16 Jan 7 Ways To Deal With Altitude Sickness While Travelling In South America
Altitude sickness is real. Not everyone experiences it, however, some experience it worse than others. After struggling with altitude sickness in a month when I moved to Ecuador ( Quito 2850 meters above sea level/ 9350 feet) I have now learned how to live with it. Here are my 7 best ways to deal with altitude sickness while travelling.
Symptoms of altitude sickness
Shortness of breath
Loss of appetite
Acclimatise before your important part of the travel
If you travel to Peru, Puno or Cusco shouldn’t be your first destination there. Allow yourself a few days to acclimatise at a lower altitude. A good place to acclimatise near Cusco is Ollantaytambo or Aguas Calientes. Though you can’t always fly into small towns if you, for example, are going to Bolivia most people arrive in La Paz or Cusco in Peru. It usually takes some hours for the altitude sickness to kick in and you do have time to locate to a lower altitude if it is not too far away.
Avoid eating too much
Your appetite will not be at its best when you are at a high altitude and it takes longer to digest. It is no point to order huge meals, you won’t be able to finish it and your stomach will not be happy about it. A starter or sharing a big meal is more ideal. Make sure you eat something that is easy to digest so pizzas are usually not a good idea. My personal experience here was I ordered a huge meal at a fancy restaurant in Cusco and didn’t end up eating even half of it.
Don’t push too hard on the hiking
It is not a good idea to run up the hills and mountains when you are at a high altitude. It might hit you ten times faster and even worse.If that happens you should hike down to a lower altitude right away. Take it slow and drink plenty of water while you hike.
Avoid drinking alcohol
Drinking alcohol at a high altitude will make you even more dehydrated than you would already be in the dry environment. If you haven’t had any altitude problems it will most likely hit you when you drink alcohol. It is very important to be hydrated when you are in a high altitude, especially if you struggle with altitude sickness.
Drink cocoa tea
Peruvians especially, swear by their cocoa tea at a high altitude. I tried it when I was in Cusco and Puno. Not sure if it helped much, but it is worth a try.
Use chlorophyll drops in your water
Liquid Chlorophyll is supposed to give you more oxygen to the brain and help you deal with the altitude. It is natural. I tried it when I was in Peru and was advised start one week before travelling. You mix a few drops in the water and it will turn green.
Take pills for altitude sickness
You should start taking altitude sickness pills some days before your trip and upscale when you reach the high altitude. You can get over the counter pills like aspirin etc and it is quite easy to get it over the counter in places like Peru and Ecuador. Be aware of side effects and talk to your doctor if you have an illness or are on other medication before start using these pills. You should also talk to a doctor/pharmacist on recommended consumption.
If you get really bad you need to get oxygen from oxygen tanks or move to a lower altitude immediately. If you are concerned make sure you stay at a hotel that has oxygen tanks and that it is available on the tours you join and on the different transportations.
Have you experienced altitude sickness? How did you deal with it?