confusion, and loss of coordination. HACE is rare, but it can be fatal. If it develops, the person must immediately descend to a lower altitude.
Can altitude sickness be treated?
Mild cases can be treated according to symptoms (such as with painkillers for a headache) and should go away on their own within a few days. However, people with altitude illness should not continue to ascend until they have gotten used to the altitude. Critically, a person whose symptoms are getting worse while resting at the same altitude must descend or risk serious illness or death.
Travel Consultation Details
Our consultations typically last about 30 minutes and include a comprehensive itinerary and specific topics about your journey. Our Travel Medicine Specialists will discuss recommendations (from the CDC, WHO and other sources) and requirements based on your destinations, activities, time of year, altitude and medical history. Our consultation rooms are private and comfortable. You can usually schedule an appointment on short notice and we will do our best to accommodate you after hours.
As a one-stop travel medicine clinic, Summit Travel Health carries all travel vaccines necessary to protect you on your vacation, safari, mission trip, study abroad semester, business trip, or inter-country adoption. We can also provide antimalarial and antidiarrheal medications. And, with our variety of hard-to-find travel products in stock, you will be fully prepared for whatever challenges arise during your journey.