How to Avoid Altitude Sickness During Everest Base Camp Trekking

  • Karan Gurung
  • Last Updated on Nov 5, 2023

During the Everest Base Camp trekking, there is a possibility of getting altitude sickness. The word altitude sickness is also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), which occurs at high altitudes. The layer of oxygen gets thinner and thinner as the elevation increases, and trekking to the base of Mount Everest is an activity of rambling at high elevation.

The reasons for getting altitude sickness while trekking to Everest Base Camp and its preventive measures are mentioned below. Please kindly go through and stay away from altitude sickness.

Everest base camp

Table of Contents

What are the symptoms of altitude sickness during Everest Base Camp trekking?

While trekking to Everest Base Camp, you might feel nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headaches, etc. Different levels of altitude sickness have different sorts of symptoms and are justified accordingly.

Mild altitude sickness

As you are hiking above 2,800 m above sea level, you may feel a slight headache, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue, which are symptoms of mild altitude sickness. Though you're having mild symptoms, you can continue your hike towards Everest Base Camp using tablets or following the guidelines from your guide.

Moderate Altitude Sickness

Moderate altitude sickness is getting worse instead of improving from mild altitude sickness. When you have moderate altitude sickness, you feel a loss of appetite, severe nausea and vomiting, a headache, chest tightening, and shortness of breath. In such a situation, instead of moving towards Everest Base Camp, it's better to descend as quickly as possible to acclimatize and minimize the risk of altitude sickness.

Severe altitude sickness

It is an emergency if anyone is getting severe altitude sickness. The symptoms might seem similar to moderate altitude sickness, but they are more severe and intense. In this condition, it's important to evacuate a victim to a lower elevation as soon as possible for medical treatment.

High-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE)

It builds fluid in your lungs and makes it difficult to move oxygen throughout the body. When the person gets high-altitude pulmonary edema, symptoms will include extreme fatigue and weakness, shortness of breath, tightening of the chest, eyes turning blue, continued coughing, etc. It is a critical case, so a patient should evacuate quickly for treatment.

High-altitude cerebral edema (HACE)

When a person has high-altitude cerebral edema, their brain tissue starts swelling and leaking fluid. In this case, a person lost his memories, headache, weakness, psychotic behavior, coma, and coordination. In such a situation, heading toward Everest Base Camp is full of risk, so a patient should immediately evacuate to a lower elevation for medical treatment.

What are the causes of altitude sickness while trekking to Everest Base Camp?

While stepping towards Everest Base Camp, the main reasons for getting altitude sickness are explained below.

Qickly ascending or running

While trekking towards Everest Base Camp, the layers of oxygen get thinner and thinner with the rapid increase in elevation. While stepping ahead, hikers need to be more careful with the limitations of hiking. Never push yourself beyond your abilities. If you did, you were welcoming altitude sickness into your life. Always listen to your body and give yourself enough time to get friendly with the environment, which avoids altitude sickness.

Do not drink alcohol or smoke while trekking to Everest Base Camp.

Drinking alcohol and smoking during Everest Base Camp trekking are foolish people's activities. In my 15 years of guiding, I have seen many travelers get critical altitude sickness due to smoking and drinking alcohol. Alcohol causes dehydration and the worst headaches, whereas smoking causes shortness of breath. So, I strongly suggest to my readers not to drink alcohol and stop smoking cigarettes while trekking at high elevations, which leads to altitude sickness.

How do I prevent altitude sickness during Everest Base Camp Trek?

While trekking towards the base of Mount Everest, quick ascent, drinking alcohol, and smoking are the leading reasons for acute mountain sickness. To prevent altitude sickness, the traveler must follow the following tips:

Control your walking speed.

While quick walking activities are done at Everest Base Camp, there are more chances of getting altitude sickness. As I already mentioned above, the percentage of oxygen at higher elevations is lower compared to lower elevations. Do not push and put pressure on the body beyond its control because it might create AMS.

Take your time and enjoy every moment of your hike. There is a beautiful saying, "Slow and steady wins the race". Similarly, if you ascend quickly, your body won't get enough oxygen, and as a result, you might need to return halfway due to altitude sickness. whereas moving slowly towards your destiny has more chances of success. So maintain your walking speed at higher elevations to prevent altitude sickness.

Enough drinking water

While hiking in the Himalayas, travelers lose water from their bodies through sweat and have a higher chance of getting dehydrated. So, a traveler needs to drink enough water every day. At least 3 liters of water per day, but if you can drink more than 3 liters, it's good for your health, and it also helps to prevent altitude sickness.

Garlic Soup and Ginger Tea

Garlic soup and ginger tea are natural and organic foods that are used to prevent altitude sickness. Garlic makes the blood vessels thinner, makes the blood flow efficient, and also helps to control dizziness and nausea. So garlic soup is an important local food to prevent altitude sickness.

Diamox

It is a preventive tablet that is used against altitude sickness. Note for the traveler: Diamox tablets are very important to take while rambling at high altitudes. If you use the tablet, you will feel tingly and numb. To avoid such an experience, drink enough water. It is not the medicine for altitude sickness; it is a preventative measure to avoid altitude.

Pulse Oximeter

It is a tool that reads the oxygen level and heartbeat of a person. It is an essential tool that you need to take while trekking to Everest Base Camp. It will help you to know in advance if something went wrong in your body. So, it is important to carry it while trekking in the Himalayas.

*Note: If you are scared of altitude problems and want a low elevated and easy trek, we strongly recommend you to do Annapurna Base Camp, Langtang Valley, and Mardi Himal Trek

Annapurna base campMardi HimalLangtang Valley

Conclusion

While trekking toward Everest Base Camp, there are more chances of getting altitude sickness due to the rapid gain in altitude. To avoid altitude sickness, follow the tips that are explained in detail.

 

Karan Gurung

Karan Gurung

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