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safe at High Altitude

The environment is completely different at high altitude compared to that at sea level - the air is thinner and temperatures are usually much colder. When the body slowly adapts to lower oxygen levels, the process is called acclimatisation. Getting accustomed to high altitudes, is one of the most significant things when you are travelling to high altitude areas like Leh & Ladakh.

Different people acclimatise at different speeds, so no rule suits for everyone, but there are good guidelines.

Guidelines for Better Acclimatization

Spend time acclimatizing on arrival.

It is always advisable to keep first 2 days after your arrival in high altitude destination like Leh for getting used to high altitude condition.  Yes,  it is hard to believe how many people nowadays want to spend full whole day  with simply doing nothing! Because adrenaline rush at it's peak when they reach there, they are bubbling to explore every adventure. Ok, if things go well they certainly don’t need to spend the whole day lying in bed, they can go for a walk… just should keep it easy and not try to go climbing any mountain!

Tip is : Listen to yourself and your body and you will know what is good for you.

Gradual rise in the altitude

If you follow the rules of acclimatization, it is said that after hiking up to 10,000 feet, you stay somewhere for one night after you complete every 1000 feet and one full day after completing 3000 feet. If you get easily adjusted to this, you are not going to face trouble any further.

Keep your body properly hydrated

Keep on drinking enough water and other beverages like juice, soup and milk. In the place of plain water, you can drink garlic flavoured water. You can keep garlic pieces in your water bottle. The oxygen levels in your body will be normal like this. Avoid much consumption of black tea and coffee.

Avoid over hydration

Do not force yourself or anyone else to drink water if they are not feeling thirsty. This might lead to vomit or even worse, can lead to cerebral edema, causing confusion, seizures, hyponatremia, coma and weakness.

Avoid sleeping on high altitudes

Above 3,000m, if the geography allows, do not ascend more than 300m a day. If you do, plan to sleep no more than 300m higher than you did the previous night until you are well acclimatised. Acclimatisation takes one to three days for any given altitude. If you go up higher and can’t descend - take a rest day to allow your body time to ‘catch up’.  

Do not over- exert yourself

It is advisable that you should avoid over & unnecessary exertion as it may lead to heavy breathing.

Avoid consumption of alcohol, anti-depressant drugs, tobacco and smoking

Avoid smoking or consuming alcohol, tobacco and anti-depressant medications such as sleeping pills, tranquilizers. Consumption of these substances can lead to respiratory problems during sleeping, worsening your condition.

Avoid sleeping in day time

It is best for you that you completely avoid sleeping in day time. If you feel sleepy, indulge yourself in some light activity of your interest.

Sleep in upright position

Lay your back against the wall and try to sleep in that position. Another option is of keeping your head on a higher level from the level of your body. Do not flatten your head. Your head will feel lighter if you will place a pillow or two under your head to keep it elevated.