It is not the lack of fitness that prevents people from reaching the top of Kilimanjaro, its Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness! If you reach the summit of Kilimanjaro depends more than anything else on how you cope with the altitude. There are many things you can do to avoid the acute mountain sickness symptoms when Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness which occur the height above 2500 metres is the Physical distress from difficulty in adjusting the lower oxygen level at higher altitude level. Most of the cases in altitude sickness are mild but it can also be life threatening in case of acute mountain sickness in case of acute mountain sickness.
Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Symptoms occur within few hours after arrival at higher elevation which has the high-altitude level and include headache, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, rapid pulse, nausea and inability to exercise.
Sometimes you will need to be moved to the lower altitude to get adjusted to your body.
You will not get altitude sickness if you maintain the proper Health Precaution while Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and it is also unpredictable as who will be vulnerable to the altitude sickness.
The main cause of Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness would be shorter itineraries, as this will not allow you for proper acclimatization and make you feel uncomfortable to intake oxygen.
The Best Kilimanjaro Tour Operator will allow you to choose the longer itineraries will give you extra time for proper acclimatization and also allow you to sleep more time on lower elevations and spend more time on mountains.
If you have any pre-existing health conditions, it’s better to consult a doctor before booking the trip.
There are many things which you can do to avoid the symptoms of acute mountain sickness while Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Steep High and Sleep Low to counter Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness while on the toughest quest of your life on this splendid Mountain peak
Three Golden rule of Kilimanjaro Altitude sickness:
Always remember these 3 Golden Rules when at higher altitude:
Rule 1: If you feel unwell, you have altitude sickness until proven otherwise
Rule 2: Do not ascend further if you have symptoms of altitude sickness
Rule 3: If you are getting worse then descend immediately
Prevention for Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness:
Prevention is better than the cure. If you are wandering How To Avoid Altitude Sickness Kilimanjaro while climbing,the best Kilimanjaro operator will give you Altitude Sickness Guide For Kilimanjaro Climbs to prevent Altitude sickness. Follow these to prevent yourself from Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness:
Prepare Before Ascend:
Take Altitude Training For Kilimanjaro trekking like Aerobic exercises, running on treadmill, strength training, hiking, walking “up & down”, and breathing exercises.
It is advisable to pre-acclimatize yourself before attempting Mount Kilimanjaro. Mount Meru would be a good option for pre-acclimatization before Climbing Mount Kilimanjarofor Beginners.
You will need to choose the best Kilimanjaro routes which will give you additional time for acclimatization. Make sure that the route allows for a good climb high, sleep low opportunity.
It is always recommended to go as slowly as possible, do not overexert yourself, even on the lower elevations.
Drink sufficient fluids (4 litres a day)
Avoid drinking alcohol, taking stimulants, smoking or consuming caffeine while Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
If there is a question in your mind “Is Climbing Kilimanjaro Safe or not”, then the answer would be ‘yes’, if you follow some precautions before climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. There are some precautions as tips in Climb Kilimanjaro Guide to avoid the altitude sickness.
Drink More Water:
When you are in higher altitude there are more chances of being dehydrated and the dehydration may cause Acute Mountain sickness. Staying hydrated will definitely help preventing Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness. It is advised to drink water regularly while you are Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Symptoms of dehydration is similar to Acute Mountain Sickness. You will need to drink adequate water and not extra water. Too much of water may also be harmful as it can dilute your body’s sodium level which may further cause weakness, confusions, seizures, and coma. The best way to check your body’s hydration level is to check your urine. Clear urine indicates adequate hydration and dark urine indicates dehydration and need to drink more water.
The porters often keep saying “Pole Pole”, in Swahili language which means slowly slowly. As we know slow and steady wins the race. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not like a Marathon or sprint. Acclimatization to the low levels of oxygen in the mountain requires you to take your time and this will make your body slowly get used to lack of oxygen. This is the important thing to follow for the success on the mountain. Do not walk fast on the mountains as it may make you feel dehydrated.
It is better to walk in a pace that you can carry a conversation with fellow climbers. You will need to be walking very slow taking rest on each step and moving on by taking a deep breath. Always slow down yourself and enjoy the beauty of Kilimanjaro, view the panoramic scenery. Ascending too fast may cause you Altitude sickness and make it difficult to proceed further.
The slower you hike, more time you give body for acclimatization.
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Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness
Walk High and Sleep Low:
Best Acclimatization for Climbing Kilimanjaro is to maintain “Walk high and sleep low” profile. Walking high and sleeping low will give you time for proper acclimatization. While on the mountain make it a routine to eat hike and sleep. You will need adequate sleep and it is important on the mountains. But the altitude changes may not allow you to sleep.
If you sleep the quality improves as time passes. It means that you are recovering better from the daily activities and that you are acclimatizing too. It is recommended not to expand energy needlessly throughout the day. You need to take breaks whenever it is necessary. When you are in campsite spend time lying down and relaxing in your tent. Change out the trekking clothes and into your sleeping clothes. Eat dinner if you don’t feel like eating. Have a good sleep if you are not willing to sleep too.
Check about the Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Medications before climbing for Mount. Kilimanjaro
Acetazolamide or Diamox is a drug that is proved preventing Altitude Sickness. The drug helps to improve the acidity of the blood by acting as a diuretic and promoting urination. It is a preventive medicine and may not cure AMS. It is advised to consult a doctor before using Diamox as it is a prescription medicine.
It is also recommended that taking Diamox 2-3 days 2 weeks before departure to check if you suffer any side effects.
The major side effects associated with Diamox are:
Frequent Urination – most of them experience this while taking Diamox. It may result in development of Kidney stone and it is advised to drink more water while taking this medicine.
Numbness and tingling in toes, fingers and face – the sensation is a bit discomforting but not dangerous.
Taste alterations – normal food may taste weird.
Nausea, Vomiting and diarrhoea – However, these side effects are rare.
Drowsiness and confusion are also possible.
Diamox comes in 250mg tablet and some take half of the tablet in the morning and other half in the evening.
For Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) like High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and High altitude cerebral edema (HACE), use Dexamethasone and Prednisolone as per the instruction.
In pre-occurrences of severe AMS, inform your trekking operator so that they can inform Kilimanjaro Rescue team to evacuate you or your co-hiker immediately.
We hope these pre-guided precautions and tips will be very helpful and useful to you to avoid the Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness while Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.