Altitude Sickness Pills
I'm 100% positive that it helped me get up that damn mountain, as far as altitude sickness goes. I'm very prone to altitude sickness (usually around 8000-10000 ft, I get it bad for about a solid week). I wouldn't have made it up past camp 1 if it hadn't been for the drugs.
Care to share any more experiences? Anybody else? Thanksquote:I'm very prone to altitude sickness
But, in addition, the big issue I have with diamox is that the side affects are similar to AMS. I adjust how hard I push it, how high I climb, and how low I sleep based on how significant my sensations of AMS are. If I get AMS type symptoms from Diamox I may be hanging out at lower altitudes when I don't need to be which at the end of the day will just reduce how fast I acclimate.
But, all that said, there is no doubt that Diamox will quicken the pace of acclimization especially when you are sleeping. The question is whether that gives you better odds than not taking it and listening to your body and adjusting accordingly. Now, if you are on a guided trek in Nepal and each day is planned out and you have no choice at which altitude you are going to be at day to day, I could see where diamox could come in handy.
If you go into high altitudes, bring diamox (or the likes), but don't take it as a prophylax. You're lying to your body.
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btw.. it might be handy to cut the diamox pills in half before youre up on the mountain. sometimes, people just want to take a little dose to help for a little bit, or increase a dose by 50% (like how i did for teh summit attempt).. cutting it at home and having it ready to go later on makes things a little easier (and when you're cold and out of breath at 15000ft, it makes it a LOT easier).
One note is that you're not supposed to take Diamox if you're exposed to strong sunlight. I don't know why, but I ended up going off the Diamox & taking something the local pharmacy recommended when I was in Bolivia, because I was inundated with sunlight at the Salar de Uyuni & Copacabana. So I don't know if you're going to be in strong sun, but if you are maybe find a different medication.
quote:well one of my concerns when i was thinking about taking diamox was one shared by many, that it shrouds the real symptoms of AMS.
I just want to clarify something Xoom has said here based on my understanding of Diamox. There has been concerns that you could actually have AMS but not know it while taking Diamox. Like Xoom mentioned this isn't true. If you are having trouble with altitude you will feel it whether you are taking Diamox or not.
What is true, however, is that if you are taking Diamox the side affects of the drug can make can make you think you are suffering from AMS when you might actually not be.
i have genetics of sea level people, and i spent most of my life at 50 feet in elevation or below. the first time i went up to altitude was driving up to colorado -- started to feel woozy and ill nearing colorado springs (6035 ft), kept on driving, entered denver (5280 ft), still felt ill. (back then, i had not even heard of altitude sickness). ended up driving thru vail pass (10,600 ft), and spending the night in frisco (9,000 ft). when we finally checked into a motel in frisco, i puked my brains out badly. had no idea what was wrong with me (thought it was car sickness as we'd driven from amarillo, tx).
on that trip, i did some hiking in vail (8000-10000ish ft), and had to sit on every rock i found, which was every few feet. just thought i was extremely out of shape. i felt pretty crappy for a few days in vail, then we headed off to lower lands where i started to feel better.
years after the fact, when i was researching a trip to south america..is when i learned about altitude sickness, and that's what i had in colorado.
i flew into quito (9,300 ft) from austin (i'm now living at about 800 ft in elevation) a few years ago. i brought diamox (low dosage - 125 mg pills) with me, just in case. i was a little leary about taking it. plus, i still didn't fully understand altitude sickness...so i didn't take the pills. needless to say, i felt like complete shit for 6 full days (severe headaches, lethargy, lack of appetite). I did something stupid and went on a pretty tough hike for me at the time -- 6 hours ranging anywhere from about 8,000ish to 12,500 ft. It got the point where every step i took, it felt like my brain was shaking violently in my head. part of me would have rather died than hiked back to town (much of the hike by myself in the remote andes). when i finally got back to the lodge, i sat down for a long time, then had to run to the bathroom to puke my brains out...mostly water. it was pretty painful. but damn, now i know how it feels like and how my body reacts in altitude!
after the 6 days of pure hell, i was finally adjusted to the elevation, and was fine going up to 16,000 ft eventually on the trip.
i brought the diamox to kili, and i was planning on not taking it, but ended up giving in. i think if i had not taken it, i wouldn't have made it after the first day due to altitude sickness.
we were exposed to strong sunlight on kili (and the fact that i was on doxycylcen as well...), so i just used lots of high spf sunscreen.
another note...i was on diamox, and still got altitude sickness the 3rd night on the mountain (we went up to 14,700, i think). i puked my brains out, it was like hell on earth, and didn't think that i'd be able to push on. slept for the night, and felt okay in the morning.
it really comes down to a personal choice of taking it or not. i'd *rather* not take it. but after shelling out a lot of money for the trip..i said..hell, screw it...i want to make it up that damn mountain... but honestly, i'd much prefer to acclimatize without the meds.
In all honesty, I really don't think I needed it at all, and stopped after a couple days, and never had any problems when I went higher. I was also chewing coca, though. But, as altitude sickness is a apparently more of a genetic thing, it's your call.
Yes, I took a couple of Diamox when I went to Kilimanjaro a couple of years back (see my trip report http://gardkarlsen.com/kilimanjaro_index.htm) . If you plan to take them test them out in advance. In my case I had to go to the bathroom all the time...and it also influenced my taste buds :-)
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