Altitude Sickness

  • Altitude sickness can be felt from an altitude of 2400 meters above sea level
  • The main symptoms are shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness and insomnia
  • Most people will only experience small discomforts due to altitude sickness
  • It is important to drink plenty of water during the first couple of days
  • Eat light food and do not drink alcohol or coffee
  • If the symptoms remain strong after a couple of days you may want to visit a doctor or go to lower altitudes
  • Oxygen is widely available in higher tourist cities in Peru
 
With a countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador where a large part of the country is located on altitudes well over 2000 meters, altitude sickness is a phenomenon often experienced by visitors. It is caused by the lower level of oxygen available on higher altitudes. This affects the blood circulation and hence has different symptoms. It is commonly seen with altitudes over 2400 meters but it is hard to predict who will be affected by altitude sickness, as there are no specific factors that correlate with a susceptibility to altitude sickness. However, most people can climb up to 2,400 meters without difficulty. The most common symptoms are; dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, insomnia and loss of appetite. The most important rules when arriving on altitude are to avoid physical exercise the first day(s), drink lots of water, get enough rest, eat light and avoid coffee, alcohol and cigarettes. Most people will feel the lack of oxygen for a while but when taking the former advice into account undergoes little hinder. In case you would have stronger headaches, insomnia and troubles breathing it is strongly recommend to see a doctor. In Cusco and other cities on altitude oxygen is widely available in pharmacies. Most hotels also provide oxygen for their guests if requested. For the locals there is only one remedy and that is drinking Coca Tea made out of the leaves from the Coca pant. Its benefits have scientifically not been proven yet but who can deny the argument of thousands of years of Andean Culture.
 

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