How to treat altitude sickness

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Altitude sickness includes symptoms that happen when walking or climbing to a higher altitude or elevation very fast. Sometimes it can result to high altitude pulmonary edema of HAPE which can be very dangerous.

Causes of altitude sickness

  • Climbing very fast to higher altitudes, oxygen level gradually becomes low and result to difficulty breathing.
  • Low levels of fluids in the body
  • Temperature of the body becomes very low or hypothermia
  • Consumption of alcohol


  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
    altitude sickness
    Take plenty of rest and sleep. Take at least 8 hours of sleep at night before the trip to prevent fatigue and altitude sickness.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of body coordination and difficulty walking
  • Tightening in the chest
  • Confusion
  • Coughing and produces a white or frothy substance
  • Coma when it becomes severe


  • After arriving at a new height, take a rest and relax for at least 12-24 hours before performing physical activities. The body will acclimatize to the low level of oxygen and release more red blood cells that function in carrying oxygen to different areas of the body. It will produce plenty of enzymes that help in the absorption of oxygen by the tissues.
  • Drink ginger tea mixed with lemon, honey and garlic for at least 2-3 times every day before climbing. Ginger, lemon juice and honey are rich in antibacterial properties. They eliminate germs that cause colds and prevent upset stomach, nausea and vomiting.
  • During a climb and feeling nauseous, chew on ginger root to calm down the stomach. It also prevents altitude sickness.
  • Eat easy to digest foods before a climb. Avoid fatty, greasy and salty foods.
  • Take the prescribed ginkgo biloba supplement at least 24 hours before climbing. The leaves of ginkgo biloba are rich in ginkgolides, flavanols and bilobalide that relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness.
  • Drink plenty of fluids at least 2-3 liters of water to keep the body hydrated. Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine and sedative which affects levels of blood pressure before climbing.
  • Take the prescribed medications to prevent altitude sickness and plenty of pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen during the climb to lessen the occurrence of body aches and headaches. It will lessen the symptoms of altitude sickness.
  • Take plenty of rest and sleep. Take at least 8 hours of sleep at night before the trip to prevent fatigue and altitude sickness.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on altitude sickness is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the indications and how it is managed by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

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