Advice about altitude sickness please

A few years ago while hiking at high altitude I began feeling sick and light headed. We quickly headed back down to a lower altitude, and within a few days I felt better. I’d never experienced that before, even when hiking up high. Maybe it’s a product of my accumulated years…? :rofl:

What are the best ways to avoid altitude sickness, or to get over it once it strikes?

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You need to acclimatize slowly, similar to Mt. Everest climbers who stay at base camp, climb up, stay at base camp, climb up again, stay at a higher camp for some time etc. My experience is a bit limited, though, I have done the Inca trail and hiked up to ca. 5000 m maybe 3 times. We were given Coca tea by our guides during the Inca trail and I think it helps against altitude sickness. It’s certainly an individual thing, I never felt altitude sickness but I have the feeling that I was a bit more tired than usual (and at 5000 m I felt my heart beating more quickly).

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Acclimatization which you can begin prior to departure by 1, training in high-altitude breathing, 2, taking high-latitude pills, and 3. (if available) chewing coca leaves or drinking coca tea

Many airports in high-latitude countries are equipped with all necessities to accommodate suffering travelers. If you don´t feel well upon your arrival seek help right away.

After arrival: ideally do nothing for the first 3 days. Take it very easy, drink gallons of water, eat chocolate and carbs and (if available) take coca leaves or drink coca tea. Many hotels offer coca tea. If you’re house/pet sitting in Ecuador you need to go to the local market for the tea. Selected coffee shops also may serve it. Buy Glaucomed Acetazolamida for altitude sickness, take one in the morning and one in the evening

Generally, 3 days of acclimatization is sufficient. (However, I became sick on day no 4. Football teams arriving in Ecuador must acclimatize for 2 weeks.)

Note, altitude sickness can be life-threatening, Should you get sick you must descend immediately. There is no other cure.


Quito is 9200 feet above sea level. The first couple of days were a challenge. I was slow, feeling dizzy and my ears wouldn’t pop. I even found doing easy mathematical calculations was hard.
I rested a lot and sucked hard boiled sweets. The locals told us cocoa tea was the answer.
We went south for a week and were over 10000 feet at some points which was far too high for my body. I was actually feeling sick on some of the mountain passes. I don’t think I’ll ever climb Everest!
Rest and taking things slowly seems to be the answer. Eat and drink small amounts often and don’t worry if you brain gets fuzzy - just don’t make important decisions until your back at sea level.

Also don’t forget to drink lots of fluids. We live in Colorado and even for us when we go stay someplace high in the mountains, we feel the effects. If you can occasionally head lower for a while it helps, but rest and lots of fluids is what helps me.

“Coca tea has been shown to help alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness.
The main ingredient of coca leaf is cocaine. The leaves are not addictive. You can drink up to 4 cups of coca leaf tea a day without any problem. Most hotels in Cusco provide tea free of charge to help you acclimatize.”

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Yes, and do consider that you won’t be as hungry as normal. Ex and I bought way too much food in Breckenridge before realizing that food would not be appealing for a while.