Many travellers experience anxiety over altitude sickness especially as their Tibet tour draw near. Tibet does poses certain risks because the high plateau altitude, but there is no need to be over-worried. Very few travellers are adversely affected by the altitude for long but of course a little precaution goes a long way. Tibet Ctrip Travel Service-TCTS here provides you some precautions before your Tibet tour which comes from our first-hand experience.
Tibet is the highest region on earth, with an average altitude exceeding 4,500 meters. Lhasa is at a relatively lower altitude of 3,500 meters. Travellers may experience different levels of headache, dizziness and fatigue, which are common effects of the change in altitude. Generally, these symptoms will not prevent travellers from participating in normal activities, however taking a few precautions can go a long way. Altitude sickness can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, physical fitness or previous experience with altitude. Physically fit people are more likely to exert themselves, though, leading to increased chances of altitude sickness.
Before You Go
Consult your doctor about the prescription acetazolamide, for example, Diamox, the drug of choice for preventing altitude sickness. It works, in part, by making the blood more acidic, which increases ventilation and therefore improves oxygen saturation in the blood. Usually for this kind of medicine to work during your Tibet tour, you need to start to take the pills a few days prior your entry of Tibet.
After Arrival in Tibet
Symptoms of altitude sickness usually kick in between 6-24 hours after your arrival in Tibet. Symptoms are similar to those of a bad hangover, including headache, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, etc. The symptoms are usually worse at night.
▶ Drink plenty of water; replenishing fluids helps to stabilize your body! This is a must. The thin mountain air is very dry comparing to lower places, and one loses water vapor when exhaling. Keeping water consumption as high as possible is the best way to reduce the effects of altitude.
▶ Avoid alcohol and smoking! For the first few days in Tibet, it is a good idea to minimize smoking and drinking. Alcohol goes hand in hand with dehydration and slows down respiration during sleep. Smoking inhibits the body from absorbing much needed oxygen. It’s best to keep these to minimum while acclimatizing.
▶ Take it easy and do not over exert yourself for the first 24 hours! Except pick-up from Lhasa Airport or train station, usually your first day of arrival in Tibet has no sightseeing planned. We suggest you not to overexert yourself for the day but to rest and relax. It will pay off once your Tibet tour gets under way.
▶ Eat a light but high calorie diet
▶ There is bottled-oxygen for sell in Tibet. Use it only when you feel it’s absolutely have to.
Tibet’s high altitude environment certainly is not something to be feared! Within a couple days nearly all travelers will fully acclimatize. It may be a good idea to talk to a doctor about medication for adjusting to the altitude. In any case, staying hydrated and taking it easy for the first couple days can really pay off in the long run. This is especially true for trekkers and bikers; no one wants to ruin one’s adventure of a lifetime by a splitting headache and extreme fatigue. Tibet Ctrip travel service team wants all travelers to be altitude sickness free!