What is Altitude Sickness?

Altitude Sickness, or High-Altitude Sickness refers to a set of symptoms that affects the people at a very high altitude, usually above 3000m (10,000 ft) due to the presence of very less oxygen and low atmospheric pressure. It can be derived into three versions:

1)Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS): It is the mildest and the most common form with basic symptoms including:

  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • loss of appetite
  • shortness of breath

If these symptoms of AMS are ignored, it can get even more serious with other HAPE and HACE symptoms.

2) High Altitude Pulmonary Edema(HAPE): It means an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. In short, it affects the lungs. Its basic symptoms includes:

  • Dry Cough (May cough blood)
  • Shortness of breath/Tightening in the chest
  • Noisy Breathing
  • Blueness of lips, tips of fingers and tongue

3)High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) : It means an accumulation of fluid inside the brain and is considered the most severe. In short, it affects the brain. Its basic symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Delirious (hallucinations)
  • Highly irritable
  • Drunken Gait
  • loss of coordination

In brief, if the basic AMS symptoms arise, one must immediately take right measures to prevent it from being more fatal. However, if HACE and HAPE symptoms arise, one must immediately descend from the high elevation and be referred to the nearby hospital.

Every year, thousands of trekkers trek into the lap of Himalayas at very high altitude. Most of them successfully complete their trekking journey. However, many people still die during their high altitude adventure because of not taking the right measures for safety. 
Shepherd Holidays, in all of our organized trekking activities keeps the safety of our clients in upmost priority. We try to provide the best safety measures and take the required measures such as:

1)Well experienced and highly qualified Guides:  We do have some highly qualified guides with good experience at high altitudes who efficiently follows our QHSE policy. They can spot the early signs and symptoms and take necessary actions.

2)Use of Oximeter : At altitude higher than 3000 m, our guide will use the Oximeter on a daily basis to ensure your body oxygen level. Oximeter is a medical device that indirectly monitors the oxygen saturation of your blood without requiring a blood sample.

3)Sufficient Hygienic meals: We will provide you with sufficient hygienic meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) in order to maintain your calories and energy levels during the trip.

4)Immediate Helicopter Evacuation: Considering the location and level of seriousness, we can immediately call for a helicopter evacuation at your expenses. We advice you to cover this on your Insurance Policy. 

To know more about Altitude Sickness, its Symptoms, Preventive measures and many more, check out this interesting article on Altitude Sickness - A Complete Guide