How To Deal With Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

Traveling to higher altitude region is a challenge to travelers as it presents a great amount of excitement. But, the low oxygen levels found at high altitudes can also cause problems. The altitude normally starts to affect us from 1,500 to 2,000 meters above. As one starts to climb above 2,000 meters, the atmospheric pressure starts to fall noticeably which means the air keeps on getting thinner. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is one of the most common health conditions that stop people from enjoying high altitude treks. It is always better to consult a doctor or Travel medicine clinic before trekking at high altitudes or using any medications.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

Acute mountain sickness (AMS) also known as altitude sickness is a negative health effect of high altitude. It occurs due to acute exposure to low amounts of oxygen at high altitude. The common symptoms include a headache, nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and problems with sleep. In some cases, altitude sickness can be fatal.

Types of  Altitude Sickness

1. AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness
2. HAPE – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (Water in lungs)
3. HACE – High Altitude Cerebral Edema (Water in the head)

Note: The most serious symptoms of altitude sickness arise from edema (fluid accumulation in the tissues of the body). At very high altitude, humans can get either high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) or high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).

Cause Factor of Altitude Sickness

  • Less Oxygen
  • Low Pressure i.e. Barometric Pressure
  • Rapid Climb
  • Possible Dehydration
  • Hypothermia – the Medical emergency, occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce.

Mild Acute Mountain Sickness Symptoms:

Mild symptom feels like hangover/not feeling good

  • A headache, body ache and muscle aches
  • Fatigue/Tiredness
  • Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia and irritability
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathlessness
  • Swelling of the hands, feet, and face

Severe Acute Mountain Sickness Symptoms:

  • Increasing shortness of breath even at rest
  • Continuous coughing and chest congestion
  • High Pulse rate i.e. 110
  • Skin discoloration and blueness of face, lips, fingernails, means inability to transport Oxygen into the blood
  • Inability to walk, lack of balance, or disorientation
  • Mental confusion/Altered mental status
  • Irritable – do not want to be bothered by other people
  • Hallucinations, Unconsciousness, and coma

Tips to Avoid Acute Mountain Sickness

So how can we avoid altitude sickness or simply reduce its effects while trekking? Here we have mention few tips that may help you.

1. Drink a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated

Drink 3-4ltr of water minimum a day, no matter what. As your body is doing extra work with less oxygen you need to feel properly hydrated. Don’t exhaust yourself so much and breathe deep and take rest more than usual.

2. Take time to acclimatize to new conditions

You can stay at your existing altitude to see if your body adjusts. If your symptoms don’t improve within 24-48 hours or if it gets worse, you should descend to a lower altitude and seek immediate medical assistance.

3. Do not make RAPID ASCENT; don’t go too fast too high.

Avoid big single-day gains in elevation (more than 1,500 vertical feet). Embrace the pace, rest your legs, and hydrate

4. No alcohol, sleeping pills, and smoking.

Alcohol and caffeine consumption cause severe dehydration. You might already be dehydrated so, it’s best to avoid them if you want to complete your trek and have a good experience.

5. Try using lemon juice and cinnamon to mitigate symptoms

The mild symptoms can be reduced with natural remedies such as lemon and cinnamon as lemon juice is known to reduce fever, headaches, vomiting, and coughs it can be taken with garlic or honey. Similarly, cinnamon helps to prevent nausea and soothe the stomach muscles.


Descent is the best medicine. If you have mild symptoms, do not go higher and take Aspirin. Get all information about Altitude Sickness before your trekking tour that will make you confident to make your tour successful.

Clinic Services International Medicare

Listen to Your Body

The above mention tips will help you to reduce its effects, but the main thing is everybody reacts differently to altitude so pay close attention to how you feel. Always remember to stay hydrated. Also wear sunscreen, and have layers available for the protection of your body. Always communicate any health concerns to your group. As long as the symptoms are mild, it’s generally okay to continue trekking. But, if your situation gets worse, turn around.

If it is a mild symptom, stay at the same altitude until the symptoms are completely gone. Furthermore, travelers are requested to bring medicine prescribed by their doctor. Also, it is advised to get injections against typhoid, meningitis, and hepatitis from International Medicare. Whether it’s conducting a health check-up or emergency service, Pre trekking advice and counseling or Medical Escorting, our team of expert doctors and medical staff are always ready to help. Contact us at 00977-61463271

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Are you a traveler to Pokhara? International Medicare is a medical center and travel hospital. It is a health care clinic.This travellers clinic Pokhara is a health care centre with all the health facilities for travellers. Get care in a homely environment at travellers hospital Pokhara. A travel medicine hospital and clinic. Patient Contact Room Number: 00977-61464368
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