How to Handle Altitude sickness while climbing in Nepal

How to Handle Altitude sickness while climbing in Nepal

Monday, January 2, 2023

Trekking across the enormous Himalayan peaks of Nepal is one of the safest, healthiest, and most rewarding ways to spend two or three weeks of your life. Even though trekking is generally safe and healthful, there are still some concerns about your health that you should be aware of. Altitude sickness is the biggest health concern for trekkers, therefore it’s crucial that you understand how to identify and treat it while trekking in Nepal. Therefore, here in this article, we will discuss How to Handle High Altitude sickness while climbing in Nepal or altitude sickness while trekking in Nepal.

Avoid High Altitudes
Avoid High Altitudes

Annually, a lot of visitors come to Mount Everest Climbing which is the highest mountain in the world. But, first one has to travel to Everest Base Camp. After one visit to Everest Base Camp, one can visit Kala Pather which is a very famous place. Similarly, during the Everest Base Camp Trek, one can get beautiful views of the surrounding. Likewise, the Everest Base camp trek is a wonderful journey that one will remember for the rest of their life when one visit Nepal.

The what, how and why of altitude-related ailments are in this article, along with prevention strategies. We also take a more comprehensive look at additional health issues that a trekker in Nepal can experience.

What Is Altitude Sickness And How Does It Happen?

Acute Mountain Sickness, also known as AMS or altitude sickness, is by far the biggest danger to anyone trekking in Nepal on the higher (above about 3000m+) routes. This potentially lethal illness is brought on by the body’s reaction to both low oxygen levels and lower atmospheric pressure.

Nearly everyone who hikes above 3000 meters will experience relatively minor symptoms, such as light headaches, dizziness, and trouble sleeping. Lethargy, nausea, shortness of breath, and appetite loss are some more indications of altitude sickness. Another symptom is trouble sleeping, however many people experience this even when they don’t experience any of the other symptoms.

Mild altitude sickness typically subsides quickly and is mainly your body’s attempt to adjust to the lower oxygen levels at altitude. If you experience these minor symptoms, rest, drink plenty of water, or make some ginger tea, and they should go away rather fast.  Doing Proper Preparation can help you avoid altitude sickness.

Moderate to severe altitude sickness is likely to be striking if symptoms worsen or continue, especially if a severe headache and vomiting begin. This is far more dangerous, thus the best course of action is to quickly descend to a lower elevation, even if it’s the middle of the night. Not only climbing in Nepal can cause altitude sickness while trekking in Nepal can cause altitude sickness.

For the symptoms to start improving, you often don’t need to drop very far (only a few hundred meters of height decrease should be helpful). For assistance in quickly carrying the sufferer down the mountain, you might need to employ a porter. Ignoring AMS can soon result in serious issues, even death.

What Happens

The lungs fill with fluid when someone has an extremely bad case of altitude sickness. High altitude pulmonary edema, or HAPE, is what this is (or HACE(High-altitude cerebral edema) if it affects the brain rather than the lungs). Even while the person is resting, they experience symptoms including dyspnea, coughing, excruciating headaches, poor coordination, illogical conduct, and extreme vomiting. 

The heel of the front foot should be placed against the toe of the back foot while the person walks in a straight line if you feel they are experiencing very acute altitude sickness. The individual has HACE(High-altitude cerebral edema) if they can’t walk straight or trip over themselves and fall. Also, make sure you don’t overlook symptoms of altitude sickness.

General Terms of Altitude Sickness
General Terms of Altitude Sickness

A person is getting HAPE if they become breathless while sitting still (give it ten minutes if you’ve just been going uphill). The next step is the same in both situations. Get off the mountain as swiftly and immediately as you can. The sick person will most certainly go unconscious during the next few hours.

The onset of AMS is random and unpredictable. We chatted with a Sherpa who has successfully ascended Everest several times, but who once experienced severe AMS at merely 3500 meters. Additionally, it doesn’t always affect the weak or elderly first. Young people may actually have it easier than older folks, according to some studies.

How to avoid Altitude Sickness in Nepal

If you rise too quickly and at a high altitude, you could get altitude sickness. When climbing steep mountains, the golden guideline is to go SLOWLY and never go up quickly or too far. The majority of specialists below 3000m concur that you shouldn’t climb more than 300–500m in a day. For every 1000 meters of height increase, you should also allow one day for acclimatization (a rest day doesn’t necessarily mean taking a nap). This is how you can handle altitude sickness while climbing

On these days, it’s prudent to trek up to a higher elevation before returning down to bed. The vast majority of treks in Nepal are planned so that you don’t ascend too quickly, but there are one or two exceptions where daily height gain is higher than advised (the routes to the Gosainkund Lakes in the Langtang region and the Makalu Base Camp trek are both notorious problem areas for high altitude sickness).

