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Attn Travelers! T''Gal, Surfgirl? Anyone used Diamox?

Discussion in 'Family, Home & Health' started by Independent Gal, Nov 30, 2007.

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  1. Independent Gal
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Independent Gal » Nov 30, 2007
    Have any of you ever taken Diamox for altitude sickness? My travel doc recommended it, but I''m always nervous to take a new drug, and will be traveling alone.

    I''m reading up on the drug info, but wondered if anyone has had personal experience with it. Does it help enough to be worth the risk?
     
  2. TravelingGal
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by TravelingGal » Nov 30, 2007
    No...I have never been up as high as you will be in Peru to worry about it. Have you read some of the info out there with tips on how to adjust? I remember there was a ton out there when I was researching the whole Macchu Picchu thing...

    Sorry I can''t be of more help...
     
  3. Independent Gal
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Independent Gal » Nov 30, 2007
    Yeah, I''ve been doing some reading, and apparently you''re supposed to drink loooots of water, and take it slow, ascend a bit at a time if you can, and take it easy for a couple of days at each level. The folk remedy, or so I read, is coca tea. But let''s just say I''m a little, errr, wary of any member of the coca family! [​IMG]

    I have a friend who climbed Kilimanjaro and he was telling me how you just CAN''T BREATHE, your heart beats wildly, and you think you''re going to die. Gosh. That doesn''t sound like fun. Particularly because, you just might die. Lots of people are killed by altitude sickness. Who knew? But I guess that''s usually if you don''t take it easy and respect the altitude, if you know what I mean.

    Trains can apparently be problematic because they go up up up relatively fast, and you can suddenly find yourself sick, and then you just have to wait for the train to descend to a lower altitude again.

    Another random interesting fact: in Cusco and other popular high altitude tourist destinations, you can pay a premium at some hotels for a super-oxygenated room. How cool is that?

    So I guess I''ll just play it by ear since I have to set agenda for my trip anyway.
     
  4. canuk-gal
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by canuk-gal » Nov 30, 2007
    HI:

    This drug was routinely prescribed when I worked in Ophthalmology--for our glaucoma patients and post op patients who had high intraocular pressure. Most complained of it's diuretic effects, if anything.

    cheers--Sharon
     
  5. surfgirl
    Ideal_Rock

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    by surfgirl » Nov 30, 2007
    I dont have any experience with that drug, IG, nor have I heard of it. During the times I've spent in Nepal and Sikkim, I've trekked a bit but there, if one gets altitude sickness, you are advised to immediately go to lower altitudes until your symptoms subside. I'm not sure what this drug you mention is or what it does, but I'd rather KNOW I'm suffering from altitude sickness, than take a drug to cover the symptoms up. You can die from that stuff. What altitude will you be at anyway? If it was me, and I was traveling alone, I wouldn't go trekking/hiking alone (I doubt you are but I had to say it), and I'd make sure I was with at least a few people so if I needed to go to a lower altitude, someone would be there to go with me. I'm sure you can hook up with a local trek tour so you're not alone on the mountain, yes?

    Oh, and yeah, my mother was there and she did drink the coco tea to acclimate and it did help. From what I understand, drinking coco tea is not like snorting actual cocaine...I believe it was more mellowing in fact, as she described it.
     
  6. Independent Gal
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Independent Gal » Nov 30, 2007
    Thanks Surfgirl and Canuk!

    Surfgirl It's great to know the tea works! I think what the Diamox drug does is to lower your breathing rate by removing some chemical produced by your liver. That's supposed to make the altitude change more comfortable. Something like that. As Canuk says, it's also used for glaucoma patients. I gather you can either take it prophylactically (which I am not keen on) or as an emergency treatment, with the former being more effective, but creepier.

    My inclination is to take it with me, just in case, but not to take it unless I need it.

    I would never trek or hike alone in an unfamiliar place (or most places, for that matter), and if I do go out climbing, it will indeed be by signing on with a group and a guide. But I am planning to spend some time in some towns high up in the Andes where I'll be by myself, unless there are other travelers around. Which there probably will be. But it's a matter of imposing on strangers, if you know what I mean! If I have to go to a lower altitude (which I gather IS supposed to be the first line of defence) I'll probably be going alone.

    So Surf, have you ever had to descend? And were you so sick that that was tricky? I'm sure that local resources are used to helping deal with these things so I should chill out!

    I often get a little nervous before I go somewhere totally new, and then when I get there I relax.
     
  7. portia
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by portia » Dec 2, 2007
    I think that''s what my SIL took when she trekked to Everest base camp at 17,500ft. She said the only side affect she had was that her fingertips felt a bit numb, but other than that she was fine. We (me, SIL and other SIL) were planning a trip to Peru to trek up to Machu Piccu. I too was concerned about altitude sickness since I''ve only hiked up to 13,500. We were planning on taking diamoxx with us. Unfortunately, work got in the way and we had to cancel the trip.

    Yes, first thing to do if you feel you''re getting altitude sickness is to go to a lower altitude. Also, start drinking lots of water a few weeks before you go. Staying hydrated really helps with the altitude.
     
  8. basil
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by basil » Dec 2, 2007
    It can make your fingers numb/tingly and you may get a metallic taste in your mouth. It''s also a diuretic.

    I have no knowledge of it as an altitude sickness med, but what''s the harm in taking it with you?
     
  9. surfgirl
    Ideal_Rock

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    by surfgirl » Dec 2, 2007
    IG, when I''ve been in the Himalaya region I''ve never really been as high as a base camp but I''ve not felt well day trekking and I''ve come down as quickly as I could. It was a long time ago but I think I felt better quickly, IIRC. If I were you I''d drink the tea. Honestly, if my mother could deal with it, I know for sure that you can! I think I''d personally prefer to deal with homeopathic remedies than chemicals if they worked and in this case the tea seems to work (though I''d bring the drugs just in case!). Dont worry, you wont become a coke-head by drinking the kool aid...I mean TEA... [​IMG]

    Glad to hear you''ll be hiking with a tour. Always a good idea out in the wilds...Or you could simply hire a private guide if you wanted to, that way they''d have to take you down if you felt ill...
     
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