Most of the Bhutan tours aren’t physically demanding. However, travelers need to be fit enough to walk up and down on moderate hillside on a daily basis. In some conditions, modern medical facilities can be a day or more away within reach. Travelers with pre-existing heart and lung problems are suggested to consult the doctor before Bhutan arrival. As per scientific studies, high altitude sickness isn’t concerned with age, sex or state of fitness and can occur to anyone at an elevation of over 10,000 feet. Doctor’s advice is recommended for prescribed medicines of high altitude sickness.
What is high altitude sickness?
High altitude sickness, often also called mountain sickness, is an illness which occurs when traveling from lower elevations to higher elevations to about 8,000 feet or more above the sea-level. Severe altitude sickness leads to high altitude pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs) and high altitude cerebral edema (swelling of the brain). When altitude sickness takes places one will sense of having flu or hangover with other symptoms such as a headache, fatigue, appetite loss, nausea, insomnia and difficulty in breathing.
How to avoid and treat the high altitude sickness?
- Try not to stress and avoid excessively long working hours.
- Avoid coffee or alcohol in higher altitude.
- Drinking plenty of water is highly suggested.
- Avoid fatty foods.
- Eat foods with high carbohydrate like rice, pasta, cereal.
- Relax the first or second days upon arriving at the higher altitude and avoid active movements.
- Diamox 125 mg tablets can be taken twice a day which is approved by F.D.A. for prevention of AMS. Although originally released as a diuretic (water pill), the medicine helps to breathe deeper and faster which allows taking in more oxygen. Diamox is especially helpful with sleeping problems and other symptoms of A.M.S.
- Avoid sleeping pills as it may cause shallow breathing at night and difficult for the body to absorb oxygen while sleeping.
- The best cure and if nothing works then turning back to lower elevations immediately is highly recommended.