Traveling to Machu Picchu in Peru, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, or perhaps to Nepal? If so, take into account the altitude of the regions. For example, Cuzco has an altitude of 11,151 ft, which is more than twice as high as Denver, Colorado.
Being this high can give a traveler Altitude Sickness, even in an otherwise healthy individual. And Altitude Sickness is serious.
When you first arrive in any high altitude area around the world, take it easy to start. From personal experience, I know that at altitude climbing even one flight of stairs can be a challenge in the first few days. Give your body time to adjust before doing anything strenuous.
Also monitor how you feel and pay attention to changes in your body. Feeling winded after walking up hill is one thing, but if you get nauseous, headaches, or dizziness it may be time to seek medical help.
When on the road, it’s hard to know what to do when there is a medical issue. To the rescue is a website called WebMD. They provide tons of information on all sorts of medical conditions, including altitude sickness. I have found WebMD super useful when traveling, as a starting point for research. But remember, nothing replaces seeing an actual doctor.
If you need medical care when traveling, get it. If an emergency call an ambulance (note that emergency numbers vary around the world, learning what it is before you arrive at a destination is a great idea.) Several times in my travels, I have needed more than online information. At those times, I asked my hotel or hostel staff to recommend where to go. I have had amazing care in clinics and hospitals in Australia, Scotland, Thailand, and Argentina.
If going to a hospital overseas sounds scary because of the cost. Remember to travel with insurance. Before you go, check to see if your current medical provider covers you abroad. If they do great. Be sure to know if you have to do anything special to get reimbursement (e.g. notify them before treatment.)
If your current insurance does not cover you, than consider travel insurance. It may not be as expensive as you think. I have found reasonably priced plans through Squaremouth. To get a quote click here: https://www.squaremouth.com/21890.
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Original article published by Daniel Bare, July 28, 2015. Updated by Shyla Esko Bare, January 14, 2020. ©WildSpiritTravelTravel smart when traveling at altitude. #travelsmart #traveltip Click To Tweet