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Lose fear of altitude sickness

When traveling to places like the city of Cusco that is at altitudes above 2,400 meters above sea level, the human body usually experiences various symptoms due to low atmospheric pressure. These discomforts are known as altitude sickness or soroche, depending on the country you are visiting.
You will not want your travel experience to Cusco and Machu Picchu to be ruined by the inconveniences of altitude sickness and that is why we have prepared this article with the most relevant information for you.

Hoja de Coca - Mal de Altura

1. What is altitude sickness?

The altitude sickness is characterized by the lack of oxygen in the blood and organs of the human body, such as the brain, which results in various discomforts to the traveler.
As we have already mentioned, from 2,400 meters above sea level the atmospheric pressure decreases, because at higher altitude, lower pressure and at lower altitude higher pressure.
For example if we make the comparison between the oxygen present in the air at the level of With the oxygen present in the air at more than 6,000 meters above sea level, we can see that it contains almost 50% less oxygen.

2. Who suffers altitude sickness?

The people most likely to suffer from symptoms of altitude sickness are those who live at sea level and who are not accustomed to the low oxygen at high altitudes; However, this is not a rule because altitude sickness can affect each person very differently, regardless of their age and origin.
According to general knowledge, fitness is NOT a factor in determining whether person will suffer from altitude sickness or not, that is, this condition can be suffered by both young people who generally have a better physical condition and older people who have a more fragile health.

3. What are the symptoms of altitude sickness?

Among the most common symptoms of altitude sickness also known as Soroche are the following:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling of losing consciousness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness, weakness, irritability
  • Sleep disorders
  • Elevation of heart rate

Travelers may experience one or more of these symptoms, as we have already mentioned, they affect each person very differently.
These symptoms usually occur after 6 to 10 hours of having reached more than 2,400 m.a.s.l and usually disappear after three to four days.

4. How can I avoid altitude sickness?

One of the most effective methods to prevent altitude sickness is to gradually ascend from the coast to the mountains, giving the body time to adapt to the lowest atmospheric pressure. It is recommended not to ascend more than 500 meters per day. Professional climbers know this and ascend gradually, taking a few days off between sections.
However, most people who visit Cusco and Machu Picchu arrive by flight from the coast, not having time to acclimatize or adapt. In these circumstances the following is recommended:

  • Take it easy.- This is one of the most important recommendations for dealing with the high sea, the pace of activities must be lowered, avoid stairs at all times, also avoid running or perform some physical activity that demands an effort and breathe deeply.
  • Stay hydrated.- Another characteristic of the Peruvian mountain range is the lack of humidity in the environment, for this reason it is important to stay hydrated and drink two to three liters of water per day.
  • The coca leaf in addition to containing the cocaine alkaloid, for which it has earned a bad reputation, also contains another 15 alkaloids that fulfill various functions in the human body: they regulate sleep, they regulate the secretion of certain substances and in general they help the body to stabilize. For this reason it is a very good idea to drink plenty of coca tea to combat altitude sickness.
  • There are also pills against altitude sickness, called Sorojchi Pills, which are sold without a prescription at any pharmacy in Cusco.
  • Avoid alcohol.- It is commonly said that alcohol worsens the symptoms of soroche for this reason it is recommended to avoid its consumption, at least during the first days of the trip.
Coca leaf - Altitude sickness Hidrate - Altitude sickness

5. Is altitude sickness dangerous?

In general, altitude sickness does not go from being an occasional discomfort that disappears as the days go by and the body gets used to it, however it is important to know the classifications of altitude sickness.
There are three classifications or variations of altitude sickness:

  • Acute mountain sickness.- The typical symptoms of altitude sickness are suffered and can rarely be fatal.
  • Cerebral edema of heights.- This type of disorder is rare but can be fatal. The symptoms are among others: headache, confusion, unstable gait; These symptoms should be detected in a timely manner to prevent future damage.
  • Pulmonary edema of the heights.- This disorder is the one that has caused the highest number of deaths due to height. Its symptoms include: dry cough and choking, difficulty breathing while resting, bluish discoloration of the lips and nails. Symptoms must be detected in time to provide the appropriate treatment.

6. What names do you know about altitude sickness?

According to the country you are visiting, altitude sickness has different names:

  • Peru.- Altitud sickness, soroche.
  • Bolivia.- Altitud sickness, apunamiento, puna
  • Argentina.- Mal de paramo, soroche.
  • Colombia.- Babiao, apunamiento.

Always remember that you can count on the support of our team of professionals from miticketmachupicchu.com, who will gladly help and assist you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding altitude sickness, the Machu Picchu tour or any general consultation. contact us at ventas@miticketmachupicchu.com


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