How do you prevent altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro


How do you prevent altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro

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  1. There are a number of practical steps that you can take to minimise the chances of having to abondon your climb of Kilimanjaro due to the effects of altitude sickness:

    • Acclimatize prior to the climb. Easier said than done if you live at sea level but if you are able to spend time at high altitude prior to the actual Kilimanjaro climb then this is the very best way to avoid altitude sickness. Climbing Mount Meru prior to Kilimanjaro is also an excellent option.
    • Start the climb in the best possible health and with an excellent level of physical fitness. If you are fatigued, unwell or stressed you are more likely to suffer from altitude sickness.
    • Take it easy on the trail and in camp. You will get sick of your guides telling you to Pole, Pole, but they are right! If you overdo it by pushing too hard you are likely to pay for it later.
    • Drink plenty of fluids. Getting up in the middle of the cold night may be an unpleasant thought but altitude dehydrates you and the better you hydrate the quicker your body is able to acclimatise. (You should also avoid all alcohol)
    • Eat well. Even though you may not feel like it you should eat as much as you possibly can at every meal. This will give you plenty of energy and help you to feel great. I find it also helps me to keep warm and sleep well at night.
    • Sleep well.  Sleeping well in a tent is an acquired skill. Spend a few nights out in your tent and sleeping bag prior to your climb so that you have your routine nailed and are used to sleeping in a sleeping bag on a hard surface.
    • Relax. Relax and think positive. Although not pleasant the vast majority of people suffer only mild altitude sickness (which is like a hangover). Don’t think that every headache is cerebral oedema and every cough pulmonary oedema as this is unlikely. By relaxing and enjoying the climb you are far more likely to have a trouble free experience.
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