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Acute mountain sickness
It happens beacuse of lack of oxygen and lower atmospheric pressure the breathing rates increases to balance for the lesser amount of oxygen present in the air. The symptoms of Acute mountain sickness is headache, nausea, loss of appetite and breathlessness. The only therapy is to acclimatise yourself to the area. On reaching Leh, spend your first day sleeping, resting and relaxing before you even think of exploring the place. Drink a lot of water, avoid smoking and please don’t even think of consuming alcohol. If these precautions are not taken AMS can be deadly.
Written Jun 18, 2009
Khardung La is about 2 hour drive from Leh, it;s on the way to Nubra valley. The views on the way are the most scenic I've ever seen: high snow-capped peaks and glaciers can be admired from such a close distance!
Hower, the road is very winding and narrow, from time to time I had the impression that we were going to end up in the abyss below us.
Here are some notices fixed in the rock to warn about the danger:
fast won't last
speed thrills but kills
if you sleep your family will weep
drive with care make accidents rare
all will wait better be late
no race no rally
enjoy the beauty of the valley
Updated Feb 8, 2006
If you travel by local buses, it may happen to you that you'll travel on its roof (as buses are incredibly crowded), it is illegal, but poeople do that.
Beware of ELECTRICAL WIRES hanging very low above the roads!!!
If you travel on a bus roof in montanuous area , beware of FALLING ROCKS NAD STONES!
Written Feb 3, 2006
Accute Mountain Sickness is a real danger in Ladakh, esp. for those who choose a plane to get there.
You land in Leh at 3500m so allow yourself some time for acclimatisation, rest and relax on the first day. Occasional headaches, loss of apetite or sleeplessness may occur- these are mild symptoms of AMS, more serois one is a loss of a sense of direction/orientation.
If you have some of these symptoms, don't do anything strenuous, allow your organism to adapt to rarified air. If symtopms get worse, seek help in a local hospital.
Accute Mountain Sickness can KILL if the symtoms are ignored !!
Written Feb 1, 2006
Watch for the guard dogs in farm yards. They are there to watch teh property and guard the house form intruders. They do the job well. A dog's barking may function as a door bell as well, and people will come out to see what the barking and commotion is for, tie down the dog and let you in.
At night, ferocious dogs with dark minds roam Leh's streets. Keep small stones or a stick handy for keeping them at bay.
Written Jan 12, 2006
Acute Mountain Sickness (or AMS) a very real possibility because of the high altitude in the Ladakhi range. Early signs include listlessness, headaches, nausea - later signs death.
Take this seriously. People die every year because they dont.
Leh itself stands at 3500 metres. Take at least 3 days in the town to acclimatize before venturing out on any trek (most people use this time to tour the monasteries/palaces). Dont be goaded into a rushed itinery.
If you are following the Markha Valley trek you will need to prepare to sleep at 4700 metres plus (Nimaling) and cross a 5100 metre pass. Make sure you plan a rest day/contigency day.
Updated Nov 26, 2005
Manali is at around 2000m and Leh at 3500m, whilst going there you cross the highest road in the world at a height of around 5200m, this high-pass is called Taglang La.
When I took the bus from Manali to Leh, I somehow didn't drink enough water.
As the ride takes two days you stay overnight in a camp at a height of appr. 4200m.
Before getting to the camp I got awful headache, and I started freezing like finns (ok I am only a 50% finn ; ) never do. I had some warming soup, but it didn't help.
I drank as much water as possible, but the night was horrible.
In the morning the headache was still there, but it got better after some hours on the bus.
This really taught me to drink enough whilst being in such heights.
A rule of thumb is, to drink one liter of water a day within every 1000m you elevate. But this is additional to the "normal" 3 liters a day. So if you elevate more than 2000 m a day you should drink appr. 5 l a day!
Updated Jun 27, 2005
> -Is it a safe region (mainly in terms of past war)?
YES, THE KASHMIR UPRISING DOESN'T REACH THIS FAR INTO THE HIMALAYAS. DANGERS ARE OBJECTIVE, THAT IS, THINGS YOU WILL KNOW ABOUT AND THAT YOU CAN TAKE PRECAUTION AGAINST, SUCH AS COLD, SUN BURN, DEHYDRATION, EXCHAUSTION, SNOW BLINDNESS, ALTITUDE TROUBLE, FOOD AND WATER QUALITY, BED BUGS ETC.
> -did you take any vaccinations before going there?
LADHAK'S MAIN HEALTH WORRY WILL BE RELATING TO COLD/INFECTIONS OF NOSE,THROAT, EAR AND CHEST AND FOOD AND WATER/DIAHORREA, VARIOUS PARASITES.
IF I WERE YOU I WOULD TAKE THE ANTI-DIAHORREA VACCINE VALID 2-3 MONTHS, HEPATITIS (HAVRIX VACCINE) AND ENSURE THE POLIO VACCINATION IS VALID. IF STAYING IN LOWLAND INDIA , I WOULD TAKE MALARIA PROPHYLAXIS AND THE OTHER REGULAR VACCINES FOR INDIA .
> -did you have this altitude sickness? What are the ways to deal with it?
I HAVE HAD A MILD VERSION OF ALTITUDE SICKNESS IN LADAKH UPON ARRIVAL. I WAS PUT OUT FOR A FEW DAYS BY HEADACHES, NAUSEA AND SIGNS OF WATER IN MY LUNGS. I WAS ADVICED BY MD TO TAKE IT EASY, TAKE DIAMOX .
THE WAY TO DEAL WITH IT IS TO RETURN TO LOWER ALTITUDE. THE HOSPITAL IN LEH IS QUITE USED TO HANDLE THE AMS. BETTER READ ABOUT IT BEFOREHAND. ON ARRIVAL IN LEH, HAVE VERY LOW AMBITIONS OF WHAT YOU WANT TO DO THE FIRST DAYS.
> Is it possible to predict (before going there) how an organism will react to it? NO, IMPOSSIBLE, UNLESS YOU HAVE SOME PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES AS AN INDICATION. OLD PEOPLE AND NON-SPORTSPEOPLE SEEM LESS LIKELY TO CATCH IT.
Written Apr 30, 2005
Three types of altitude sickness :
AMS: Acute Mountain Sickness; HECE: High Altitude Cerebral Oedema; HAPE: High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema.
Do read about it and do understand it before you leave and while in Ladakh. This handbook is very handy and portable, easy to read and not expensive:
"The High Altuitude medicine Handbook. Micro edition", A:J:Pollard and D.R.Murdoch, Book Faith India, 1997.
Available in Delhi, Kathmandu and elsewhere. Distributed by Pilgrims Book House in Kathmandu.
Written Mar 16, 2005
It may be cold, but the sunshine is still very strong - do as the Ladakhis, wear a cap! The altitude, even at Leh, 3600 m, will ensure that the sunrays will be much stronger than on the Indian plains.
Add sun protection cream to your nose, neck, ears in particular. Your skin will also be dried out, so apply some lotion if you are of the easily dried out kind as I am...
Updated Mar 12, 2005