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Altitude Sickness (Pneaumothorax) - your experience

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Altitude Sickness (Pneaumothorax) - your experience

1. Posted by g_trekkers (Budding Member 27 posts) 10y

Hi everyone,

For those that have travelled in high altitude (i.e. Inca Trail/Cuzco) how did you find it and what did you use to combat the symptoms.

Also, has anyone previously suffered a pneaumothorax and then gone travelling/walking in high altitude. The reason I ask is because my husband has had 2 in the past (doing sport) and consequently can't go scuba diving because of the air-pressure.
I will be asking a doctor before we travel (the travel doctor said it would be fine already), but I'll be getting a second opinion.
I just wanted to know if anyone else has experienced this.


2. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 10y

The Inca trail wasn't that bad actually. I don't remember the exact altitude, but it's not as high up as many other places in that area. As for me, I got really sick when we tried to climb Cotopaxi in Ecuador, but not until we reached 4800 meters. I had no headache, just felt nauseous and did some serious vomiting... My heartbeat was extremely fast, even though I was absolutely still, in bed. Nothing helped except going downhill. In the jeep on the way back to Latacunga I felt better by the meter.
In some places in Bolivia (around Lake Titicaca and in Potosí) I felt dizzy and weak, but nothing as bad as Cotopaxi.

Nobody in our Inca trail group suffered from the altitude while doing the hike, but we were told to chew coca leaves all the time to prevent altitude sickness. It's supposed to help, I don't know. I don't like it very much, the coca tea is better!

If you arrive to Cusco directly from sea level you might just want to relax for a few days and get adjusted. There's not much else you can do really.

Good luck!

3. Posted by g_trekkers (Budding Member 27 posts) 10y

Thanks Susanna,

That was good to read. We are staying 3 nights in Cusco to aclimatise. I'm looking forward to trying that cocoa tea!

Cheers, Loredana

[ Edit: Edited at Jun 14, 2006 6:43 AM by g_trekkers ]

4. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

I have gotten altitude sickness in both Bolivia and on Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. I don't know much about pneaumothorax or diving, though. I have no other respitory ailments.

Obviously getting an opinion of a health care professional is key, as you have stated you plan to.

In addition to Coca leaves, your husband might want to think about getting a prescription for Diamox. You can either take as a preventitive measure starting a couple days before climbing, or with the onset of symptoms.


5. Posted by bryangrey (Budding Member 38 posts) 10y

I was at 14,000 ft above sea level in Peru and didn't get sick. Some people we where with needed oxygen however. It's not really that bad as long as you take it easy for a day or two when you get there. You feel for sure when you step off the plane in Cusco. I live at 524 above sea level now, so I am certainly not used to it. You can get prescriptions from your doctor if need be.

6. Posted by g_trekkers (Budding Member 27 posts) 10y

Thanks BryanGray & Greg.

Yes, have Diomax. But good to hear what your experiences were like.

Cheers, L

7. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

Well, if you're curious as to my perceptions of the getting sick, I wrote up a couple entries on my travel blog...

La Paz, Bolivia and Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania in Africa where I had troubles. I never got a diagnosis in Bolivia, but on Kilimanjaro it seemed that I had developed HAPE. I deteriorated pretty quickly, but also bounced right back after being taken down the mountain.


8. Posted by g_trekkers (Budding Member 27 posts) 10y

Will do. I actually think I may have read your entry on HAPE before.

Thanks :)