"Diamox for Altitude Sickness Prevention" Top 5 Page for this destination South America Favorite Tip by jumpingnorman

South America Favorites: 81 reviews and 78 photos

Favorite thing: As to your question about preventing Altitude Sickness during rapid ascent:
Yes, hydration is essential -- and "take it easy" before you go around exploring Cusco by taking a short nap at your hotel.
The prophylactic dose for Diamox is 250mg every 8 to 12 hours before and during rapid ascent to altitude and its use has been reported to result in fewer and/or less severe symptoms (such as headache, nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, drowsiness, and fatigue) of acute mountain sickness (AMS). I took my Diamox about a day before I arrived in Lima.
Note that Diamox is also a diuretic and so you really have to drink fluids to maintain the water in your system, and coca tea has also been advised which is also happens to be a diuretic. I also took the coca tea once I arrived in the hotel...so LOTS OF WATER needed. Diuresis also causes loss of potassium, so if you have a history of low potassium to begin with, be wary.

If you have problems with your kidneys (or if your potassium is on the low), you might have to think again about using diamox. It is also contraindicated in patients with cirrhosis because of the risk of development of hepatic encephalopathy (special note to alcoholics). High-dose aspirin and Diamox don't mix well as this combination can cause grave consquences.

Further, try to avoid alcohol around the time of your arrival as this may increase your risk of altitude sickness. However, if you are an alcoholic (I don't think you are though), think again because you might develop delirium tremens from alcohol withdrawal.

Also don't forget to bring antibiotics for treatment of severe diarrhea (Ciprofloxacin offers good coverage, unless you are allergic to this class of medicine).

Have fun in Lima! And glad to know you're taking health precautions before leaving.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Oct 12, 2008
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