Avoid High Altitude Sickness in Tibet

Altitude sickness is a disorder caused by being at high altitude, where oxygen levels are low, without gradually getting used to the increase in altitude. It is also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), altitude illness, hypobaropathy, Acosta disease, puna, and soroche, which occurs at altitudes higher than 2,500 meters. Altitude sickness is considered as the biggest health risk for travelling to Tibet. Most people will experience differing degrees of symptoms upon their arrival in Tibet according to the ascent rate and individual physical condition. In the course of adaptation, symptoms usually decrease gradually. This page will tell you how to avoid high altitude sickness in Tibet.

Make Adequate Preparations

Before visiting Tibet, you need to get healthy. If you ahve heart disease, high blood pressure or other organ problems or anemia should consult a doctor before deciding to travel to Tibet. Be sure not to catch a cold before you go to Tibet, or you will get altitude sickness due to physical weakness. In general, those who choose to travel to Tibet by train are less likely to suffer from altitude sickness than those who travel by plane to Tibet. 

Get Acclimatized

The best way you can lower your chance of getting altitude sickness is through acclimatization, which let your body slowly get used to the changes as you travel to higher elevations. Do not over exert and only partake in light activity immediate after your arrival. Have a good rest during the first one or two days. Don’t use tobacco, alcohol, or other medications, such as sleeping pills. It’s best not to take a shower for the first two days in Lhasa, because you may catch a cold. Drink plenty of water and eat carbohydrate food to stay hydrated. Remenber the importance of gradual ascent. As long as your travel 1,000m higher, spend a night in this place to make better acclimatize to altitude change.

Medical Treatment

Some medicine can be taken before symptoms appear as a preventive measure. In order to be prepared, you can take the pills days before traveling to Tibet. These kind of medicines include Rhodiola rosea L, also called Hong Jing Tian in Chinese.

Oxygen Uptake

When traveling in Tibet, you can buy or rent oxygen tank in many hotels or stores. It can help you feel better.