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Altitude Sickness/Illness?

Englewood, Ohio
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Altitude Sickness/Illness?

I've read that some people recommend or take Diamox for help against altitude sickness. Is this a safe product? Are there any side effects or cautions against taking this medication?

Is this a recommended product and widley used?

Thanks.

Michigan
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for Peru
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1. Re: Altitude Sickness/Illness?

Check with a travel medicine specialist.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294311-c15318/Peru:A…

Edited: 20 April 2012, 17:14
Dallas, Texas
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2. Re: Altitude Sickness/Illness?

This is in the Lima forum, so I'll just note that I don't think you are going to have much of a problem with altitude sickness in Lima.

I did get hit with it pretty hard in Cusco though. I know nothing about Diamox, but the coca tea handled the problem pretty quickly. I'd just go with that.

WQst

http://youtu.be/ZPlKJyrPbhc

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Lima
Lima
Lima Region, Peru
Cusco
Cusco
Cusco Region, Peru
Yorktown, Virginia
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for Machu Picchu
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3. Re: Altitude Sickness/Illness?

Diamox is a serious medication -- you should be medically cleared by your doctor to take it. For instance, those allergic to sulfonamides should not take it. But, if your doctor OKs it, Diamox is available over the counter in Peru as "acetazolamida". You should start taking it 24-48 hours before going to a high altitude area for best effect. Other side effects might include tingling in fingers & toes (but altitude can also cause this) and temporary changes in your sense of taste.

More info here: http://www.altitude.org/altitude_sickness.php

Edited: 21 April 2012, 03:22
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Peru
Peru
South America
Lima
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4. Re: Altitude Sickness/Illness?

Just like WQst, I prefer natural medication and stick to the coca tea.

Umeå
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for Leh
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5. Re: Altitude Sickness/Illness?

*"Is this a recommended product and widley used?"*

It is the only proven preventive medication , and it´s recommended by the the specialists in the field , and in national health guidelines on rapid ascents to 3000+ meters . It should be started 24 hours before ascents to 3000+ , ended after two nights , or after decent - anything beyond first night in Sacred Valley is also overdosing , unless you have a previous history of AMS.

The best medicine is a basic map : if you can plan your first night(s) around 2000 meters , like Arequipa , you are very , very unlikely to run in to problems or need medication as a non-trekker in Peru. The few unlucky that get hit in a major way in Cusco will get double doses of Diamox in the hospital - and dexamethason , a heavy steroid. Sulfa allergics cant use Diamox , apart from that risks are comparable to antibiotics . ASA/Aspirin should not be used at the same time. Key sources :

International Society for Mountain Medicine ( ismmed.org/index.php/prevention.html… )

CDC : …cdc.gov/travel/…altitude-illness.htm

Edited: 21 April 2012, 13:43
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Sacred Valley
Sacred Valley
Cusco Region, Peru
Arequipa
Arequipa
Arequipa Region, Peru
Peru
Peru
South America
Cusco
Cusco
Cusco Region, Peru
Chesterfield...
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6. Re: Altitude Sickness/Illness?

As has been said before, you should take medical advice so see if Diamox is suitable for you.

Gradual ascent is the key but even then there is no guarantee.

The only effects we got were nagging headaches for a day when we were going to Puno but a combination of paracetamol and plenty of liquids did the trick and we were fine the next day. Recommend drinking Gatorade energy drink as well as the coca tea. You can also get coca chews which apparently help.

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Puno
Puno
Puno Region, Peru
Fort Mill, South...
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7. Re: Altitude Sickness/Illness?

Quick question, we're flying into lima around 8pm and spending the night before flying to Cusco about 12 hours later. Is that enough time that we shouldn't have a big problem with altitude or is it more likely that we still will?

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Cusco
Cusco
Cusco Region, Peru
Philadelphia...
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8. Re: Altitude Sickness/Illness?

lima is at sea level. no amount of time spent there will help acclimatize you.

Umeå
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9. Re: Altitude Sickness/Illness?

Diamox as a preventive measure is by prescription , coming from the US or Europe : obviously this means seeing a doc to make sure of interaction issues and already mentioned sulfa allergy .

Meanwhile it´s clear that the medical consensus is more concerned with underuse of medication , once the guidelines for ascent has been abandoned : see the CDC comments for same day ascents to Ollantaytambo at 2800 meters : " benificial and should be considered" and for "strongly recommended" for the 3500+ers like Lhasa , Leh etc. Hairsplitting exercise : Cusco @ 3400 meters would be at at the top end of only recommended.

Same advice is found on the evidence based guidelines from WMS , Wildernes s Medical Society ( http://korta.nu/wem ) : "Prophylactic medications should be considered in addition to gradual ascent for use in moderate-to high-risk situations. Acetazolamide is the preferred agent.." Moderate risk for AMS is defined as everyone without a history of AMS and ascending to more than 2800 meters in a single day , high risk everyone ascending to over 3500 meters in a single day.

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Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo
Sacred Valley, Peru
Cusco
Cusco
Cusco Region, Peru
Michigan
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for Peru
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10. Re: Altitude Sickness/Illness?

Diamox (acetazolamide/"acetazolamida") is not an OTC drug in Peru. Perhaps a few years ago it was possible to get it without a prescription, but nowadays the law is being enforced (which is good, IMO) and pharmacies are asking for prescriptions. Just saying.

Edited: 21 April 2012, 20:32
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Peru
Peru
South America