Machu Picchu, the renowned citadel of Incas is on every traveller’s bucket list. It sits at 2,430 meters above sea level. (8,000 feet). The former capital of Incas, Cusco serves as the gateway to this marvel.
As you arrive from Lima to Cusco, you may feel your heart beating faster, bit dizzy and find it difficult to breathe. These are the symptoms of treating altitude sickness in Peru. Symptoms of Altitude Sickness often starts in 24 hours from the time you arrive in Cusco.
Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is an adverse effect on person’s health due to travelling on high elevation places. It occurs when the body does not get the amount of oxygen it needs. This is because the air at high altitudes is much thinner. As a result, the body has to work harder to get enough oxygen to support itself.
Altitude Sickness is usually a result of rapid exposure to highly elevated places with above 2,400 metres (7,874 ft). It may include headaches, dizziness, nausea, increased heart rate and shortness of breath. Symptoms may also indicate life-threatening sickness that affects the brain and the lungs so prevention is a must.
Here are some simple tips to prevent Altitude Sickness especially when going to Machu Picchu, Peru. We recommend to consider them before travelling to Cusco.
If you have heart problems or any serious sickness, we recommend you to consult your doctor before you plan your trip to Machu Picchu. You may also ask for prescription of Diamox, a pill that prevents 75% of AMS before it happens.
Before visiting Machu Picchu, we highly recommend you to spend at-least 3 days in Cusco. This will allow your body to acclimatise. Spending some extra time resting is always recommended before progressing to a higher altitude.
Avoid intaking plenty of food at one. At high altitudes, the digestion is quite slow. Eat lightly and consume meals those are rich in carbohydrates. This would help you to quickly get accustomed to the altitude. Also, avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol increases the possibility of altitude sickness. Besides, altitude makes one drink between 1.5 to 3 times as potent.
Drink lots of water. A bottle of water is always a must. AMS causes dehydration so water intake is very essential. If you have strong symptoms, it is also recommended to carry canned oxygen shots to help elevate your oxygen levels.
Drinking coca tea or chewing coca leaves can act as stimulant that prevent altitude sickness. Coca gums and candies may also a great help while trekking on the mountain.
It doesn’t matter how fit or young you are because scientifically being physically fit does not guarantee the decreased risk of Altitude Sickness, hence, it is always better to be prepared to avoid any complications on your journey to the marvellous Machu Picchu.