"Altitude sickness prevention" Top 5 Page for this destination Peru Warnings Or Dangers Tip by melosh

Peru Warnings and Dangers: 149 reviews and 96 photos

Prevention begins with a graded (slow) ascent, drinking lots of liquids but not alcohol, avoiding over-exertion, eating easily digested carbohydrate meals and getting adequate rest. People often also advise taking over the counter medications to prevent mild symptoms, but there is no evidence that these drugs help prevent altitude sickness. Because I am a physician, I checked out the ingredients of the altitude lozanges claimed to prevent the sickness in Peru. They had aspirin, an aspirin conjugate and caffeine. Not exactly placebo as they could help with some symptoms, but it is doubtful that they would prevent a true (or serious) case of altitude sickness.
Another precaution I have read is to ascend to a certain altitude and then descend a ways for a place to spend the night. The idea of arriving in Cuzco, visiting awhile and then going to the Sacred Valley for your first night fits this advice.

Diamox is a diuretic that has been used both in prevention and treatment of altitude sickness. (Remember the most important treatment is the return to conditions of lower altitude.) Although Diamox has been proven to help as a preventative, it is not without risks of its own. The low risk of getting serious altitude sickness on a trip to Machu Pichu and the dangers of Diamox mean that you should consult with your doctors before using this medication.
Personally because I thought I had experienced some mild altitude sickness symptoms on trips into Mexico City (it could have been the smog)I took Diamox. I had no problems in Peru with the medication or the altitude. Of course, this does not prove anything. It is difficult to predict who might have trouble. The one case I saw was of a 14 year old Peruvian girl on a bus to Colca Canyon who got ill at 4000 meters. She was back to normal at 3500 meters. Good luck.

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  • Updated Feb 29, 2008
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