7 Tips to Avoid Altitude Sickness



I am 6 days into my 28 days of my Peru trip! If you’ve been keeping up with my travels from my IG stories, you’ve probably heard me sound a little out of breath while talking in my videos or saying I’m holding off on working out for now. This will explain why. Before coming to Peru, my intern facilities made sure to inform me that I would have to acclimate to the altitude difference I would experience. While I made sure to do some research beforehand, there's truly no way to know how it will specifically effect you. I am going to update this blog post throughout my stay to keep you all updated on how my acclimation goes and even if it ever reverts.


When I first got here, I did not notice the effects immediately. I won't even say I have truly experienced altitude sickness (and I hope I don't), but I have experienced some of the signs. I noticed them most when I laid down to go to sleep the first 2 or 3 nights, because my heart would race and my breathing shallowed. Throughout my first two days I experienced slight headaches or shortness of breath, especially if I hadn‘t been drinking water like I should. After those first two days, I truly didn't experience this anymore. Don't take these signs lightly. Follow these tips so there's nothing standing in your way of some of the most adventurous times of your life!


1. DRINK WATER!

As I just mentioned, symptoms worsen when dehydrated. Make sure to have water with you at all times. It'll be your new best friend.


2. Give Yourself Time to Acclimate

You my not be on your trip long so you want to get started the moment you land. WAIT. It'll do your body a ton of good. If you don't think you have enough time to accommodate 48 hours to acclimating, PLEASE at the minimum give yourself 24 hours.


3. Avoid Alcohol

Think about it ... Tip 1 is avoid dehydration. Alcohol makes you dehydrated, therefore its best to avoid it. If you want to add it into the mix, I suggest the same protocol in Tip 2 - wait at least 48 hours. Period.


4. Eat Carbs

There is not one place I have gone on this trip and haven't brought snacks with me. Eating foods that are high in carbohydrates have been proven to help with prevention.


5. Drink Coca Tea

I was a skeptic about this at first. I like knowing things are scientifically proven and I just could not find the data to support this ... but then I tried it anyway. Now I am a die hard coca tea believer. You can either chew on the leaves or drink it as a tea. I've continued to drink it periodically whenever I feel a little under the weather.

* Personally, I am the kind of person that prefers to steer away from medications. All of the tips listed above are the tools I have used to comfortably acclimate to the altitude. If you are open to trying medications, those tips will be listed below. I am letting it be know that I am not a physician, but these are tips I have researched, were recommended to me by my intern locations and have seen used by fellow interns and volunteers. If you have a trip coming up in a high altitude, please consult with your physician beforehand to find the best methods for you.


6. Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headaches

This is something you would typically do if you were experiencing a headache at home. This will not prevent altitude sickness but it will help with that specific symptom.