Altitude Sickness: What you need to know
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a dream for many, and getting to the top is a great achievement that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Like most things in life, there are always a few challenges that you must overcome before getting to the top. The tough climb, the intense weather conditions and altitude sickness are just a few of the many worries climbers have before climbing Kilimanjaro.
Here is our guide to the things you should know about altitude sickness.
What is altitude sickness?
Altitude or “mountain” sickness is caused by lower levels of oxygen at high altitudes. The air is thinner and harder to breathe. This causes sickness in some people, but does not affect everyone. It is something to be cautious about when climbing any mountain that has a reasonably high altitude.
Symptoms of altitude sickness
Early symptoms include headaches, fatigue and insomnia. Later symptoms may include shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, respiratory failure, cerebral edema, coma and sometimes death. Many people with mild altitude sickness have little to worry about, if symptoms do get worse, urgent medical attention is needed.
Medical treatments may include Diamox and dexamethasone, and pain killers among others. A survey conducted by YAS (Your African Safari) on using Diamox to summit Kilimanjaro can be found here.
The best way to treat the sickness is to descend to a lower altitude. You can prevent it by properly by acclimatizing the body to higher altitudes. Prevention of acute mountain sickness is sometimes with acetazolamide medication.
It is also important that you climb the mountain slowly and gradually, and stay hydrated at all times.
Good luck climbing the mountain and if you need some other tips for conquering Mount Kilimanjaro then click here.
Most of all be safe!