1. Drink plenty of water. The effects of altitude sickness can easily be confused with dehydration, as high elevation draws water vapors from the lungs more quickly than at sea level. If you have no other symptoms of sickness aside from a headache, drink at least one liter of fluids, and consider acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol). Consider a sports drink containing electrolytes to replenish the vital nutrients you lost while working up a sweat hiking the ridge line. Additionally, avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they dehydrate the muscles and body. Staying hydrated helps you perform at your peak levels.
2. Look out for the symptoms of altitude sickness. The effects of AMS begin to show roughly 6-10 hours past your initial ascent at over 2000 meters (6500 feet), and will resemble a severe hangover. However, 20% of people develop mild symptoms between 1920-2960 meters (6,300-9,700 feet). Symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Fatigue and weakness
- Dizziness and light-headedness
- Swelling of extremities (hands, feet, face), or pins and needles
- Shortness of breath when exercising
- Persistent rapid pulse
3. Get immediate medical attention for life-threatening symptoms. High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE; fluid in the lungs) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE; swelling of the brain) can occur in up to 2% of people adjusting to altitudes above 2700 m (9,000 feet). An immediate descent and a medical evaluation should be made if any of the following is observed
- Persistent dry cough
- Shortness of breath when resting
- Headaches unresponsive to medication
- Unstable movement
- Increase in vomiting
- Progressive loss in consciousness
4. Follow the “golden rule” – climb high, sleep low. After hitting 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), do not ascend more than 300 meters (1,000 feet) per day to sleep. You can ascend as high as you want during the day, so long as base camp is no higher than 300 meters higher than your previous night’s sleeping elevation. The rule can also be applied to high altitude driving.
5. Speed up the acclimatization process if necessary. If the golden rule must be broken, you can speed up the acclimatization process and reduce the symptoms once you’re there.
- Acetalozamide (Diamox) can cut recovery time in half. The drug however causes increased urination, so avoid alcohol and drink extra fluids.
- Ginkgo Biloba, a low-priced herbal supplement, has been clinically proven to help speed the process and decrease the effects without any of the side effects of Diamox. Take 120 Mg per day two weeks before arrival at altitude, followed by 120 mg per day while at altitude.
- A Gamow bag, a portable plastic pressure bag inflated with a foot pump that can reduce the effective altitude by 1,500 meters (5,000 feet)
6. Take it easy. Air at higher elevations is hypoxic (decreased oxygen levels), so overexertion of the body is ill-advised. Resting at the altitude level of sickness is often the most effective remedy (other than descent), and you’ll feel better within 1-2 days typically, or up to 4 days max.
Original Source: [http://www.wikihow.com/Prevent-Altitude-Sickness]