Mount Kailash Trekkers – Beware of Altitude Sickness!
Himalayas, the dream destination of every travel-lover! There are lots of summits in this eternal mountain that always beckon trekkers! Mount Kailash is one such summit which has also religious significance. Mount Kailash is supposed to be the abode of Lord Shiva! Buddhists too revere this summit along with Hindus. It is a dream of every religious Hindu and Buddhist to circumambulate this holy mountain at least once in life! However, the aspirants should take into consideration a hidden danger, called Altitude Sickness, while trying to head towards the sky-kissing mountain! The death of an aged couple from Singapore while trekking towards Mt. Kailash, due to altitude sickness, has given a momentum to thought process of travelers.
Altitude sickness, also called Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), occurs due to sudden exposure to lowered air pressure. This is generated by accessing a higher altitude rapidly from a lower altitude. Because of the change in the air pressure, amount of oxygen available to lungs is lessened.
Mount Kailash is in Tibet. Its average height is 4,000 meters. Parameter of occurrence of altitude sickness is reaching at a height of 3,000 meters and above. In a destination like Lhasa, which is at a height of 3,500 meters, clinics are available for victims of the disease; however, in Mount Kailash there is no such facility and trekkers have to take more precautions. They should take advice from experienced sources.
The disease can be prevented and cured if proper measures are taken. Explore Tibet is a Lhasa-based travel agency, which has some useful tips about tackling AMS correctly.
- Symptoms of AMS are headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, palpitation, difficulty in breathing, weakness, appetite loss, sleeping problem, bleeding nose, peripheral edema (swelling of ankles and legs) and oliguria (dehydration and renal problems). In rare cases, there can even be fatal symptoms like cerebral or pulmonary edema. Dehydration which occurs rapidly at higher altitudes exacerbates the effects of AMS.
- You should keep away from stress and remember that the disease is easily preventable and treatable. Most tourists just experience headache or feel feverish, when they reach higher elevations. They should take plenty of rest, drink a lot of water, do deep-breathing and keep away from strenuous actions. If these first aids don’t help, Lhasa clinics are ready with all the equipment like oxygen and other remedial tools.
- Remember to keep schedules slow while accessing higher elevations and give enough time to the body to acclimatize. If symptoms of altitude sickness are seen and are worsened, remember to descend to lower altitudes as soon as possible.
- It is very important to travel with an experienced and responsible team, which contains guides who know about the symptoms of altitude sickness and know how to tackle the situation. If you use vehicle, it should carry supplemental stock of oxygen.
- Some people should avoid traveling to higher altitudes. These include patients of severe cardiovascular conditions, acute or chronic pulmonary disease, severe cold, high fever, pregnant women in their third trimester and children below 3 years of age.
If proper care is taken, it is not tough to overcome altitude sickness, and also to reach the eternal and holy Mount Kailash.