High Altitude Cerebral edema
High Altitude Cerebral edema

Don’t overlook the symptoms of altitude sickness if you experience them when trekking in Nepal. In order to avoid slowing down the group as a whole when hiking in a group. There can be a propensity to try to disguise your symptoms and press on. You might lose your life if you do (and the gang will move more slowly as a result!). Inform your hiking companions that you’re feeling sick right away. Also, altitude sickness while trekking in Nepal is also a probability.

Although many trekkers in Nepal are concerned about altitude sickness, By adhering to the straightforward guidelines mentioned above, you will significantly lower the likelihood of issues. So, one should not avoid symptoms of altitude sickness

Some other problems while Climbing in Nepal

Although Nepalese walkers fear altitude sickness the most, there are a few additional health problems that could be dangerous.


While not as often as you might anticipate on a hike in Nepal. Hypothermia is undoubtedly a problem for those who are ill-prepared and improperly attired. The indications and symptoms are quite similar to those of AMS, with slurred speech, lack of focus, and weariness being the main ones. Get the victim into a warm location, and provide them with hot beverages and food. And if necessary, utilize your own body heat to keep them warm. With Proper Preparation, one can avoid altitude sickness while climbing in Nepal

Heat stroke

Both sunstroke and heat stroke are frequent. To the dismay of many prospective hikers, they are really more frequent than hypothermia. This is particularly true when traversing the hotter, lower valleys and hills while walking throughout the day in direct sunlight. When this happens, make an effort to rest in the shade, drink plenty of water (at least 3 liters per day is ideal), eat something salty, and always wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

Cause of Altitude sickness
Cause of Altitude sickness


Blisters are an issue you can do without on a Nepalese trip, even though they aren’t life-threatening. A bad case of blisters can effectively end your trek or possibly prevent you from going at all. Blisters are typically brought on by improperly broken-in or ill-fitting footwear that is worn while hiking mountain terrain. 

Always purchase the highest-quality boots you can afford from a store that specializes in hiking. And always break them in before traveling to Nepal by walking nearby. By doing this, the material becomes more pliable and is better able to conform to your feet. From trekking stores in Pokhara or Kathmandu, some people hire boots.

We urge you to avoid doing this. The boots will almost certainly not fit properly, and unusual lumps and bumps inside them will cause blisters. So, prepare yourself for How to Handle Altitude Sickness while Climbing.

Blisters can be averted with the use of special trekking socks. It’s also a good idea to have Second Skin, a kind of plaster that you can use to cover any sensitive spots on your foot. Blisters from forming are prevented by the substance, which finally seems to blend in with your skin.

Anti-Altitude Sickness Medication

Some visitors to Nepal bring the drug Diamox (acetazolamide) with them. If you are only going to be at altitude for a day or two and don’t have enough time to properly acclimate. This can be used to prevent and treat altitude sickness.  Similarly, this is how you can handle altitude sickness while climbing.

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness(High altitude cerebral edema)
Symptoms of Altitude Sickness(High altitude cerebral edema)

However, we do not advise using drugs as a substitute for ascending slowly and carefully when trekking in general in Nepal. Such drugs can give you a false sense of security, which, if you use them for an extended period of time, can cause major difficulties. So, one should not avoid symptoms of altitude sickness or altogether avoid altitude sickness.


Getting solid travel health insurance coverage before leaving your home country is probably the most crucial health precaution. You can take it when trekking in Nepal. Before purchasing any policy, thoroughly read the fine print. 

Numerous insurance policies including those from well-known “adventure” travel insurance companies do not cover walking over 2500–3500 meters, rendering them ineffective for many climbs in Nepal. Additionally, it’s crucial to confirm if helicopter evacuation from the highlands is in your coverage or not.

Finally, make sure that Nepal is genuinely covered by whatever coverage you might buy. Sadly, an increasing number of international travel insurance firms are simply refusing to insure anyone traveling to Nepal for any purpose due to the huge number of insurance fraud cases and overall corruption within the Nepalese trekking and medical industries. So, hopefully, this article provides you with information on How to Handle Altitude Sickness while Climbing. Also, make sure you have insurance while trekking as well because there is always a possibility of Altitude Sickness while trekking as well


If you want to know anything regarding the trip or any other issue, please feel free to ask us