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Altitude sickness

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Altitude sickness

Last Post This thread is marked as being about Peru
1. Posted by Bernelle (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

We are 3 friends with 3 weeks to travel from Lima to Beunos Aires. 2 of them are flying in from New York and I'm arriving from Cape Town, South Africa. I am aware of t altitude sickness but would like some more info as i just read about acclimitizing on another thread. Should we be concerned at all. I'll be flying from via Beunos Aires and then connecting to Lima. As we have so little time we were just going to overnight in Lima as we arrive rather late, spend the next day there and then head out to Cusco the following day.

2. Posted by s.bee (Budding Member 17 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

yes you'll feel a bit off when you get into cusco, i dont remember lima really being at any severe altitude at all. but in cusco you will definitely notice that you feel out of breath really easily and your stomach might be upset, you'll feel extra tired and sometimes lethargic...BUT you can walk into any pharmacy and get medicine to combat these symptoms, i cant remember what the stuff is called but they will know what you're talking about. DONT buy it at the airport, its twice as much as it is in any pharmacy. get it right away and start taking it. i didnt take anything but by the time i was in cusco i had been in altitude from bolivia for weeks, but my boyfriend flew into cusco from new york as well and he wasnt feeling well at first, but he picked up some pills and they really helped. but no matter what you take you'll be out of breath easily and have worse hangovers than usual if you drink way too much, that just comes with the territory. or you could chew coca leaves, apparently they are good for altitude but i thought they were totally disgusting.. try them though and see what you think. good luck...

3. Posted by Bernelle (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

many thanks for your very quick response. Much appreciated :)

4. Posted by Isabelbio (Budding Member 21 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi Bernelle!
I make mine S.bee's words!
In Lima you'll have no problems at all! But once in Cusco altitude sickness may show up lol Buy the medicine in a pharmacy or chew coca leaves. Also, drink a lot of water and try to avoid alcohol. The Spanish name for altitude sickness is SOROCHE.
Best of luck!

5. Posted by Tena (Budding Member 22 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Lima is on the coast, so no you wont suffer from altitude sickness there!

6. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Diamox is probably the medicine that was mentioned above. It is often used both as a preventative measure and a treatment for altitude sickness.

Altitude sickness impacts everyone in some way, though severity varies alot.

I've gotten altitude sickness REALLY BADLY twice - and written most of what I know about in the article in the travel guide article here on Travellerspoint.

As for if you should worry about, I wouldn't bother. You have no idea if you'll get it or not. Even if you've travelled to altitude before, it doesn't mean that it won't effect you. So, be prepared for some imapcts, keep an eye out for severe symptoms, or symptoms getting worse over time, and be prepared to do the only sensible thing if it starts to get bad - head down to lower ground.

Best of luck. Hopefully you get to see Machu Pichu!


7. Posted by annamc2 (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

hey bernelle

As said below I wouldnt worry you can get it at anytime even if not had it before, as long as you have time in Cusco before you go off trekking to other heights you should be fine. 90% people get altitude sickness but for most it clears overnight when you stay at that height and you will feel better in the morning. I have done Kili and threw up all the way on summit night but i got there and still alive!

Just listen to your body and if not getting better or you have a headache that is not going with water or you are dizzy/cant walk straight and just want to fall asleep then you need to get down to a lower height as your brain is starved of oxygen. But 1000s of people go to Cusco every year so dont panic!

I would personally not recommend diamox as it can just hide symptoms. Your body is showing symptoms as a reaction and a reason to something bothering it (i.e. toxins) to hide these symptoms could lead to serious problems. However for some people its fine, but then they may not have got altitude sickness anyway so you just dont know!

Enjoy your trip!

8. Posted by 7055 (Budding Member 28 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Avoid excessive smoking and any alcoholic drinks for the first few days. Avoid mediation because they don't work. Don't risk it if you have breathing problems or are excessively unhealthy. Altitude sickness is not fun but can easily be avoided if you take the right precautions.

9. Posted by haku espi (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi Bernelle.

Like everybody told you before, you don't have to worry about Lima, it's at sea level...

By the moment you arrive to Cusco it would be much better you rest the first day, try to sleep the most you can that day and drink some coca tea. About the Diamox is selled in Peru and Bolivia with the name of "Soroche Pills", but like i read before it doesn't really help, it just make you don't feel the symptons... what else... in case you or somebody of your group feel very ill, you could ask where you are host for a O2 ballon (most of hotels and hostals have one there)... or get in contact with these doctors is the only hiperbaric chamber in Cusco and defenitly is the fastest way to go out of this problem.

But the main advise it's that you relax and don't worry about the altitude, while most you be thinking in that, the most chances you have to get sick... it's pshycological.

Enjoy your trip!!!