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Happy Holidays Treks & Expedition has designed all of our treks with proper acclimatization time and rest time during the trip. However, at altitude over 6,000 feet each individual reacts differently and you should be aware of the symptoms and effects of AMS.

It is not uncommon to experience unusual symptoms when you first arrive at high altitude. The best remedies are to hike slowly, rest frequently, and drink plenty of fluids. A good night's sleep will often bring you back to normal. However, it is important to pay attention to the signals your body gives you. If symptoms persist, consult with the trip guide or trip doctors at once.

While acclimatizing avoid pushing yourself too hard, however physically fit you may be or feel. Physical fitness does not prevent AMS. You may hike more slowly than others in your group, or than you are used to, but this perfectly acceptable.

AMS results primarily from insufficient oxygen in the blood (hypoxia). Mild symptoms are a signal that you must stay at that altitude until the symptoms have gone away. Never ascend with any symptoms of AMS. If you ignore alarm signals from your body you risk serious or fatal illness. Be alert for symptoms in yourself and in your companions.

PRECAUTIONS FOR HIGH ALTITUDES :

  • If you suffer from heart or lung disease, you must consult your doctor and discuss
    your plans in detail before attempting any high altitude trek.
     
  • Proper hydration is essential. The thin, dry air of high altitude wicks away moisture
    As you breathe so you must drink a minimum of 4-5 quarts of liquid a day. Avoid caffeine which is a diuretic.
     
  • Sleeping pills and other sedatives should not be used as they tend to decrease
    breathing and may lead to AMS.
     
  • Do not drink alcohol or smoke at high altitudes.
  • Maintain good nutrition. Your appetite will probably decrease but it is important to eat well (especially food high in carbohydrates), even if you're not feeling well. Cut down on salt, fats and protein.

EARLY SYMPTOMS OF AMS :
Headache, dizziness, extreme fatigue, malaise, persistent yawning, hyperventilation, loss of appetite, swelling in ankles or eyelids, breathlessness at rest, poor sleep, and Cheyne-Stokes breathing while sleeping (an irregular breathing pattern in which breathing accelerates, then slows down and seems to stop).

If you experience any of these symptoms, rest and drink more fluids. Your body is capable of adapting to altitude if given time. Most likely they will be gone in the morning. Should they persist, however, notify your trip guide and watch for more advanced symptoms.

Advance Symptoms of AMS:
Increasing tiredness, severe headache, vomiting, staggering walk, irrational behavior and loss of coordination (ataxia), and inability to perform simple motor functions. These worsening symptoms indicate High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).

Increasing shortness of breath, severe cough with watery or bloody sputum, noisy bubbling breath and tiredness are signs of High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).

HACE and HAPE are both progressive, life-threatening conditions. Ignoring progressive symptoms may lead to unconsciousness and death within a matter of hours. THE ONLY TREATMENT IS TO DESCEND. A person suffering from AMS may not think clearly and may have to be forced to descend. Even if the diagnosis is unclear, you should descend whenever there is any possibility of AMS. You can always re-ascend when you feel better.

Currently the Himalayan Rescue Association does not recommend any drug to prevent AMS. It is safer to rely on planned, slow ascent. However, the prescription drug Diamox has been used as a prophylaxis against early symptoms and we are finding that more and more trip members are arriving with it.

Some cautionary notes for those considering Diamox:

  • Diamox can severely dehydrate you. Drink 4-5 quarts of water daily.
  • Anyone with an allergy to sulfa drugs should not take Diamox. Please consult with your physician.
  • Diamox is not effective in dealing with more severe symptoms of altitude sickness. The only remedy in these cases is descent.
  • Generally, we do not recommend the use of Diamox, as our treks are designed to allow natural acclimatization. If you choose to use Diamox it is essential that you advise your trip guide you are doing so.

EVACUATION
In case of AMS or other serious illness or injury, evacuation from the trek area may be necessary. Depending on circumstances, evacuation could mean being carried to a road head and transferring to a vehicle, or being carried to the nearest airstrip if feasible. Helicopter evacuation should only be considered in life-threatening situations.

If you require evacuation from a trip, you are responsible for payment of all evacuation costs, including the cost of a helicopter evacuation (about UD$2,000) if necessary, directly to our agent in Kathmandu before you leave Nepal. Acceptable forms of payment are cash, travelers' checks, or credit cards. In using your credit card, be aware that a service charge will be assessed in addition to the actual cost of the evacuation. Each client must bring one of these forma of payment with them in case of emergency. The amount will be recoverable from your insurance policy (see "insurance") by submitting a claim once you return from Nepal (be sure to keep careful documentation of all cost to be submitted to the insurance company with your claim).

Happy Holidays Treks & Expedition

Happy Holidays Treks & ExpeditionPost Box # 4156. Kathmandu, Nepal,
Telephone- 977-1-4435207
E-mail: info@holidaynepaltrek.com
Website : www.holidaynepaltrek.com

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