Altitude Sickness

Want to travel the world but worried about altitude sickness? At My Pharmacy, we offer effective altitude sickness tablets like Acetazolamide. An altitude sickness prescription can help alleviate symptoms such as nausea and dizziness.

Complete the consultation below for your altitude sickness medication prescription. Our qualified pharmacist will ensure the prescription is suitable for you.

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    • About Altitude Sickness

      Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), occurs when individuals ascend to high altitudes too quickly without proper acclimatisation. It typically affects people at elevations above 2,500 metres (8,200 feet), where the air contains less oxygen. This can cause a range of symptoms due to the body’s difficulty in adjusting to the lower oxygen levels. Medications like acetazolamide are commonly prescribed to prevent and treat altitude sickness. It’s advisable to buy altitude sickness medication before travelling to high-altitude destinations to ensure you are prepared.

    • Symptoms

      Symptoms can range from mild to severe and usually manifest within 6 to 24 hours of reaching higher altitudes. Here are the common symptoms:

      ● Headache: Often throbbing and worsens at night and when waking up.
      ● Loss of Appetite: Reduced desire to eat.
      ● Nausea and Vomiting: Feeling sick to the stomach, which may lead to vomiting.
      ● Fatigue and Weakness: Feeling extremely tired and lethargic.
      ● Dizziness: Light-headedness or a spinning sensation.
      ● Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty sleeping or waking up frequently during the night.
      ● Shortness of Breath: Especially at rest, indicating severe altitude sickness.
      ● Confusion and Ataxia: Difficulty walking straight and mental disorientation, which can indicate severe conditions like high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE).
      ● Cough and Chest Tightness: Coughing up frothy or bloody sputum, associated with high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).
      ● Cyanosis: Blue or grey coloration of the lips, nails, or skin due to lack of oxygen.

      These symptoms can vary in intensity and may escalate if not addressed promptly. Severe symptoms such as confusion, ataxia, and cyanosis require immediate descent to a lower altitude and medical attention.

    • Diagnosis of Altitude Sickness

      Altitude sickness can be diagnosed through clinical evaluation and specific diagnostic tests when available. Here’s how altitude sickness is typically diagnosed:

      Clinical Evaluation
      ● Symptom Recognition: Diagnosis often starts with recognizing symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue at high altitudes. It is crucial to differentiate these from other conditions like dehydration or the flu.
      ● Patient History: A healthcare provider will review the patient’s recent travel history to high-altitude areas and assess symptom onset and severity.

      Diagnostic Tests

      ● Lake Louise AMS Score: This is a commonly used questionnaire that helps quantify the severity of AMS based on symptoms and their impact on daily activities.
      ● Electrocardiogram (EKG): This test helps rule out heart-related conditions that might mimic AMS symptoms, such as a heart attack.
      ● X-rays: Used to detect fluid in the lungs, indicating high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).
      ● Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI can reveal brain swelling associated with high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE), a severe form of altitude sickness.
      ● Arterial Blood Gas Analysis: Measures oxygen levels in the blood, which can help diagnose severe forms of altitude sickness affecting breathing and oxygenation.

      Field Diagnosis

      In remote or field settings where advanced medical equipment is unavailable, the diagnosis relies heavily on symptom recognition and immediate response strategies. Symptoms like severe headache, confusion, ataxia (difficulty walking straight), and shortness of breath warrant urgent descent and medical intervention.

    • Treatments

      Acetazolamide is one of the most effective medications for preventing and treating altitude sickness. It works by accelerating the acclimatisation process, allowing the body to adjust more quickly to lower oxygen levels. Here’s how it helps:

      Mechanism of Action: Acetazolamide increases breathing rate by causing mild metabolic acidosis, which prompts the body to breathe faster. This process helps improve oxygenation and reduces the severity of symptoms associated with altitude sickness.

      Dosage and Administration: For treatment, a typical dose is 125 mg to 250 mg taken twice daily, starting one to two days before ascent and continuing for at least two days after reaching the target altitude.

      Effectiveness: Studies have shown that acetazolamide significantly reduces the incidence and severity of AMS by improving acclimatisation and decreasing the likelihood of developing severe symptoms such as high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high-altitude cerebral edema.

      At My Pharmacy, we offer Acetazolamide 250mg (28 Tablets), a highly effective solution for preventing and managing altitude sickness. Key benefits of our product include:

      • Effective Prevention/Treatment: Helps prevent and reduce symptoms of altitude sickness, ensuring a safer and more comfortable ascent.
      • Active Ingredient: Contains Acetazolamide, a well-established medication for altitude sickness.

      Practical Advice for Travelers

      Before embarking on high-altitude travel, consult your healthcare provider to discuss the use of acetazolamide and obtain a prescription tailored to your specific needs. This proactive approach can significantly enhance your safety and comfort during high-altitude adventures.

    • Prevention Strategies

      Besides avoiding high altitudes, there are several effective steps you can take to prevent altitude sickness:

      ● Gradual Ascent: Ascend Slowly: Avoid rapid ascents. Gradually increase your altitude to allow your body to acclimatise. It’s recommended to ascend no more than 300-500 metres per day once above 3,000 metres (REI) (
      ● Rest Days: Incorporate rest days at intermediate altitudes to give your body time to adjust. For every 1,000 metres gained, spend an extra night at the same altitude.
      ● Hydration and Diet: Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. High-altitude environments are often dry, which can lead to dehydration and exacerbate symptoms.
      ● Eat Carbohydrates: High-carbohydrate diets can help reduce symptoms of altitude sickness because carbs require less oxygen for metabolism compared to fats.
      ● Medication: Preventive Medication: Consult your healthcare provider about taking acetazolamide (Diamox) or other medications as a preventive measure. Acetazolamide helps speed up acclimatisation and reduce symptoms.
      ● Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives: Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: These can exacerbate dehydration and interfere with sleep. It’s best to avoid them before and during your ascent.
      ● Skip Sleeping Pills: Sedatives can depress breathing, which is already compromised at high altitudes. Avoid using them while acclimatising .
      ● Monitor Symptoms and Act Quickly: Recognize Symptoms Early: Be aware of the early signs of altitude sickness, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. If symptoms develop, stop ascending and allow time for acclimatisation.
      ● Physical Preparation: Pre-trip Training: Spend time training in a hypoxic environment if possible. Intermittent hypoxic exposure can help your body adapt to lower oxygen levels before you start your ascent.

      Implementing these strategies can significantly reduce the risk of altitude sickness and enhance your experience at high altitudes.